About Jesus - Steve Sweetman

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I Don't Want Your Opinion
 - I Want The Bible

 The following statement has been made.  "I don't want to hear your opinion.  I only want to hear what the Bible says".  The question has been asked, "is this an acceptable statement to make"?  There can be two attitudes behind these words. One is a genuine desire to understand the Bible.  The other, more often than not,  is a self promoting and dogmatic attitude.  Many in the second group are those who say such things as, "MY Bible says...", as if their Bible is different than yours, and is the only authorized version of the Word of God.  

Of course we all want to hear and believe what the Bible says, that is assuming we are Christians.  Yet on the other hand, much of what people say concerning the Bible, is their interpretation, or "their opinion".  With this in mind, there's nothing wrong with hearing each other's opinion, yet in the long run, we need to ask "what does the Bible say about this subject"?  Is my opinion in line with what the Bible says?   

I have led many small group meetings over the past 30 years and have noted that  people tend to "share their opinions", and they are not necessarily Biblically based. . I have also noted that when I ask a specific question, more often than not the answer I get in return has nothing to do with the question I asked.  This tells me that many of us don't really think things through properly.  We tend to share whatever comes to mind, as if it were truth.   I sometimes call this tendency  "sharing of ignorance". Thus we leave the gathering learning nothing of what the Bible really says.  These opinions get shared around from home to home, from person to person, and soon you have great numbers of people believing in someone's opinion as if it were Biblical correct. 

This was pointed out to me in the last couple of weeks by a friend who found himself in one of these small groups.  I am not knocking small groups.  They are fundamental to church structure.  Yet in this small group setting a person said that she did not totally oppose the gifts of the Spirit, (she probably really did) but she said that they must only be used after "years" of Christian growth.  Well, everyone in the group thought what this lady said sounded good and therefore agreed with her opinion, until my friend pointed out certain Scriptures suggesting just the opposite.  He spoke from Scripture. She spoke from her bias.  The group then had two choices to think about, one based on opinion, and one based on Scripture.    

One reason why we share our opinions, (our ignorance) and not Scripture is that we don't know the Scripture.  We don't know it, because we don't read it, let alone study it.  Just today I heard of one Christian who has been a Christian for a good while say that maybe he should start reading the Bible.  Well, if Evangelical Christians aren't reading the Bible, Evangelicalism has fallen a long way from its roots.  John Wesley would not be very happy about this.

Thus once again, the bottom line comes down to us understanding what the Bible says and implementing it in our thinking and in our actions. So when we share our thoughts, in any context, (in or out of a church setting) we should be Biblically accurate to the best of our understanding.  We may not be quoting Bible verse directly, but the content of what we say should come from sound and balanced Biblical reasoning.   

Understanding the Bible sheds light on everything we do as a person.  Some of late have separated Biblical study from practical issues, suggesting you can't find answers to daily living in the Bible.  They suggest that learning the answers to practical issues is more important than the academics of Scripture.   I do not make such a distinction.  I believe that studying the Bible itself is very much practical.  I believe the Bible has answers for issues of life.  If we neglect the Bible, we miss out on our Lord's answers for life.  I also believe that Biblical illiteracy is one of the main problems in our church today. It is for this reason that our modern day church is so far removed from the original concept of church taught by Biblical scholars as the apostle Paul.  

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