A few days ago I started reading Hugh Ross’ book A Matter of Days which takes a look at the Young Earth/ Old Earth views of creation. I will review this book once I have finished. In reading I cam across something he wrote that caused me to pause and give what was written a lot of thought. Ross stated that part of the problem with discussing these different views of creation was that some feel that have a complete understanding of the Bible and what God is saying and there is no further need of any discussion. That strikes me as the height of hubris.
I have fallen from that height myself so I know of what I speak. I grew up in the Lutheran church and though we were not there every time the doors opened I felt I had a great religions background. I knew what I believed and why and I felt I had a complete understanding of the Bible. I knew what was and was not in there. Or so I thought. Now I had not read the entire Bible but I was sure that our pastors had covered everything. I was not opposed to making fun of those who believed thing I just knew were not in the Bible.
Then on a challenge from one of the adult Sunday school teachers in the church we were attending I sat down to read the Bible from cover to cover. Guess what? I was wrong about many things. Things that I was sure were in the Bible were not, the rapture for one example, and things I was sure were in there were not, God helps those who help themselves as another example. Since that time I have read the Bible multiple times and listened to the Bible even more times.
What I have found is that my ignorance knows no bounds. Every time I read God’s Word I learn something new. Every time I gain new insights and knowledge. Now I truly believe I will continue to learn more and more as long as I live. I have also gained a new respect of how others interpret God’s Word. No longer am I quick to dismiss their ideas. God may have shown them something I have yet to discover. And even when I find they are mistaken just the process to see if they are correct helps me understand the Bible better.
We all need to take what others tell us about God and His Word and test what they say against what God says. When someone disagrees with the Word we need to go to them in humbleness and love and gently correct them showing them what God says. We also need to avail ourselves of the resources available to us always of course taking these resources and testing them against God’s Word. Also we need to be aware of the biases of the writers we read.
Paul tells us “but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV) and Jon tells us “Test the Spirits Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 ESV)
If you feel you are correct and everyone else is wrong I would ask you to go back to the Word and interpret what you believe against the entirety of God’s Word. Also, when someone disagrees with you acknowledge that good people can disagree on certain points of biblical interpretation but that does not mean we need break fellowship with them. For example, predestination verses free will, end times prophesy or young verses old earth creation. These things have nothing to do with salvation. If I believe in a young earth and you believe in an old earth neither of us are more saved than the other. As long as we both believe in God, Jesus and His atoning death and resurrection we can break bread and fellowship and maybe have some lively debates but still recognize that we are one in Christ.
For those who still think they have the inside track on knowing God’s word I close with this from Paul, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:12-13 ESV)
Have a blessed day,