We’re living in a world of complex topics where Christians stand on both sides of the fence proclaiming truth. So who’s right? Ultimately, that’s for you to decide. The Bible will never stop being a foundation for obtaining truth for the Christian, but if you’re looking to the Bible you have to understand exactly what you’re looking for and how to find it. If you’ve missed the last few blogs posts in this series, go back and check them out! We’ve looked at the idea of how much truth the Bible contains, the importance of understanding original language, and now I want to explore this idea of whether or not we can trust God as we research and study His word.
I know, that question sounds ridiculous. Of course we can trust God and for a blanket generalization: Yes. You can trust God. I think the issue comes down to not whether or not God CAN be trusted, the issue is whether or not we WILL trust Him. I know, again, it seems like “yes of course I will trust God!” but there are deeper issues that exposes our lack of trust so stay with me for a second…
The church is constantly being pushed to take a stance on highly emotionally charged topics. Issues of race, feminism, homosexuality, politics, these are all a constant in our news feeds. If you’re not personally affected by any of those issues it can be easy to turn your head and ignore it. We defer to our church’s stance on certain topics and put it to bed in our minds. I can certainly understand the allure of taking that viewpoint. However, we have to remember that injustice is built on the backs of those unwilling to recognize a problem. This is even more true for the Christian who is constantly mandated to love and look after their neighbor.
Here’s a dose of truth for all of us touting WWJD… if your neighbor is crying out, “I’m being treated unfairly,” you have a responsibility to at least listen to them. This applies to the Christian being treated unfairly and the non-Christian. The idea of loving our neighbor does not have a religious mandate attached to it. And even if it did, Jesus still very specifically calls us to “love our enemy, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us.” (Luke 6:26-37). So again, if someone is crying “I’m being treated unfairly” we have a responsibility to AT LEAST listen.
Part two of listening is deciding how you want to act once you know how they’re feeling. We listen to the gay man talk about his struggle but before we can decide how to respond we need to know what we believe about homosexuality. And a huge part of understanding what you believe is evaluating why you hold that belief to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, I love pastors and teachers but our pastor teaching us truth does not remove our own personal responsibility to research and read on our own.
Which brings me back to trust. I know far too many people who won’t approach controversial topics because they’re afraid of being led astray. I certainly understand that and I am definitely not encouraging anyone to throw all of their beliefs aside and dive in to a book on atheism and swim in its teaching. But we do have a responsibility to understand what we believe and why and part of that understanding comes from studying the word for ourselves. That said, whatever you go in to the Bible looking for, you will probably find. This isn’t specific to Christianity, this is true of life. If you’re shopping for a blue Honda you’ll probably see blue Hondas everywhere. If you apply that same idea to studying God’s Word then you really shouldn’t have anything to fear at all. If we believe that God desires to reveal himself to us, and we go in to our Bible study time with the goal of discovering what HIS truth is, we should come out with just that.
What we’re really saying when we throw out concerns of “digging too deep” is that we believe the enemy’s ability to deceive is stronger than God’s ability to reveal truth. Yes, there are certainly plenty of people who have asked questions of the Bible and then all of a sudden turned in to an atheist. I get it. But that’s them… not you. If your faith is so shaky that you’re too afraid to even ask God questions, I think we have a bigger problem. Maybe we revisit that salvation testimony for a second.
I’m not really sure where the idea came from that if we ask questions of the Bible somehow we’re a faithless and unbelieving person. The Bible is rampant with examples of faithful people questioning God himself on what he has spoken. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and even Jesus at one point or another said, “Yea God that sounds great. I hear ya. But… are you sure you want to do that? Are you sure that’s the right way to go?” The better part of those examples is God’s response. He never meets a faithful, questioning person with rebuke and disdain. He is gracious, He answers, and He explains on levels that they can understand. If we have that freedom with God, should it not also stand to reason that we would have the same freedom with the word he created?
I think God’s okay with our questions. I think He’s okay with our research. I even thinks He enjoys it! I think He loves when we want to get so close to Him and His word that we have some questions. I think He’s okay with that. And I fully believe He will protect us as we dive in to that research looking for new glimpses of Him. If you’ve held back from going just a little further because of fear… don’t. Put that fear right where it belongs and start digging in to the Word. Every time I ask another question of God is another day I get closer to Him. I think I’m okay with that. And I think I want to ask more questions.