After a fantastic and convicting conversation with the young adult group leader at my church, I’ve had a lot to mull over. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the Bible and its role in my life, and how I ought to approach it. Basically, I was told to be careful about the Christian blogs I read because they may offer ideas that are not based in scripture. I ought to be going to the Bible first when seeking to understand doctrine, then weighing the verses I read against what other Christians are saying before I embrace a particular doctrine.
That would be all well and good if scripture were always clear. But it’s literature, and so of course there are many layers and complexities and meanings to its holy words. And the blogs I read help me make sense of those words and offer a layer of human understanding that in some instances infuses these well-loved verses with a meaning and a perspective I could never have found on my own.
I have realized something, however. I have realized that I do rely on the blogs too much. In fact they are drowning out my own voice, and when I debate controversial topics with people, it isn’t my own ideas that I am expressing, but rather someone else’s. I think, perhaps, that I rely on the voices of others on the internet because I feel as though I can’t defend my ideas without them. Like I’m not smart enough or something like that, so I have to look up sound, compelling evidence that I am right.
And…I think there might be a thread of truth to the idea that I allow the blogs to color how I read scripture. I guess I’ve just come to realize that, at least when it comes to believing certain doctrines, sola scriptura isn’t enough. Listening to the ideas of my contemporaries—both on blogs and fellow believers at my church—is very important. And so is listening to church tradition, intellectually sound reasoning and the nudgings of my own heart. But reading scripture to figure out doctrine is also different from reading scripture with a spirit that is seeking to learn how to be more like Jesus.
So I’m going to try to focus on tempering my blog-reading time and spend more time in the Word with a teachable spirit that does not ignore the ideas I read on the web, but also does not elevate them to a position they shouldn’t hold either. Because, let’s face it—when it comes down to it, the Bible has a lot more to teach me than the blogs do.