The Ultimate Authority
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Acts 16
A man from Macedonia had said, "Come over and help us." God had in mind a seller of purple, an exploited slave girl, and a rugged, brutal Roman jailer. When you travel as God would have you travel, like Paul, you're sensitive to doors that open and at peace with doors that close.
Later, Paul appealed to Rome. Upon discovering he had tortured Roman citizens, the ruling magistrate shook with fear. Realizing he had illegally acted against these two men, the official begged Paul and Silas to leave Philippi to avoid further civil unrest.
The consummate church founder forged ahead, flanked by the faithful companionship of his co-workers. Next stop: Thessalonica. Paul, in keeping with his MO, returned to his preferred place to start, in the synagogue. Many believed, including a large number of Greek men and influential women. That was sufficient to stir jealousy among the Jewish leaders to the point that Paul and his team were forced to escape under the cloak of darkness (17:10).
From there, they entered Berea and again preached in the local synagogue. A more sophisticated crowd than the folks in Thessalonica, the Bereans' eagerness led them to examine "the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (17:11).
I can't pass up this opportunity to say what a fine example they were to emulate. No matter how gifted or charismatic or well-trained and experienced your Bible teacher or pastor may be, form the healthy habit of checking what is being said against the Scriptures.
Architects and construction people use precise measurement to ensure a precise result. They don't go by how they feel. Both carefully mark their work by inches and by feet. Not even seasoned builders rely on guesses and hunches. They stay with the standard. The Scriptures are your measuring tool for making sure the teaching you receive is straight and true. Keep comparing.
As you grow in your spiritual life, the triangles need to be congruent between what's being said and what has been written in the Bible. If you can't support it with the Scriptures, there's something missing in the teaching. Don't believe the teacher. If he or she contradicts the divine standard, you're building on sand. Stay with the Scriptures. They remain your ultimate authority for faith and life.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.