…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Dear bro Bao 寶弟兄,
It was good to see you last Sunday at church, and you are attending a believer’s class. As you eagerly join various christian meetings/seminars, read or view christian media on the Internet and social media, you will learn and hear a lot of new things along the way.
Some good … some ok … some not so good
I once heard a pastor share that when we listen to his messages, our attitude should be ‘like eating fish, eat the flesh and throw away the bones’.
There’s certainly a lot of good things written and shared by various Christians, … and we can certainly learn from their understanding and experience, … sometimes even from others who do not agree with our points of view … our attitude is to be humble, open and to listen … ‘eat the flesh and throw away the bones’.
Its perhaps helpful to keep the following thoughts in mind when reading or hearing someone share :
Always check with the Bible to see if what people say is true. Check the Bible verses they are using.
Read the paragraph or passage from which the verse is taken from. Try to understand the background from which the verse is written
What is this paragraph or passage talking about ?
Who were the original hearers, how would the original hearers of this passage understand the passage ?
Can the verse be applied in the manner the person is saying ?
From your understanding of God and the Bible, is it consistent with the rest of the Bible and God’s character ?
Keep in mind, the Bible is complete, and should be sufficient to explain itself, i.e. use Bible to explain Bible. Are there other passages that confirm this thought ?
Quite a mouthful 😦
Don’t worry, over time as you read more of the Bible, you will be able to discern better. God by His Spirit will certainly help you and teach you. 🙂 Ask the Holy Spirit to teach and lead you to His Truth.
John 14:26 (NIV)
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Our faith should be built on God’s words not man’s words.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Only God’s word is truth.
Our faith rests on God’s truth, i.e. “What does God’s Word say?”
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Our attitude towards man’s words should be like the Bereans. We should confirm with the Word of God, no matter how well-known the speaker is … even the apostle Paul 🙂
When someone shares with you they heard some well-known leader share something interesting,
always in the back of your mind – ‘what does God’s word say ?’
In the same way, don’t just take in everything I’m sharing with you …. check it out in the Bible. I’m still learning, so please feel free to question or disagree with my sharing. We learn from each other. Thank you 🙂
In areas or topics where we are not sure, and certainly we cannot possibly know everything, our attitude should be like Luke.
Luke 1:3,4 (NIV)
3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Ask God to teach us, and give us revelation to understand. God by His Spirit will certainly help us, and teach us. 🙂
Over time, the goal is not to become a scholar, or theologian, or pastor.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
but someone who can correctly handle the word of truth (NIV), accurately handling the word of truth (NASB), teach the words of truth in the right way (NLT), rightly dividing the word of truth (NKJV)
Like any skill, the only way is to work at it like a workman.
Hence, read or listen the Bible daily, just like what we tell our kids to eat the right things so that they will grow up tall and strong 🙂
John 8:31, 32 (NASB)
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Only God’s words produce faith.
Only God’s words is truth.
God’s truth sets us free to follow Him.
Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Have a blessed week ! God bless you !
bro Lim 林弟兄