This is a post, about a post that was meant to be a supplement for a post.
Trevin Wax posted a great piece about common, yet untrue, stories or insights that preachers speak of from time to time. Some examples are the eye of the needle was a small gate in Jerusalem’s wall (false), Gehenna (a place Jesus used for teaching on hell) was a trash dump (false), or how the high priest would were a rope around his waist just in case he dropped dead in God’s presence on the day of atonement (I’ve used this one; also false). In short, it was a great piece that I encourage you to take a look at.
But, as generally happens, another blogger, Kevin DeYoung, posted a supplement piece for Trevin’s post. Kevin DeYoung asked the question, since there are a lot of things we hear that aren’t exactly true then, “how can we be better Bereans?” Bereans were the folk who heard the apostle Paul preach about Jesus and then went home to check their Bibles to make sure what he was saying was legit (Acts 17:11). Therefore, the title of Berean is used for Christians who check all incoming information with God’s Word to see if it matches up. So what are ways that we can make sure not to become bamfoozled by the untrue?
Here are three of Kevin’s seven points:
Ask yourself, “how do I know this is so?” True, we all take a lot on faith, trusting the books we read and the people we listen to. But if you come across a new insight you’ve never heard, examine what primary source evidence there is for this new claim.
Be concerned when you start to feel like you can’t possibly understand the Bible without multiple degrees. It does take skill to interpret many parts of the Bible, and background information can help. But if all the exciting things you’re learning fall in the category of “insights from ancient languages” or “insights from ancient culture” you could be heading down the wrong path.
Realize that we all make mistakes. We hear things and read things that we later find out aren’t true. Be open to correction and ready to admit when you make a mistake. The goal is simply to know the Bible better. What have Bereans got to lose?
I encourage you to check out the full post. It is short and well worth your time. May we all strive to be better Bereans.