Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

Belief

There’s a story that has made its rounds over the years about the mother who is preparing for a family dinner. As she is preparing the ham she cuts the end off of it, and puts it in the roaster. As she does so, her daughter asks her, “Mom, why did you cut the end off of the ham?” The Mother looks at her daughter, and says, “You know, I’m not really sure. My mother always did it, so I’ve always done it that way. Let’s call Grandma and find out.”

When Grandma is asked why she always cut the end off the ham before putting it in the roaster, she says, “I did it because my roaster was too small for the whole ham.”

So many times in life, we do things because we are taught to do it that way, and don’t question it. After all, we trust our parents, grandparents, and others close to us. We’re sure they wouldn’t lie to us, nor lead us astray.

During my college years, I met with three other guys for Bible study on a weekly basis. What was interesting about this was that we were each from different denominations. One had attended a Catholic Church, one Lutheran, and one Methodist. After a couple of weeks, we began to question each other about our beliefs regarding specific subjects and doctrine. We decide that for the next few weeks our focus would be to study God’s word, and to prove to ourselves and to each other what we believed. If you said “I believe x, then you had to support it with scripture. It was amazing at how we listened, challenged, debated, and accepted each other and the thoughts and opinions we each had. What we also found interesting was the spiritual growth we all experienced. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was present.

The main question we answered was, “Why do you believe what you believe?” It’s a question that all Christians must answer. In our past, we may have taken information and experiences to format our thoughts and opinions, and assumed they were right. Sometimes we believe what we believe because our parents or grandparents told us what to believe. We listen to preachers, some who have very good messages, and some who don’t, or are erroneous in their delivery.

Sometimes we “make” the scriptures say what we want them to in order support our point of view. We take scripture out of context, or just completely misinterpret what scripture says.
Bible study is critical to growing our relationship with Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Paul tells believers, “but test them all; hold on to what is good.” In his commentary, Matthew Henry had this to say about this scripture.

“This is a needful caution, to prove all things; for, though we must put a value on preaching, we must not take things upon trust from the preacher, but try them by the law and the testimony. We must search the scriptures, whether what they say be true or not. We must not believe every spirit, but must try the spirits. But we must not be always trying, always unsettled; no, at length we must be settled, and hold fast that which is good. When we are satisfied that anything is right, and true, and good, we must hold it fast, and not let it go, whatever opposition or whatever persecution we meet with for the sake thereof. Note, the doctrines of human infallibility, implicit faith, and blind obedience, are not the doctrines of the Bible. Every Christian has and ought to have, the judgment of discretion, and should have his senses exercised in discerning between good and evil, truth and falsehood, Hebrews 5:13-14. And proving all things must be in order to holding fast that which is good. We must not always be seekers, or fluctuating in our minds, like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.”

We should be open minded to what others have to say, but be ready to prove it as true before blindly accepting it. We must also prove our own beliefs. Don’t be afraid to dive into a thorough study of the scriptures using good tools like Bible commentaries, a good concordance, and an interlinear Bible, showing the original Greek and Hebrew words and meanings. Discuss this with fellow believers, and come to a conclusion you can support and explain. As you do this, you will be amazed at how much it will strengthen your faith and your relationship with God.

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