So Say the Experts

“They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.” (1Timothy 1:7, The Message)

smug know-it-allThe experts don’t always get it right. Sometimes their learning impedes their looking — that is, they cannot see past what they have been taught, because their opinions are set accordingly.

Job ran into this with his friends who came to comfort him, but only ending up condemning him for his unwillingness to submit to their opinions about what they thought caused his woes. “I’m sure you speak for all the experts,” he said, “and when you die there’ll be no one left to tell us how to live”(Job 12:2, The Message).

Jesus said, “Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God” (Matthew 23:9, The Message). That’s exactly what Job was doing, and we should do the same today. And we have plenty of opportunities to do so, for there is never a shortage in our world of people ready to express their religious opinions.

There will always be people who are quick to tell you that you are wrong, and to criticize your every word and move. Their expertise in matters of doctrine and duty somehow compel them to correct you even when they have no real right to do so. They neither know you, nor love you; and therefore transgress when they openly criticize you. The irony is that none are so blind to the error of this abhorrent behavior than those who are most guilty of it.

The experts don’t always get it right. After all, it was the builders who rejected the Cornerstone; it was the Authorities in Law and Prophecy who were the very ones that completely missed the Messiah! And today, sometimes those who know most about the Bible seem to know least about what it means to actually live according to its teachings. The celebrated preacher of Westminster Chapel, G. Campbell Morgan, said, “It is possible to be biblically correct, doctrinally pure, theologically sound, morally impeccable, and spiritually useless!”

Oh may such a thing never be true of you, nor me!

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