You Don’t Have to Take My Word For It

As a child of the 90’s, I grew up watching the popular educational TV show, Reading Rainbow. If you’re familiar with the show, the opening “reading rainboooow” tune probably came to your memory as well as that famous phrase from the host, Levar Burton: “But, you don’t have to take my word for it…” That phrase introduced a segment of the show where children would chime in and give a summary of their favorite books. The purpose of that segment was to encourage kids to read books for themselves, not just take someone else’s word for the story. In a world where there are many people interpreting Scripture for us, I believe this same principle should be applied to our Christian lives.

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I was recently reminded of the story of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-15, where Paul and Silas journey to Berea to preach the good news of Jesus in a Jewish synagogue. In verse 11, Luke records,

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11

Isn’t it interesting that Luke describes these Jews as noble? Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he saw their open-mindedness, thoughtfulness, and fairness in their response to the preaching of Paul and Silas. These Bereans didn’t accept what was preached to them at face value, but they also didn’t deny what was said about Jesus; they checked into it for themselves by examining the Scriptures daily. And then guess what happens? In verse 12, Luke says that,

“Many of them therefore believed…” Acts 17:12

So what does this mean for us today? How can we gain wisdom and apply these truths about seeking Scripture to our own lives?

First, we must study the Bible for ourselves.

God’s Word records the history of humankind and our fall from perfection in Genesis. It details the effects of sin and the unfaithfulness of God’s chosen people throughout the Old Testament, as well as prophecies about the coming Messiah. And it captures the turning point of history in the coming of our Savior and explains what His saving grace means for all of eternity in the New Testament. The Bible is a complete picture of God’s redemptive plan.

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Because of this, the benefits of Scripture are infinite and the Word is applicable to every situation and circumstance in our lives. In order to mine the truths of God’s Word, we must be reading it and studying it daily. And not just for devotional purposes; we should be reading our Bible to first and foremost understand who God is. I’m afraid that we often approach Scripture as a spiritualized self-help magazine. We should study the Bible to have a deep, thorough understanding of who God is and in light of this, what it means for us.

Then we must verify what we’re taught.

Taking the time to understand and verify what is being taught from the Bible will not only increase our Biblical literacy; it will also help us spot unbiblical teaching. Scripture tells us that false prophets are among us who deceive God’s people through destructive lies (2 Peter 2:1-3). Heresy is alive and well today, just like it was thousands of years ago when the inspired Word of God was written, and false teaching often creeps in under our radar. The scary part is that heresies (like the prosperity gospel) often sound good and appeal to our sinful nature. But if we are grounded in Scripture and know God’s Word well, we are able to spot these falsehoods and stop them in their tracks.

Paul wrote much of the New Testament, and yet the Bereans went back to search the Scriptures to make sure that what he was preaching aligned with what was already written in God’s Word. While we shouldn’t always have a skeptical attitude toward our pastors and teachers, it’s important to understand that everyone is under the curse of sin; people misspeak, omit things, and emphasize certain parts of Scripture more than others. Not only is it important to seek churches and pastors that emphasize solid Biblical teaching; it’s important to know the Bible well so that we’re able to identify what solid Biblical teaching looks like.

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Charles Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, “If you cut him, he’d bleed Scripture!” I’ve always loved that quote. My prayer is that this would be true for each of us; that we would be seeking to know and understand God’s Word more with each passing day in order to grow in our faith and share it with others. So today, don’t take my word it; let’s read Scripture for ourselves and mine the Bible’s rich, endless wisdom and Truth.

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11



About the Author

Lauren Hooker

LaurenHooker_Elle&CoI’m a 24-year-old graphic designer, blogger, business owner, wife, and follower of Christ. I live in Charlotte, NC, where my husband attends school full-time at Reformed Theological Seminary and I run my design business, Elle & Company. I spend my days designing brands and websites, sharing business and blogging tips on my blog, serving our church, and spending time with my husband, Jake. My prayer is to glorify the Lord in everything that I do, love well, and point others to Christ.