“Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1Thess 5:21).
We are to love God with our minds, as well as our emotions (Mk 12:30). The rational should control the emotional, and both are essential in serving God with our all. The Leslie Diestelkamp family started a gospel paper called, “Think.” God wants us to be objective thinkers about spiritual reality.
We are called to think and examine our faith and practice in light of the objective standard of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor 13:5).
Terry Pratchett observed about thinking, “I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s first evidence of any thinking going on inside it.” We can easily mistake our emotional reactions about religion for thoughtful analysis of objective truth. In Ed Harrell’s series on “Restoring New Testament Christianity,” he has a lesson on “Thinking Inside the Box.” This means, do we first really understand what is inside the box that God has revealed of divine truth? Jesus said, “Your Word is truth” (Jn 17:17). So, objective reason must discern if “the box” we’re thinking about one of human construct (a human tradition or opinion) or of divine revelation that is fixed and absolute. Then, we must be willing to repent and change if we are wrong. Such a spiritual quest should keep us humble.
Bible study shouldn’t be “creed rehearsal” but real, honest Biblical exegesis. We are called to be idealist truth-seekers, like the noble-minded Bereans. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
God, help us THINK objectively about your truth, with love in our hearts for You, above our own personal desires or preferences.
W. Frank Walton