January 15th - opinions
Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. John 7:16-18 (NKJV)
I had a class of young potential spiritual leaders. We began to study the "rules for interpreting the Bible." (Commonly called Hermeneutics) We came to this conclusion: If a person ignores the basic rules of Hermeneutics and/or manipulates God's Word or twists its meaning to any significant measure they are, at best, teaching their own opinion and at worst, they are in danger of teaching false doctrine. We further concluded that the majority of our teaching should be given to those doctrines that are obvious and important and generally avoid those things that are controversial or of marginal significance.
Through the years, I have heard a lot of opinions taught as the Gospel truth. (Some of the opinions were so far off as to be heretical) In an attitude of humility, Jesus (I remind you, God in the flesh) made it clear that He did not come teach His opinions. He came to teach the doctrine of the Father and to accurately represent the Father to us. This fact makes the teachings of Christ pure and unpolluted by falsehood, hidden agendas or self-serving tripe. This means that the red letters in your New Testament accurately represent the thoughts and communication of the Father.
Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warn us of a time when the world will be full of false teachers and prophets, who will be deceiving others and are themselves deceived. It is further prophesied that people will flock to their teaching, because they are teaching what people want to hear. In the words of Jesus, such a teacher "seeks his own glory. If you are a teacher of God's Word, you should follow the example of Jesus; Do not teach your opinions as the Gospel truth--Teach the Word without manipulation and accurately represent Christ.
Author's Note: The Apostle Paul told Timothy (my paraphrase) "Pay attention to your doctrine, it will save you and those that listen to you." It is an incredible responsibility to stand in front of a group of people and teach God's Word. We, who have such opportunity, must make sure that we are teaching the timeless truths of God as opposed to our frail and flaws opinions. RJD