The second chapter of Knowing Scripture recounts the massive changes that occurred when Martin Luther challenged the ecclesiastical authorities of the day.  It seems Luther had the notion that, among other things, that individuals could read and understand the Bible for themselves.

It sounds shocking to us today but many people were tortured and executed for simply reading the Bible.  Implicit in this act was the idea that God could/would speak directly to people through His word.  The Roman Catholic church believed it was the sole conduit through which the word of God was to be interpreted and understood.

Despite what I believe is a huge error in the Roman Catholic church’s position, there is some merit in their concerns.  If you look at the history of the church, especially since the reformation, private interpretation of scripture has allowed some to misinterpret the word of God.  Cults regularly claim the Bible as their source of inspiration, but add some other “inspired” writing that suits their heretical agenda.

Brothers, if we desire to know how to lead a life that pleases God, we must know the difference between truth and error.  Listening to good people teach is important in that regard, but even the best teachers can get it wrong every now and then.  Know the scriptures so that you can recognize error the moment you hear it.  Search the scriptures when you hear a teaching that doesn’t ring true.  Check your pastor’s work after his teaching so you can reinforce the good work he has preached.