Breaks in communication are very common. Even as a child growing up, I remember noticing this in the classroom. I remember a teacher’s answer to a question being wrong because they did not fully understand what the student was asking. The teacher heard one thing, but the student was asking something else entirely. The student would then assume the answer was correct simply because it came from the teacher.
Even those who have a wealth of knowledge on a subject can answer a question incorrectly when they misunderstand the question.
In life, we tend to depend on teachers and pastors to feed us the information we need to live a good, godly life. However, the reality is that these teachers and pastors are humans that make mistakes. Even the greatest teachers are capable of unintentionally leading someone astray.
This is obviously not what they set out to do, but unintentionally misinterpreting a scripture or misunderstanding a question is part of what makes them human. God definitely speaks through these people, but we cannot expect everything we hear from them to be the direct voice of God. That is an unfair expectation.
We should also be wary of misinterpreting what a teacher or pastor is actually saying. It is just like the childhood game of telephone. We don’t always hear what is actually being said. But, unlike the game of telephone, we don’t have to put ourselves in a situation where we completely depend on a third person to relay information to us – we can go directly to the source!
I believe there is something much more powerful about God’s Word when we take the time to read it for ourselves.
Just take a look at the story of Adam and Eve!
In Genesis 2:16-18, you see God commanding the man (Adam) not to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. In verse 18, he then creates Eve. Read this passage here:
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
God commanded Adam directly, but not Eve. Adam relays the information to Eve, thus becoming the teacher/pastor of this story.
Most know what happens next. The sneaky serpent comes and questions Eve. Please notice this: the serpent didn’t question Adam (the one who heard it straight from the source). He questioned the one that heard it through a third party.
All of the sudden, hearing the serpent say, “Did he really say . . .” made Eve question everything.
She goes on to sin, and Adam follows.
Compare and contrast this story to the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).
Satan comes to Jesus at his weakest point during his 40 day fast.
With every temptation, Jesus responded beginning with the same phrase, “As it is written . . .”
The Son of God himself didn’t neglect the source of what was written. Why do we think we can get through life any differently?
We like to depend on pastors and teachers for the information that we need to be reading for ourselves. But if we are called to live like Jesus, we must remember that he himself pulled from the written Word of God to withstand the Enemy.
I am not saying it is bad to learn from teachers and pastors. God’s Word says they have been designated for the building up of the church.
What I am saying is we must not allow the vast array of teachings to distract us from our God-breathed Bible.
Let’s not be the person who only seeks God’s voice through other people. Too many breaks in communication/doubt can creep in that way. Going to the God breathed Bible is the best way to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are hearing God’s voice.
As we have learned from Jesus and Eve, we will withstand much more when we are rooted in God’s written Word.