Healthy Doubts and Questioning
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."1
John Fabre, the French naturalist, conducted an interesting experiment with some processionary caterpillars which are called by this name because they blindly follow one another one by one by one.
Fabre placed caterpillar food in the center of a flower pot and placed caterpillars end to end so they formed a complete circle around the edge of the pot. Round and round the caterpillars went for seven days and nights until they dropped dead from starvation and exhaustion—with all the food they needed only a few inches away.
Unfortunately many people are like processionary caterpillars in that they blindly follow a powerful or charismatic leader, never questioning what he or she says or teaches. This is true in false cults, certain religious traditions, secular organizations, some universities, politics, etc., etc.
Can you imagine questioning the Apostle Paul, the most powerful leader in the early Church? But the Christians in Berea did this and made sure that what he was teaching was in line with God's Word. And they were commended for it.
It's important that we, too, learn to study and know the Scriptures for ourselves, and question or review everything we are taught to make sure it is in harmony with what God's Word teaches. While we need to respect respectful leaders, we need to make God's Word our "final voice of authority" and not the words of men, no matter how high his or her position is.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a love for your Word, the Bible, and help me to know and understand what it teaches, and be aware of and discard all false teaching. Help me to be certain that my beliefs and life style are in harmony with your Word. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."
1. Acts 17:11 (NIV).