Reading with Discernment (The Christadelphian)

When we read the writings of Christadelphians we are on much safer ground than when we read expositions by those who are not—we can have confidence about the doctrinal content of what we read. That does not mean to say, however, that everything we read will be correct. We should not expect that: in fact, if we find ourselves agreeing with absolutely everything we read, it may be that we are not being discerning enough. God wants us to search out His Truth for ourselves.

Equally, there is no cause for patting ourselves on the back when we find something with which we disagree—our own opinions could equally be wrong. Sometimes it is possible to hear brethren speak with what seems to be a kind of pride when they state their disagreement with another brother’s position or view about a verse. But Bible exposition is not about the human ego.

We have to strike a right balance in our attitude towards different interpretations of scripture, and this will come out in our response when we read books. We are not reading so that we might seize on the mistakes of others, nor so that we accept unquestioningly everything that they write. All must be weighed prayerfully and thoughtfully against the scriptures.

There are always greater depths to explore, further gems to be discovered, fresh Bible study to be done. We must have an attitude of reverence and humility whenever we approach anything to do with God’s Word. Our own opinions about scripture, and our confidence in the opinions of brothers we respect, must always be tempered with the knowledge that we might be wrong, and that God knows what He means, even if we are sometimes too dim to perceive it correctly.

Extract from a series called “A Christadelphian’s Bookshelf” by Mark Vincent in The Christadelphian magazine 1995, volume 132, p206