Learning To Think For Ourselves

Brother Rick Liggin, preacher for the Paris Avenue congregation in Peoria, Illinois, has written an above titled article in the “Think On These Things” publication on how preachers, elders, and Bible class teachers should help people to “think for themselves.” In his insightful article, brother Liggin emphasizes the passage found in 2 Corinthians 1:24 ESV where the inspired writer Paul states: “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith.

Regarding the above Scripture, brother Liggin comments: “People will only stand firm when they stand in a faith that is their own….a faith based on their own understanding of God’s word.” He goes on to point out that “Indoctrinating people is certainly easier, but it doesn’t really help them. Oh, they may say all the right things….the things the teacher wants to hear; but they are not speaking from their own faith. They are simply “parroting” the faith of their teacher, and that’s not good….at times, preachers fall prey to this temptation when people want answers to their Bible questions. The temptation is to just give the person the “bottom line” answer, rather than pointing him to the Word and helping him think through the answer for himself.

Brother Liggin is exactly right in his above analysis! It’s sad to say, but as members of the Lord’s church, we tend to lean too much on the preacher’s knowledge and ability to give us an answer to our Bible questions, when we should be searching the Scriptures ourselves for the correct answer (Acts 17:11) in order to strengthen our own faith (note the phrase “your faith” in 1 Corinthians 15:14,17; 2 Corinthians 10:15; Philippians 2:17; Colossians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Peter 1:7,21).

We may not realize it, but if we have the preacher do our studying for us, we are setting up the Lord’s church to be like the denominations round about us by looking to the preacher as our “pastor” (as the head of each congregation with the most Bible knowledge) instead of the Lord being the scriptural "head of the body" (Ephesians 1:22-23). The preacher is not any more important than any other member of the Lord’s body. We are all to simply “by love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13 KJV).

Beloved, as members of the Lord‘s church, let’s learn to “think for ourselves” so that our faith will be based on our own understanding of God’s word — not someone else’s.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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