Have you ever heard the expression “Just take my word for it?” I am sure you have or, at least, one of its forms. It comes from this idea that I know because of such and such an experience or knowledge so I am enough of an expert to give advice. Sometimes the advice is good and sometimes it is bad. Whenever anyone says that you should ask yourself one simple question “is their word on this topic worth taking?” Another way to think about it this “are they a reliable source in this instance?” This topic or this instance are the keys here.
I am pretty good at cooking a steak but a horrible baker. If I gave you baking instructions based on my skill in grilling a steak it would not be worth taking. My skill or knowledge in one area does not automatically translate to another just because they are both in the same category of things. In the same way, you should not take my word when it comes to physics just because I have watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory or Googled a view physics for dummies videos. I might be able to express a few rudimentary thoughts but you should not base your understanding of on my lack of information. I think that all makes sense?
So my question is why do we do that with the Bible? We take someone’s word on the internet, on TV, or even a friend but never stop to ask “are they a reliable source in this instance?” People say all sorts of things about the Bible and a lot of it is wrong, half true, and sometimes just foolish. But they said it so we roll with it. Why is that when we have the book right here? If you don’t own a copy you can read it online. But we just roll with it like it’s no big deal. Worst than that we repeat what we have heard as if we actually knew this and perpetuate the cycle of madness. Crazy!
To be clear, I am calling out both sides on this too. Christians and non-Christians do it all the time. I see Christians post things like “the Bible says the Lord helps those who help themselves.” NO NO it does not say that. In fact, it says the opposite. It says you are helpless. Non-Christians say things Jesus never claimed to be God. YES YES, he did. In fact, when asked He said Yes I am (I am writing a paper on this now should be ready in a few months. See Luke 22:70). It is not one group that does it and another group that doesn’t but we all do it at different times. Stop it. We don’t have to guess what the Bible says or what it means. We have the book and it happens to have been studied so much there are volumes of things written about it, how it came to be, what the original text says, and so on.
We should always ask when someone starts telling us what the Bible says “are they a reliable source in this instance?” If not then let it go in one ear and out the other. Just because someone has an opinion or thought on the Bible does not mean they are an expert on the subject. I am not saying that everyone who gives bad advice on the Bible is being malicious. Some, of course, are but largely they are just missing the whole picture of Scripture. So do yourself a favor and pick it up for yourself and see if it really says what you think. Take my word for it, you’ll be glad you did.
Just a thought,