There are times when you want—and need—an expert opinion.
Your car is making a peculiar (and new) noise, but only when you turn to the left. You look under the car and try to assess the problem and find nothing amiss (at least to your relatively untrained eye). So, you take it to your mechanic. You want an expert opinion.
You have a small area in your middle back that is giving you some pain. You’ve tried to stretch it out; tried to figure out what you did that might have given rise to the pain. The pain increases and WebMD offers little help. So, you go to your doctor. You want an expert opinion.
All that is right. It is as it should be. There are times when you want—and need—an expert opinion.
But sometimes this longing for an expert’s voice can be unnecessary . . . or even inappropriate. And one of those times may well be when you are reading the Bible.
It is true that the Spirit has gifted certain people in the body of Christ to be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). We all should avail ourselves of these gifted individuals. But we need to resist the idea of thinking of them as the “experts,” and we need to restrain ourselves from too readily running to them when we want to understand what we read in the Bible.
When the apostle Paul was proclaiming the message of the Gospel in the city of Berea, Luke says that those who were listening were “noble-minded” because they studied the Scriptures to ascertain whether Paul’s teaching was well-anchored in Scripture (Acts 17:11). Although Paul was clearly an “expert,” the believers were commended for searching out, for themselves, what the Scriptures said.
Although Paul had a unique teaching gift, when writing to the Colossians he underscored the place of an every-Christian ministry of the Word: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another” (Colossians 3:16). Although Paul was clearly an “expert,” he knew that every Christian could, personally, read and study and understand the Scriptures.
The Spirit who inspired the Biblically authors, intended those authors to write what “average people” could read and understand. It might take a little effort, it will likely take some attention and time, but like those in Berea or the Christians in Colossae, youcan read and understand the Bible for yourself.
Don’t let an “expert” rob you of the joy and delight of discovering, for yourself, the truths God has in store for us in the pages of His Book.