If someone were to ask you why you believe what you believe, or why you do what you do religiously, would you be able to answer? More importantly, would your answers come from the Bible? God commands us to “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15). Are we able to do that? In the next chapter of Peter’s same epistle, we are commanded: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). To speak as the oracles of God is to speak as the Bible speaks. Are we able to answer Bible questions with Bible answers?
It is often the case that a person’s answers to religious questions are simply along the lines of “I feel,” “I think,” or “My preacher says,” instead of “Thus saith the Lord.” True authority in religion only comes to us today from the written Word of God, and the Bible is all-sufficient for everything we need to know (Colossians 3:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). If our answers are not backed up with Scriptures, then our faith is resting on a faulty foundation.
When it comes to giving an answer, some may give a Scripture reference, but we also must remember that the Scriptures must be “rightly divided,” and not twisted to fit any kind of man-made doctrine (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:16-17). An accurate interpretation of a verse will not contradict any other Scripture in the Bible, so we must take the context of the surrounding verses, surrounding chapters, and the entire Bible into consideration when determining what a verse or passage means.
Let us remember that there is nothing wrong with questioning what we have been taught! God commends those who do so! The Bereans were called “noble” in the Holy Scriptures because “they searched the Scriptures daily” to determine whether those things the apostle Paul was telling them “were so” (Acts 17:11). Those who are teaching from the Bible should encourage others to search the Scriptures for themselves, and not to assume that what they are being taught is correct.
Have you ever questioned what you have been taught? If not, why not? Your salvation depends upon it! I encourage you to:
Question your answers about obtaining salvation. If someone were to ask you how we can have our sins washed away, what would you say? If you would say, “I think our sins are washed away at the moment we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God,” then your answer would not have a Biblical foundation. The Bible says that our sins are washed away when we are immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16; cf. Acts 2:38; 8:38; Romans 6:3-5, 16-18; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:22, 3:20-21; Hebrews 5:9; James 2:24; etc.). That is what Christ commanded us to do to be saved after hearing and believing the Gospel (Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:19-20). One who takes the entire New Testament into consideration will also note the commands to believe in Christ, repent of sins, and confess faith in Christ before baptism (John 8:24; Acts 2:38, 8:37). There are all kinds of answers that men may give, but the Bible gives the only true answer about how we can have our sins washed away.
Question your answers about worship. If someone were to ask you what kind of worship is pleasing to God, what would you say? If you would say, “Well, my preacher says we can do whatever we want in worship, as long as we are sincere,” then, with all due respect, perhaps your faith lies in your preacher instead of the Lord. Jesus said that there is “true worship,” and there is “vain worship” (John 4:23, 24; Matthew 15:9). True worship is the only worship God accepts, and it must be done in spirit (right frame of mind), and in truth (according to the truth of God’s Word – John 4:24, 17:17). The Bible teaches that everything we do in worship must be done by the authority of Jesus – not by the authority of Moses, David, or any other man (Colossians 3:16, 17). Under the Law of Moses, the Sabbath day was a special day for God’s people, but under the Law of Christ, the first day of the week is the Lord’s special day, and it should be special to us (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Colossians 2:14-16; Revelation 1:10). Although David worshiped God with mechanical instruments, Jesus did not teach us to worship with mechanical instruments – Jesus sang (Matthew 26:30). Peter, Paul, Phillip, John, and any other Christian mentioned in the Scriptures did not worship with mechanical instruments under the New Covenant. Mechanical instruments were not used among “believers in Christ” until hundreds of years later, and they were introduced by the authority of men rather than the authority of God. The New Testament clearly commands us to “sing,” and it also commands us not to go beyond what is written (Matthew 26:30; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16, 17; Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 22:18, 19). Knowing that we live under the New Testament, why would we worship like they did under the Old Testament? If we were following the pattern of Old Testament worship, we would be doing things like burning incense, sacrificing animals, and using mechanical instruments in worship. So how should one answer the question of how we must worship God? The New Testament Scriptures teach us to pray to the Father in Jesus’ name (Ephesians 5:20); give as we have been prospered on the first day of every week (1 Corinthians 16:2); sing (Colossians 3:16, 17); take the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (1 Corinthians 11:20, 16:2; Acts 20:7); and hear the preaching of God’s Word (Acts 20:7).
Question your answers about the possibility of falling from grace. What if someone asked you if a saved person could become lost? If you would say, “I believe that a person cannot fall from grace,” then your answer would contradict what the Bible says. Paul said that many brethren in the churches of Galatia had “fallen from grace” by straying from true doctrine and trying to add parts of the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ (Galatians 5:1-4; 6:1-2). The Bible gives warning after warning about falling away, and most of the New Testament was written to encourage Christians to remain faithful and not to lose their salvation! (Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13; Acts 1:25; Romans 11:22; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 1:6-9, 4:11; Philippians 2:5-12, 15, 16; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:6, 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:10-18; Hebrews 3:12, 4:1, 10:23-39; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 1:10, 2:20-22, 3:16-17; 1 John 1:6-9; 2 John 8; Jude 21; Revelation 2:10, 3:11, 22:18-19; and many other passages!).
I challenge you to question your answers to spiritual questions such as these I have posed. Luke wrote about a man who questioned his answers. His name was Apollos. He was “mighty in the Scriptures,” yet he was teaching false doctrine boldly in the synagogue at Ephesus. When Apollos was exposed to the truth by Priscilla and Aquila, his good heart would not allow him to ignore the truth. Upon discovering that his answers were wrong, he changed accordingly and began teaching the truth (Acts 18:24-28). Soon after this, the Ephesians learned that they had been taught and baptized incorrectly, and then they were baptized into Christ (Acts 19:1-5). Will you be like Apollos and the Ephesians? Will you change if your answers do not coincide with the Word of God? We must all be willing to change if what we believe and practice contradicts the Word of God. Our souls depend on it!