Don’t believe a word I tell you.

So then, that’s a nice opening when you start a conversation with someone: “Don’t believe a word I tell you”… but… then the sentence continues:

Don’t believe a word I tell you, examine everything I say, with God’s word in your hand.

Ah look, now we’re getting somewhere. But why would you even want to say something like that during a conversation? That’s weird, isn’t it? Well… my short answer is always: I’m only human and can make mistakes. So do me a favor and examine everything I say, so that together we can be clear that this is what God really meant to say.

The longer (and complete) one goes a bit further…because take a look at these Bible verses:

Test all things; hold fast what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

So, it’s not that I think you should do that, it’s literally written in the bible that you should examine everything. So, that also applies to what I tell you… or your pastor… or the mayor… or that politician… everything and everybody.

Now you might think: Nah, I already know everything, I trust you and I have a good connection with the Holy Spirit and he will help me if needed. Well… here’s something to think about…

If there was anyone who has an excellent connection with God, it is Jesus. Right? He has a direct connection, without noise on the line. But notice this, this is about Jesus:

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Luke 2:46

What? Hold on… this is Jesus…?! Correct. He learned, in the temple, from the teachers and also questioned those teachers by asking them questions. And one step further:

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4: 16-21

We can learn a few things from that:

Jesus quoted from Isaiah. Isaiah is one of the longest books in the Bible, and certainly not the easiest. In the time of Jesus there were no chapters or verses in the Torah, the bible we have now is easily divided into verses and chapters, but they didn’t have that convenience back then. So in order to “preach” from that, you have to REALLY know where certain scriptures were. That Jesus found it the way he did, clearly shows great familiarity, and so he must have studied it seriously.

Also interesting, it was not a book then, but a scroll. That you held with one hand. To be able to find something quickly or at all, you really have to be familiar with the subject. That roll was about 80 feet long, fully unrolled.

And finally, Jesus could have said: “this is what I think, think or feel and just believe me”. But no. Jesus uses God’s word, the Bible, over and over again. There are verses everywhere in the bible that He did this over and over again.

If Jesus did… then surely we should. Every time.

And yes, that way you avoid learning wrong things (because people make mistakes), but then you also guard against this:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves

Matthew 7:15

So do yourself a great favor and don’t believe a word I tell you, examine everything, with God’s word in your hand. Just as Jesus did himself.

The nice thing is that if you say this to someone, they are immediately awake and a very open conversation can arise with a lot of space. Divine space.

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