Prove All Things

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

This is a clear command from Paul speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  A (very) modern paraphrase might read, “Listen fairly to peoples’ ideas, engaging your brain and thinking critically about them.  Believe what is true and deny what is false.”

I believe we have slowly lost the ability to “prove all things.”  Paul would take us all to task for our inabilities in this area.  By contrast, see how the Berean Jews were spoken favorably of in Acts 17:11 for “receiving the word with all readiness of mind” and searching the scriptures to see whether the things that Paul was preaching were so.

We all have some blind spots.  For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit has not seen fit to lead any particular one of us into perfect truth in this life.  If you’ve ever been around someone who was convinced they had all the answers, you can probably imagine why.  There’s a prideful attitude that such claims to perfection always bring.  At what cost comes perfect knowledge?  Therefore setting up other individuals as your standard of truth will always fail.  It’s not enough to believe something just because your parents did, your pastor does, Jerry Falwell, or <insert name here>.

You must think critically about everything, and I believe the Bible teaches that you should take an irenic approach to truth, from the Greek word for “peace”, εἰρήνη.  The wisdom “from above” is pure, peaceable, gentle, and “easy to be entreated” (Jas 3:17).  In other words, you look at the facts with an open mind.  You make a decision after carefully weighing all of the facts, not before: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”  (Proverbs 18:13)

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