How many wise men brought Baby Jesus gifts? If your answer was three, that would be consistent with tradition, but not The Bible. While the magi did bring three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2: 11), The Bible doesn’t actually say how many people were involved in delivering them.
One thing I love and respect about my father and his preaching habits: he never expects anyone to take his word for anything he says, behind a pulpit or otherwise. Instead, he encourages his congregation, “Don’t take it from me; read it for yourself.”
I suppose that’s one reason I always try to remember and back up my publicly expressed beliefs (such as in these daily devotions) with scripture. I want you to read it for yourself; come to your own conclusions. We’ve heard it before, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” That is especially true when it comes to scriptural teachings. The Bible warns us there are many out there who will steer us in the wrong direction: intentionally or unintentionally.
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24: 24 ESV)
I remember, many moons ago, I was talking to one of my older cousins who had just surrendered to preach under a different denomination than my family. I’d asked him, “Why do you believe what you do?”
I can’t really remember his response, but the strongest part of the memory was when he turned that question back to me; he answered for me, “Because that’s what your parents believe.” I was very young (maybe twelve or thirteen), but the impact was true and firm.
As I grew, I was determined to read The Bible and find what I truly believed based on what I read and how I interpreted it (not someone else, not even my father whom I greatly admire). Turns out, on all the things that matter, we agree.
When discussing beliefs with people from other denominations or those having no faith at all, realizing my bias, I try to have an open mind, to understand from their perspective what they believe and why. Then I return to The Bible to determine how I feel about the subject.
So, this week, I’m going to take a page from the hit tv-show MythBusters, where they take various cases and scientifically prove or disprove a theory. Similarly, I’ll take five things that we hear about Christianity, and we can look to The Truth (the scripture) to find out if it’s Myth or Real.