23 Dec
Looking under a microscope at Doctrine

Have you ever looked at something under a microscope? Maybe you didn’t have the opportunity - how about just a magnifying glass? I’m sure you were able to see things that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed with the naked eye. A blemish here, a tiny bug there, and the tiniest little hole over there. It’s simply amazing what one can see when we look closer.

Nowadays, with the rampant assault of scammers and hackers worldwide, we have to look closer at the text messages and emails we receive; we have to pay closer attention to the phone calls from strangers claiming to be the bank or our utilities company, saying that our bill is past due and we need to make an urgent payment. 

While all those things are very true and important to be careful of, shouldn’t we as Christians be even more careful about our spiritual affairs and the knowledge or wisdom we are taking in? Doctrine, or in a layperson’s term simply “teachings”, is vital to our growth spiritually. However, we are so quick to accept anything that is labeled “Christian” or that we find in a well-meaning bookstore for Christians. In a way, we ought to be looking a lot closer at God’s Word to know what the genuine Word looks like and what it says. Just as one inspecting whether laundered money is genuine or fake, we must inspect whether the teachings in the literature or entertainment we subscribe to is genuine Biblical teaching or a fraudulent rip-off of some man’s ideas rather than the true teachings of the Bible. We can only do so, however, if we actually studied the Word of God and know what it actually says.

 Perhaps the things we find having false doctrine were not intentional. Many of us forget what the Scriptures actually say, and we remember some version of it - much like we misremember past experiences, only recalling the way we felt or our half of the story rather than the full scope of it - and so a variation of the truth goes out and many think it is the real thing. Even though the spread of false teachings may not have been intentional, it is just as destructive as those that are intentional. Those who are like babies in the faith, new converts or even those who have long been in the faith and have grown accustomed to just believing what they always believed, are easily swayed when they hear a message that is tickling their ears; they are living with their guard down, ready to receive whatever message leaves them feeling better about themselves. But is that message grounded in the truth? Is it not better to leave feeling convicted over our sin and with a repentant heart than to leave under the delusion that it’s not our fault, that we are “basically good” and just need to “name it and claim it”? The acceptance of any doctrine, or teaching, that is not Biblical is essentially damning; while the smallest deception could seem innocent, the fact is it will lead us into further misconceptions of who God is and what He says about us and everything else - which is ultimately what matters most.

So, how can you look closer at the Bible next time you read it? What are you doing to currently implant the pure Word in your soul? If you haven’t been, you should always start by reading everything in context. We are so lazy that we often are satisfied with a quote here and there in a meme, but rarely do we understand where the writer of that quote came from; we think the quote can be applied in every situation, while the writer himself was sitting in a prison cell when he wrote it, and was speaking to a persecuted church. 

I would like to challenge you in the coming year to take note of passages of Scripture that you may read and not fully understand, and take the time to study it more; find out everything you can about the book in which that passage came, the writer, the audience it was written to, and the historical context of the time. I would urge you to pray before and after readings in the Word to ask God to help   you understand what you read, and to not just “find how it speaks to you” but what it actually means. Talk to your friends in the faith who may be further along in their walk with Jesus, and ask them about the passages in question, but always look to the Word first. As one man, Wayne Grudem, once said of the power of Scripture - “Scripture interprets Scripture” - you will never find God contradicting Himself in the Word; where you find one theme, look for it elsewhere in the Bible and see what it says about it there.

* The email will not be published on the website.