Read Job 4:12
Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it.
• How do you protect yourself from loose Bible interpretations?
• Eliphaz attempted to advise Job based on his visions and dreams, which he believed were from God. To know what God really said, we must carefully search the Scriptures ourselves, rather than relying on often loose interpretations from others. Is this your approach? (Please explain.)
• What are some steps we should take to discern biblical advice?
Today most Americans, whether they choose to follow Christ or not, have two or three Bibles in their homes. With Bible apps like YouVersion and goTandem, we have the Bible at our fingertips on our mobile devices. Moreover, after Jesus' ascension into heaven, we also have the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us.
Living in these times, it's hard to imagine a world without access to the Word. Job's world was entirely different. There was no Bible that everyone could study and discuss together.
When we consider this reality, it should not be too surprising to find that Eliphaz was offering Job spiritual advice based on his own personal experience. He talked about how the word came to him "stealthily" amid visions and dreams.
In speaking this way, Eliphaz was implying that he had special knowledge from God and so Job should treat his words as God's truth. How do you think Job took this? Hopefully not simply at face value. Because of his intimate relationship with God, Job knew God. This knowledge gave him a standard against which he could compare Eliphaz's words.
We face the same challenge today as others often tell us that "God said this" or "the Bible says that." Depending on what is going on in our lives at the time, their interpretation may be tempting. We may want to believe what they say because it seems to provide an easy answer to our problems.
Yet, just like Job, we must be cautious and discerning. People seem to have a natural tendency to overestimate their knowledge of the Bible. For example, many believe that "God helps those who help themselves" is from the Bible, when it was really penned by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac.
Rather than taking someone else's word for it, we must search the scriptures for ourselves. We need to prayerfully discern if this new information is consistent with the biblical message. Above all, we must reject loose Bible interpretations that lead us away from God rather than to Him.
Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Help me to search the scriptures for myself instead of taking the easy route of relying on someone else. Amen.