A fun family memory is taking road trips. On a particular trip one of my daughters looked up at the night sky and said “look at the moon, something is wrong with it.” My daughter, in a sleepy condition, saw a yellow, roundish shape in the dark sky and decided it must be the moon. She knew something was different this time but had not figured out what before speaking. I scanned the sky through the windshield but could not see the moon. It occurred to me she was seeing a Shell gas station sign. We still laugh about that incident. In the moment I pointed out that she was looking at a sign my daughter had a decision to make. She could accept the fact that her perspective was amiss or be obstinate. She humbly accepted the fact that it was not the moon.
Most people carry a distorted view about something or other. That’s because it’s impossible to truly know everything about everything. Our minds automatically associate what we observe with what we know. Sometimes a momentarily distorted view can become an embarrassing but funny memory. Other times a perception can be a life altering, dangerous belief. It is important to start with basis of fact before forming an opinion on a subject. It’s wise to test that opinion to see if it is true. That’s true of scientific, relational, and theological observations.
Sometimes even having the facts is not enough if we do not apply them correctly. For instance, I hold the belief that all scripture is given by God to man. 2 Timothy 3:16 Tells us All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. Scripture is infallible, however, an interpretation of it may be distorted. That is the reason a wise person would take the time to test what is taught about the Bible against what the Bible says.
By taking the approach of testing what is taught by what Scripture says many have come to a saving belief in Christ. An example is found in Acts 17:11-12 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men. The people of Berea took the time and effort needed to check the facts of what was being taught by using scripture to prove scripture.
The Bible warns us of false teachers. Such people will use Scripture to push a distorted view for personal gain. An indication of false teaching is dismissing scripture that does not support a desired view. Most cults that claim to be Christian teach that the average person cannot properly understand God’s word and must be taught by their group. Others claim to have “new revelations” from God that contradict the Bible.
To be sure, only God knows everything, we are only guessing. Like you, my interpretation of how scripture is to be applied is influenced by personal history, education, culture, and personal bias. None of us can escape the reality that what we believe is highly predicated on what we want to believe. I will continue to ponder the Bible and my perspective on any given topic will continue to form as time goes on. For all of us, it is probable that there will be a few more “strange looking moons” before we stop learning. The challenge is what to do when faced with the truth of our beliefs. Will pride and selfish thinking be more important than accepting the true will of God? This is a question for every person to ponder.
As one theologian put it- “someday I will wake up in Glory, see the whole truth, and say, of course.”
Rev. Burt Schwab