She told me she belonged to a church in town that didn't stress Bible teaching and explained: "My doctor recently detected a melanoma on my back. I promised God I’d go to a Bible study if He’d let me live, and He answered my prayer. So here I am.”
Over the next few months, I had the pleasure of praying with Karen to receive Christ and introducing her to the basics of Christianity. She continued to be devoted to her church, but faithfully came to Bible study at my church.
I didn't address this. Instead, I concentrated on the Bible. I wanted her to know and rely on God’s Word so she could evaluate her church doctrines and traditions herself.
Sometimes I’ve tried to micromanage people’s spiritual views, but each Christian must learn to "examine everything carefully" for themselves and "hold fast to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
*Karen is not her real name. I wish I could do a follow up on her, but we lost touch after I moved, so I didn't feel comfortable using her real name.
Please don't misunderstand my point: We need sound teaching in order to grow, and there are times we should address specific beliefs, but the most important thing we can teach a new Christian is to compare every teaching to the Word of God. And to do that, they must know God's Word for themselves.
We should also be reading books written by Christians and learning from their lives (see 1-Minute Bible Love Notes Our Cheerleaders and A Great Cloud).
But being dependent on teachers alone puts us in a dangerous place if we don't know God's Word for ourselves. We can easily be mislead. Instead, we need to be Politely Skeptical and make sure we aren't learning Pieces Parts of Scripture. And we can't do that if we don't know God's Word for ourselves.
1 Corinthians 3:1-15: 1And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.2I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,3for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
4For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.6I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.7So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
8Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 John 2:27: As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
3. What makes us too dependent on teachers?
Hebrews 5:11-14: 11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
After you've worked through this study, please check out my insights HERE.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted