[Paul writing:] What does the Scripture say?
In our passage today, Paul’s question provides the right direction for all of us who seek answers: “What does the Scripture say?” Let me affirm some basics about Scripture:
1. The Bible is God’s Word to us. (2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”)
2. The Holy Spirit is our personal teacher. (John 14:26: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”)
3. The Holy Spirit honors and uses God’s Word to us. (1 Thessalonians 1:6b: “…you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.)
4. The Scriptures are our source of authority — for faith and practice. (Psalms 19:9,11: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”)
We cannot depend solely on traditions, our experience, or the experience of others to be accurate authorities of God’s will and ways. Experience and tradition must always be tested against the backdrop of Scripture.
As Christians, the Holy Spirit is at work in us — confirming in our own hearts the truth of Scripture. Therefore, whenever a teacher or pastor presents what they consider to be a Biblical principle we can depend on the Holy Spirit to validate if what is being taught comes from God. (John 7:17: “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”)
Paul poses the question in our passage today: “What does Scripture say?” My immediate response is to open and read my Bible. What is your response? Is it simply to listen to the teacher’s opinion? We must always be on guard — Scripture can sometimes be twisted to fit a teacher’s intent or purpose (not that Paul is doing so). That is how cults are started and evil is done in the name of the Lord. Our best response is to always read Scripture in its full context while allowing the Holy Spirit to instruct, confirm or correct.