What is a Bible Expert? Are there any Bible Experts?
(Ver 1.1) I received a comment on one of my blogs a while back asking if I was a Bible expert. I replied by asking for a definition of what he thought a Bible expert was. So far I haven’t gotten an answer to my question. You see it appeared by the arrangement of his question that this individual was not going to believe what I wrote, if he could not find an expert that also said what I was writing about. In other words it looked like to me that he was looking for a man to be his source for what he believed. I can only assume that if he found an “expert” based upon some unnamed criteria as to what makes one an expert, that he would suddenly accept something new to be the truth. I do not know about you but I feel that is a very dangerous position to take. You see anybody can say they are an expert. However, I do understand being cautious about accepting something that someone has written on a blog. If you do not know this person, their character, their background and their intention for writing the blog then you could be easily deceived into believing something that is not true.
So what do you do? Are there any Bible experts? What exactly is an expert? I guess since I didn’t get an answer to my question I can look in the dictionary and can get someone’s definition for what they consider to be an expert. So let’s start there.
Expert: A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject
According to this definition this could apply to anybody about anything. It is obviously a general definition that goes across many boundaries. It also sounds very subjective. Do you understand what I mean by that? Something is subjective if it depends upon the perspective or opinion of someone else to whether or not anyone could be considered an expert. Yo Yo Ma could be considered an expert cellist. I guess this would be my opinion of the man based upon listening to him play the cello. However, since I do not play the cello does my opinion count for anything. Now there are other things like in certain sport fields like archery and target shooting, that people can be measured to determine if they are experts. Based upon the number of perfect shots that they pull off and judging the result from looking at their targets. This is not a subjective designation for being an expert. Bowling is another example, if you can bowl a consistent perfect game and never miss you would automatically qualify to be called an expert bowler. However, there is a huge difference in a subjective designation and a non-subjective designation that is quantifiable and measureable.
When you say somebody is a Bible expert, what are you saying? Let’s see if we can quantify it or measure it. You should understand that God is what I would call the ultimate Bible expert. Only God knows everything the Bible says and exactly what everything in it means. So if we would place God on the upper end of our scale as the ultimate Bible expert, where would you fall on the scale? Where would any man fall on the scale? I believe firmly that there are some men and women who know more than other people on this planet, but I would never call any of them experts as God is an expert. That also means I do not consider myself to be an expert. If I said I was an expert I would be saying I have confidence in my ability to figure out everything that I read in the scriptures. That would in fact make me no different than the man who wrote and asked if I was an expert. I would be placing too much emphasis on my skills and giving no credit to God who has given me the information that I blog in the first place.
I know men who are in their 80’s and who have studied the Bible and ministered for over 50 years. But I also know that as much as they know, they do not know everything. Sure I have learned from them and I do not say there is nothing that they cannot offer me. But, I have learned that God can show me a single verse in the Bible and ask me a simple question and I learned more from that one question than I could ever learn from the 80 year old man in a much shorter period of time. If you think that God doesn’t do that you would be wrong. If you think God doesn’t do that for you, you would be wrong again. I have studied the Bible in great depth for the last approximate 25 years. I cannot even count the number of hours that I have spent exploring the Book and asking God questions. In that time God has spoken some very direct things to me and revealed some awesome things that I have not told anybody. Some of it is coming out in my blogs, simply because I can’t help it. You have to teach what you know, that is just a basic principle of life.
So am I an expert? You be the judge if you want to, I know I am not. I am just a man who knows an expert God. I know I write a lot of things that are radically different than anything you will find in any Bible commentary or seminary. However, consider the source, if everybody got everything they taught from a seminary how would God ever introduce you to anything new? You might be amazed to find out that God does not always work through man’s organized systems. Why didn’t God recruit Jesus’ disciples from the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, etc., the religious leaders of the day Too many times men have established set procedures and traditions that keep God from doing anything to help them. So what does God do? You would be amazed at how God uses the most unlikely candidates to bring out a new message. If you read your Bible and look you will see God selected a group of men, some fishermen, some business men, a doctor, a lawyer, every kind of profession God would surround himself with. God chose a shepherd to be the King of Israel. You can go on and on with who God used in the Bible and ask yourself, would any of these men have been your top candidate for the job? So is God any different today? I’ll ask you again, has God changed? Does He do things differently than He did in the past? Does God still use the foolish things to confound the wisdom of men?
