We tell people in denominations to follow the Word of God, not human thinking, either their own or someone else’s. We tell them to say “the Bible says,” not “I feel” or “I think.” Do we practice what we preach in this regard?
Bible class teachers and preachers sometimes begin a lesson on a Bible subject by asking, “What is your view?” For instance, he might ask, “What is your definition of love?” or “What is your definition of faith?” If the situation is a class, different persons will say, “My definition of faith is …” Then the teacher will say, “Now let me give you my definition.”
Why do teachers do this? Is it to get the class to participate? If this is the reason, then why not ask them how the Bible defines these words? If “your” definition or “my” definition is from the Bible, then it is not your definition or my definition. It is the Word of God! If that definition is not in accord with Scripture, then it should not be said.
This practice is not good. What is one of the biggest problems we face? Is it not that people in and out of the church come up with their own definition of things and hold on to them like they were Scripture? Do they not say, “My definition of modesty is…” or “My definition of worship is…” or “My definition of God is…?” Who cares? Give what the Bible says and you have a right to expect people to listen.
Would you start a class on baptism by saying, “What is your definition of baptism?” Would you ask, “What is your definition of the Lord’s Supper?” and then say “Well, my definition of the Lord’s Supper is…”?
People study the Bible very little. They have enough trouble focusing on the Word of God. They take tidbits of Scripture out of their relation to the whole of Scripture and go in all directions in their thinking.
A teacher of the Word of God has an awesome responsibility (James 3:1). His responsibility is to keep the focus on Scripture, not on his opinions or on the opinions of those in the class. Opinions inevitably arise, and sometimes the best he can do is give his opinion. But a Bible class is not a time to focus on opinions. It is not a time to compare opinions like television talk shows do. It is a time to give a “thus saith the Lord.”
A Bible teacher should open the Bible and keep it open, reading and expounding the Word of God. When the class discussion drifts away from the Bible and into opinion, he needs to pull it back and put the emphasis on the sure anchor of the Word of God.
Give the Word of God the credit and praise it is due. You will not be guilty of exalting the Word of God too highly or of extolling it too often. Draw people to the Bible. Whatever you say in a sermon or in a class that is of any real value is from the Bible anyway.
“For this cause thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13).
– Kerry Duke