Sometimes we base our understanding of God on our preconceived ideas and our past experiences. Baptists grow up with a Baptist understanding of the scriptures, and the same can be said of Methodists, Lutherans, Charismatics…this list goes on and on. Depending on our church’s denomination or theological perspective, we are convinced that our brand of theology is correct.
The truth is, we should be sure that what we believe is based on the Word of God and not on our traditional understanding. The Berean Christians refused to take everything that Paul preached at face value. They went home and studied the scriptures to be sure that the things Paul said were really true…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11).
Is it possible that certain traditions we consider to be completely scriptural are not based on the Bible at all? Could it be that the real reason we do certain things is because our parents and grandparents did them? I’ve heard the story of a young mother who always cut off the ends of a whole ham before baking it in the oven. When she was asked why she always followed this procedure, she said, “Because Grandma did it that way.” Little did she know that grandma’s roast pan was too small for the entire ham—that was the only motivation grandma had to cut off the ends!
Let’s become Bereans. I have told those whom I have taught for more than forty years, “Do not take what I say as truth until you check it out with the scriptures.” I encourage you to do this same.