|I'm writing today from my "office" in a Budapest McDonalds|
The Berean's are great examples for us. If we also want to have "noble character" we will examine every message, all advice, and all philosophies against Scripture.
Two basic flaws I've noticed with false teaching:
1. They don't take Scripture at face value.
They think that most Christians throughout history have misunderstood basic principles of faith. So they explain away the straightforward message of certain passages with technical, elaborate arguments.
It's true that some things in Scripture are hard to understand, but the basic principles of our faith are clear and understandable to all who can read.
I have a Masters degree from seminary, and it has helped me better understand aspects of Scripture, but before I had my Masters, I was perfectly able to know all of the important truths in Scripture as they are clearly set forth.
2. They build their teaching around one or two verses and exclude verses that contradict their teachings.
They may explain these excluded verses away using elaborate arguments or they may simply not mention them in hopes that their followers will not be "Berean Christians."
1 Corinthians 1:20:
The philosophies that are popular in the world will rarely be based on Biblical truth. But they may infiltrate the Church, just-the-same. Again, we need to be Berean Christians, even checking things said from teachers we respect. I've done a whole series on the way self-esteem philosophy has infiltrated the church (HERE).
There are aspects of our faith that will remain mysteries until we see God face to face. The mystery of this verse is how so wonderful a God would stoop down to save us. Verse 4 is especially pertinent considering the elaborate arguments I mention above. Many times these arguments are "fine-sounding," and they will fool us if we aren't Bereans.
In regard to counseling and advice, I can't give any better insights than those given by Elisabeth Elliot in the study. There is no shortage of counselors who will tell us to ignore the principles of God, put ourselves first, disrespect authority, or take the easy way out. These are all popular worldly values. But we need to seek those who are willing to tell us the hard truths.
Anything you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted