Thinking Biblically

“It is painful to observe how many embrace anything if it be but earnestly brought before them. They swallow the medicine of every spiritual quack who has enough of braze assurance to appear to be sincere. Be ye not such children in understanding, but test carefully before you accept. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the faculty of discerning…”

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 219

The work of thinking rightly as a Christian is one that is vital for our spiritual health. While it might sound academic in some way, this practice is actually one of the most basic tenets of the Christian life. Thinking biblically simply means that we must allow our perspective on the world around us to be rooted in God’s Word. At a very basic level this implies that every fact we encounter throughout our day is fundamentally God’s fact. However the world might attempt to interpret that fact, the Christian rooted in the Word of God and filled by the Holy Spirit, refuses to accept any interpretation but that which bursts forth from God’s Word.

This is not only the case on that which we might consider “spiritual” issues. For the Christian we recognize that there is no distinction in the Christian life between “spiritual” issues and “worldly” issues. The whole of our life, from our careers to our homes, from archaeology to political history, from math to movies, has been subjected in full to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

One of the great challenges presented to Christians today is the constant bombardment of worldly interpretations of the facts. We live in a day of minute by minute headline news reporting and of a vision for our life shaped by social media snippets. All of this is an attempt by the world around us to interpret the facts on our behalf, to try to inform us of what it all means and to paint a picture of how the world ought to be. But these messages are deceitful.

Cornelius Van Til in his book Christian Apologetics describes the problem we face by looking at Adam and Eve in the Garden. God placed them in the garden not just with facts, but with the proper interpretation of those facts. The facts were that there was a tree in the center of the garden that they were forbidden from eating. And the proper interpretation of that fact was that if they ate of that particular tree they would die. When the serpent (overcome by Satan) came along, a new worldly interpretation of the facts was offered. The serpent agreed to the fact that indeed there was a tree in the middle of the garden. His interpretation of that fact disagreed with God though. He believed the forbidden tree was good for food and would make them wise like God. Here is where Adam and Eve’s mistake overlaps with the one we so often make. Upon hearing this new and interesting interpretation (false and demonic as it was!) they took of the fruit of the tree and ate. As it turns out, God was right and the serpent was lying.

There is no area of our life that is disconnected from God’s domain. Therefore there is no fact of our life or of this world that God does not own the proper interpretation of. Do not be quick to claim an interpretation of the facts given to you by anybody else, no matter how good it sounds or how beautiful the fruit looks. Be discerning for the serpent we face is cunning.

“The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.”

“Every fact in this world, the God of the Bible claims, has His stamp indelibly engraved upon it.”

― Cornelius Van Til

The next time you scroll through Headline news articles consider how God’s revelation speaks into and shapes the messages that you receive. The next time you read a book or watch a movie, filter the ideas and the themes and the presented facts through God’s Word and ask, “How does my understanding of the nature and character of God and his purpose over creation shape how I understand this message?” The next time you open Twitter or Facebook or Instagram ask yourself what the message being shared actually means and what Scripture reveals about that message. Let God’s interpretation of the world around you become the lens by which you interpret everything.

This might sound like an overwhelming exercise, but frankly it must become normal Christian living. It is a slow journey to learn to think Christianly. But it is worth the effort.

Written by Raef Chenery

I'm a pastor in Chicago at Park Community Church - South Loop. I'm a husband to my beautiful wife Sara and a dad to three sweet girls, Ruth, Joy, and Mira. I'm blessed to be surrounded by a number of men and women who love to think about the ways that our faith interacts with our culture. This blog is as much for me to get my thoughts in order, as it is for those who might benefit from it and engage in the conversations as well. I would love to get your feedback through the comments on each post.

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