Proverbs Ch3 v5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
In today’s society it’s hard to know who we can trust for reliable information, news as the spread of ‘misinformation’ has become endemic. The Church is not immune as different segments of the Church start to split into different camps using specific Bible verses to back up their ‘views / beliefs’ which strengthens sceptics arguments.
So how can we trust what is being preached, said online in the forums, on high-profile ‘Christian’ social media accounts?
1 Thessalonians Ch5 v20-22: Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
I’m not going to try to provide my thoughts and ideas in how one should discern what is fact or fiction (aka fake news) in the press, online etc but how I as Christian try and discern what I read and listen to in Christian blogs, forums, podcast, Church services to be true to the Gospel and therefore a trustworthy outlet.
Usually if I read or hear something that makes me listen to it again, I know it’s the Holy Spirit within me prompting me to take note and do my own research on that particular topic and accompanying Bible verse.
If it’s someone ‘quoting’ a Bible verse during their talk I will look the Bible verse up in at least two Bible translations (usually NRSV, ESV Study Bible and New Kings James). When studying particular Bible verses it’s good practice to try to read the verses before and after the said verse as this will help you understand the context, and situation of the text. I’m slowly building up a library of study books by biblical scholars which I will refer to.
Now some sceptics will argue how can we trust the Bible as it has been produced by man, I would like to make these points: –
- The books of the Old Testament pre-date Jesus with a number of them prophesying of his coming, birth, death and resurrection.
- There is historical evidence of Jesus’ death and resurrection which strengthens the contents of the Bible, and if the life of Jesus didn’t happen how and why did the early Church start and survive? Christians were persecuted until around 300 AD when Roman Emperor Constantine in today’s language legalised Christianity as a religion. Before the legalisation of Christianity Christians were routinely rounded up, tortured, put to death. Not many people would be willing to suffer and die for a cause / religion that they did not truly believe in.
- There are numerous texts, manuscripts which are dated as far back as 120AD if not earlier which have been crossed checked, peer-reviewed etc. The Gospels were written 60-80 AD with Mark’s Gospel appearing to have been written earlier, this is important to note as people who will have witnessed the events of Jesus’ life will have still been alive and will have confirmed the accuracy of the texts.
- Despite all the allegations, claims, counter claims, investigations all of which have been proven to unfounded the authenticity of the Bible has stood the test of time and will do for eternity.
- Can any other world religion stand up to the same scrutiny, in-depth research that goes down to the very foundations as the Christian faith has?
Depending on the topic, person who has spoken the message I will talk to some of my closest Christian friends who I know are grounded in their faith, are well read and who I can trust not to agree with me if I’m not Biblically correct in my understanding of the passage / message.
And of course if the Holy Spirit is causing you to question something which you’ve read or heard; pray and ask him for his guidance while you’re conducting your studies.
It maybe that you may come to the same conclusion as the writer or speaker and that God just wanted you to study that particular text in further detail.
Thoughts for the week
Where are you spiritually, out of 10 what would you honestly give yourself?
When was the last time you ‘tested’ what was being preached or posted on Facebook, Twitter etc?