I was told by a Christian once that there was no need for teachers to tell people what to do. It was far more valuable for people to just sit around and discuss the Scriptures, giving their opinions on what the Bible was saying. I can think of nothing more harmful to yourself or another person that to blindly give your opinion about what the Word of God is saying. Here’s the deal: the Bible only says one thing. There are many different applications you can draw from the truths of Scripture. But there is only one truth, and that truth is not up for debate or change.
This is a growing trend in the church, although the concept has been around since the time of Christ. People think they can read something and then they know exactly what it means. This is not always the case. There are things in Scriptures that require a little more study than that. A brief perusal may not be enough to fully grasp the message that is being conveyed. Likewise, reading the same thing over and over doesn’t necessarily help. You need to dig deep in order to understand the Bible.
That’s the amazing thing about pastors. That’s why God has given us pastors, to study and convey the message of the Scriptures so that it is understandable to the common person. This doesn’t take away your responsibility to study on your own, but it does give you a place to start. God instituted the office of the pastor and that should not be taken lightly. Personally, I thank God on a daily basis for the pastor He has chosen to lead my church. He unashamedly preaches the Word of God in a way that makes me think and constantly reevaluate my life. Keeping me in check as I live a life for Christ. Not letting me get away with justifying sin with excuses.
Saying that you don’t need a pastor or teacher to talk at you is an ignorant and boastful statement. “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” (Hebrews 13:17 NLT)
Denying the fact that we are given spiritual leaders is disrespectful to them and to God who instituted their position. “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15 NLT) He gave them to us to teach us, to guide us, to look after our spiritual well-being. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11 NLT) God called pastors into their roles and that should not be taken lightly.
That being said, there is a danger with giving your opinion about the Bible. The danger is that your opinion may be wrong. God doesn’t care about your opinion, He cares about the truth, and what is truth has been written in the Bible for all to see. Your opinion about it, if contradictory to the Bible, is nothing less than blaspheme. Jesus doesn’t say He’s one of the ways or the partial truth. He is the only way and the only truth.
The danger of your own opinion may be that you will inadvertently lead someone away from the actual truth. “One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.” (Luke 17:1-2 NLT) Teaching the Word of God is a great responsibility and not one that should be taken lightly. I would not want to be the person who teaches something false from the Bible and leads others away from the real truth. “Dear brothers and sisters,not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1 NLT)
Don’t discount the teachings of your pastor! Don’t think that by simply reading the Word of God that you are an expert. And don’t think for one second that sitting in a circle and discussing your opinions about what a certain passage of Scripture means is anything less than a dangerous practice that can lead others astray and condemn you to a harsh judgement. It’s only through studying the Word that you can truly find the message that is intended for those who read it. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Only the truth of the Scriptures matter. Be careful that you only speak the truth and leave opinions out of the equation.