Read John 9:39-41 and John 12:42-43. What hindered the people in these passages from accepting the truth of the biblical message? What words of warning and caution can we take away from these incidents for ourselves?
It’s easy to look back with scorn at the religious leaders who rejected Jesus despite such powerful evidence. Yet, we need to be careful ourselves that we don’t foster a similar attitude when it comes to His Word.
There is no question that sin has radically altered, ruptured, and fractured our relationship with God. Sin affects all of our human existence. It also affects our ability to interpret Scripture. It is not just that our human thought processes are easily employed for sinful ends, but our minds and thoughts have become corrupted by sin and, therefore, become closed to God’s truth. The following characteristics of this corruption can be detected in our thinking: pride, self-deception, doubt, distance, and disobedience.
A prideful person elevates himself or herself over God and His Word. This is because pride leads the interpreter to overemphasize human reason as the final arbiter of truth, even truths found in the Bible. This attitude diminishes the divine authority of Scripture.
Some people tend to listen only to those ideas that are attractive to them, even if they are in contradiction to God’s revealed will. God has warned us about the danger of self-deception (Rev. 3:17). Sin also fosters doubt, in which we waver and are inclined not to believe God’s Word. When one starts with doubt, the interpretation of the biblical text will never lead to certainty. Instead, the doubting person quickly elevates himself to a position where he judges what is and is not acceptable in the Bible, which is very dangerous ground to be standing on.
Instead, we should approach the Bible in faith and submission, and not with an attitude of criticism and doubt. Pride, self-deception, and doubt lead to an attitude of distance toward God and the Bible that surely will lead to disobedience, that is, an unwillingness to follow God’s revealed will.
|Have you ever found yourself fighting against conviction from what you have read in the Bible — that is, it clearly pointed you to do one thing, but you wanted to do another? What happened, and what did you learn from your experience?|