Christian Living

How Much of a Priority Do You Place on What the Bible Says?

Most Christians Don’t Let Scripture Get in the Way of What They Believe

I recently shared with some friends that “Most Christians won’t let the Bible get in the way of what they believe.” It’s a shocking statement—one that no doubt offends some—but the attitudes of many people about what the Bible says prove that I am right.

In truth, most people base their beliefs on multiple sources, such as what others teach them, what society thinks, and what the Bible says—usually in that order. (I’m not including those people who just make up their own religion and do whatever seems right to them. They may be sincere about their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong.)

What Others Teach Them

Many people give a lot of credence to what their ministers and spiritual gurus teach. Though often a worthy source, some are in error. They could lead us astray if we don’t scrutinize what they teach with Scripture (consider Acts 17:11).

As a basic example, most children are taught to bow their head, fold their hands, and close their eyes when they pray. Guess what? I’ve not found that in the Bible. Yet we cling to this practice with religious fervor as if a failure to follow these three basic instructions will render our prayers ineffective. Instead, we should pray like Jesus teaches in the Bible (Matthew 6:5-8).

In a much weightier instance, a common instruction is that we must ask Jesus into our hearts to be saved. Yet I’ve not found this in the Bible either. What Scripture says is to believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31 and many other places).

Yet when our preachers tell us something that’s not in Scripture, we accept their words anyway. Even worse is when these words contradict what’s in the Bible. We believe them and dismiss God’s word. Shame on us.

What Society Thinks

Many people believe that if their life is mostly good, or if they do more good things than bad, then God will welcome them into heaven when they die. Not so fast. The Bible says that in this rule-based approach, one mistake condemns us (James 2:10).

Or what about, “God helps them who helps themselves.” Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and reinforced by pop-culture, the original source is not the Bible. It may sound spiritual, but it lacks a biblical foundation.

Another common view is that God and Satan are equals, battling each other as evenly matched contenders in the fight of good versus evil. Not true. Satan is a fallen angel. God created angels, just as he created us. The creator is greater than the created. Therefore, God is greater than Satan. Consider Romans 16:20. In the end, God wins (Revelation 12:7–10).

What the Bible Says

We’ve already covered that the Bible says to believe in Jesus and be saved (Acts 16:31). It’s a perfect place to start. But there’s more.

Consider Jesus’s promise that we will do everything he did and even more (John 14:12). Scripture proclaims it, so I believe it, even though some ministers dismiss it, and society deems it as foolish.

Another promising passage is that when we align our will with his, God hears and answers our prayers. All of them (1 John 5:14-15).

There are hundreds of more examples, of course, but these three are an ideal place to start. Read the Bible to find more.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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