What are you suppose to do? Do you believe something based upon the source qualifications of an individual or do you simply just read the Bible for yourself and see if it says what is being taught? I have written about this next scripture in several of my blogs and I’ll repeat it today because it applies to our subject. What did the early church do? Is this a pattern that we should be following? If you think about the situation of the early church you can learn a significant lesson. Here we have a group of people who do not have an organized seminary or theological group of experts to consult. These people were handed something that was completely new to them, a totally radical change to anything that they had ever heard before. They were taught about things that they had never imagined or even heard taught by anybody on the planet, especially the Jewish religious leadership of the day. These people faced an extremely important decision and probably the most important eternal decision that they would ever face. This is really no different than what you are facing right now. So you can learn this lesson and apply it or you can choose to ignore it and do what you want to.
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Paul and the other disciples were travelling about the countryside preaching the Word of God. They brought such a new radical teaching that I am sure it was immediately rejected by a lot of people just because it was completely new. However, this verse in Acts describes a group of people that God calls very noble. You could imply this also means brave and courageous. These people we are told, kept an open mind to the new things that were being taught them by Paul and the other disciples. Being open minded is an essential quality to a successful Christian growth process. But that is not where the verse ends, that was just the key essential ingredient that allowed them to be more noble. If you read the verse, we are given the key to Bible understanding in determining what we should believe and what we should reject. This verse says these more noble people heard what was being spoken and then they looked in the scriptures to see it for themselves. In other words they based their beliefs upon a personal knowing of what they saw in the verses and not based upon what an expert man was telling them to believe. Did you hear what I just said? Paul was probably the most expert man of his day and knew more about the scriptures than anyone else. But Paul never said believe what I say, because I’m an expert and you are not. Paul always pointed people to the scriptures and the Word of God. The Bible should be your only source for what you ultimately believe. You should never take the words of any man, even experts without finding out for yourself what the Bible really says. If this lesson applied to the early church it still applies to us today. We are still in the same church that they were in. We are still in the same body of Christ that they started, and what we believe must be based upon what God has spoken and not any man.
Having said all of that I should also tell you that God does use teachers to help you learn. God many times will pick one man, like a Paul and give him information and revelation from the scriptures to teach to His children. So God has anointed some men and women as pastors and teachers and He has given many of them specialties in specific areas of Bible knowledge. But, if they are not showing you Bible verses for you to see for yourself and for you to study, you should run away from them very, very fast. Stop looking for an expert to follow and follow God and your Bible. Use your relationship with God, the author of the Bible to help guide you into the truth that you need to learn today. Don’t try to make me or anyone else do your Bible studying for you. If you are depending on what I know for what you believe you will soon be deceived, if you are not already. I believe what I believe because I have studied it out in the scriptures for endless hours and I am confident in what I teach as being the truth because of this intimate and personal scriptural knowledge. You of course do not know everything that I know and cannot have the same confidence in anything that I say. I also understand that concept fully, and I hope that you do to. As we continue to follow God’s leadership through his Holy Spirit who indwells us, we will continue to grow in spiritual strength and faith and finally become the mature Christian that God is seeking.
So do I think that I am an expert, No! Are there really any experts in the world? None that I know of! After all what is there that we can measure that determines a Bible expert? Is it a title from a seminary or university? Is it a duration of a time of study? Does studying the Bible for 10 years make you an expert? How about 50 years of studying the Bible does that make you an expert? I hope that you see the problem with man’s qualification system. Make God your expert, and use the Bible as your source of knowledge and beliefs. Listen to God’s anointed teachers and then check out every word that they teach using your Bible and you’ll continue to grow spiritually with the rest of us. This is God’s system and design for getting people to see and understand the Bible. I have a responsibility and you have a responsibility. It is an equal partnership working with God and He will bring the increase from our labors.
Posted on January 29, 2010, in Bible Interpretation, Rules and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Religion, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.