Biblical hygieneâno, I am not talking about washing your Bible after reading it on the toilet! (Although this may be a good idea if the situation dictates). No, I am talking about the importance of placing the word of the Godâthe Bibleâbefore other texts, secular and even Christian.
Many times over the years I have been involved in theological discussions when I am confronted with a clearly non-biblical view point. You may know of such conversations, when the subject seems to be flowing normally and then suddenly it hits you ... 'Hang-on, is that really biblical?'
Sometimes it gets to the point where you go back to the Bible and search for related passages just to make sure it was not your understanding that was skewed.
Cross-breeding destroys pedigree
Much of the time it seems, when enquiring with the individual how they came to that viewpoint, is the reading of other literature and allowing the opinion of that particular text to partially or completely overwrite what the Bible has to say on the matter.
There is so much Christian literature available, everything from commentaries to '10 steps to everything' type books. Searching for information online is potentially more risky, as anyone can write anything and share it for the world to view without any accountability.
The point is, if you were to read a book or article on Jesus' return and it set a date or date periodâand trust me there are a fewâwould you jump onto the bandwagon with the writer because he gives a few good points on current events, offers a few out of context scriptures and draws a good, essentially non-biblical, case for his conclusion? Or would you turn to the Bible to see exactly what it says on the subject?
The Bible often gives us a very plain answer when we are looking for more, but it is my opinion that the truth is sometimes simple. Don't get carried away to the point of obsession as many people do. An example I have noted is Christians studying the details of the occult, from a defensive perspective, to better understand the enemy.
Many times, people seem to get so carried away that they fail to keep themselves grounded and end up blaming demons/spirits for everything that happens around them and as such, losing sight of how Jesus dealt with such things.
Having some experience in this area, many people who are a little obsessed tend to ask me 1001 questions about my experiences. My stand is that I do not like to give the devil and his minions the time of day.
It is good to know how to deal with things unseen by learning to maintain your armour of Godâas written in Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10â18âand deal with things through the power of Jesus (see Luke chapter 4, verse 35 and verse 41; Mark chapter 9, verse 25).
For the day to day of the Christian life it is best to concentrate on taking up your cross and following Jesus, not looking out for spirits in every situation.
A snake in the garden?
Be discerning, not everything with the label 'Christian' is helpful or biblical. I can recall a Christian dating book which gives the impression that it is OK to have sexual intercourse before marriage.
The book explains that God is a God of love, and why would he completely write off something so special as being completely wrong? Just ask for forgiveness and move on.
I think the aim of the chapter was to release people from feelings of guilt holding you back from future relationships, but permitting or encouraging couples to have sex outside of the marriage covenant was not the correct way to go about it. This goes against what the Bible teaches about adultery.
Blessing of modern technology
More now than ever, we really do have no excuse for not knowing the Bible. The search functions on the Internet, along with Bible collections available on your technology device of choice are amazing. This is the only time in history when so much is so freely available. It was not that long ago that a copy of the Bible would have costed a year's worth of wages.
Today we can listen to the word of God in our cars or via media players, in any translation we prefer. We can cheaply and easily compare different translations. It is even possible to search the original Hebrew texts, even considering first tier translations such as the Septuagint.
Please, let God's word cleanse you with the truth by bathing in it regularly. As 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16â17 state, 'All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.'
There is no reference in the Bible supporting the word of man as doctrine.
So, remember to read texts that are not directly from the Bible itself in an objective mannerâespecially those which are secular. Some of it is good, some of it is helpful, but we need to remember to stay grounded in the word of God.
Michael Dahlenburg is an electronics engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include: enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and three children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html