By Leonard Lauriault
In science and history, we often draw inaccurate conclusions because we don’t have all the facts, or, sometimes, because the facts have been misrepresented.
Coming to the wrong conclusions can happen with math as well. If we haven’t studied the techniques to solve difficult problems correctly, in the end, the answer will be wrong.
Math is an exact science such that two plus two will always equal only four. Math also is a universal science: What will nearly any two-year-old do when asked how old they are? Stick up two fingers!! They’re honest in their answer and communicate it in a simple understandable way without regard to written or spoken language barriers.
While deriving the wrong answer in math, or even science or history, usually won’t be of great consequence, inaccurate information in any realm can have devastating effects at times.
I was . . . shocked, recently, while reading my Bible, of all things. When I turned to a map at the back entitled, “The Exodus and Conquest of Canaan,” to see where a town was located, I saw a line on that map labeled, “Probable route of wandering in the Sinai.” The line started at the city of Ramses, going to Succoth (Exodus 12: 37), then heading slightly to the southeast into the Sinai Peninsula, without ever crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 13: 20-14: 31).
(Sometimes I get distracted, but usually I get back on track, like this time when I found the town I was looking for and continued with my reading. Still, a seed was sown regarding the significance of that line.)
While we don’t know exactly where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, any probable route should include a crossing because God said it happened.
Now, to those who consider this a small matter: How much confusion can be caused in class if teacher and student alike simply take the word of, or follow the example of, an “expert” (who happens to be incorrect), without verifying it against the word of God (Acts 17: 11)? Even honest seekers can be led astray by what a sincere teacher says or does without a strong scriptural foundation (Galatians 2: 11-13; 1 Corinthians 10: 32-11: 1).
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that even some Bible “scholars” today aren’t studying their Bible well enough to get the most basic facts straight. Whether the inaccurate map in my Bible was intentional or an oversight, it’s symptomatic of the trend since the beginning to discredit God’s word (2 Timothy 4: 3; 2 Peter 2: 1-3; Genesis 3: 1-4).
Subtle deviations from the truth, such as omitting details or altering a word’s meaning, are nothing less than Satan’s tactic to cause us to question other things God said, possibly even causing us to miss out on our salvation (1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8; Hebrews 12: 15; 3: 12-14).
God’s word is accurate, understandable, and unchanging (Ephesians 3: 1-4; 1 Peter 1: 23-25). The Bible may not give us the answers to all our questions, but it does give us all the information we need to attain our salvation (2 Peter 1: 3-9; 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17; Colossians 2: 2-4). Questions not answered in the Bible don’t pertain to our salvation, but they’ll be answered at the right time (1 John 3: 2, 3; 1 Corinthians 12: 2-4; 1 Corinthians 4: 6).
Teachers are to present accurate information that’s valid for personal spiritual growth (James 3: 1; Matthew 18: 5-9; 1 Peter 4: 11; Ephesians 4; 11-16). Still, we’re responsible, as students, to not be misled by anyone or distracted by impertinent questions (2 Peter 3: 14-18; 1 Timothy 6: 20, 21; Colossians 2: 18-23).
There’s only one route to heaven and to miss that route is to miss heaven (Acts 4: 12; John 14: 6; Matthew 7: 13, 14).
Honestly comparing what you’re taught at church or in-home study groups with other Bible passages should be a regular component of your personal Bible study (1 Thessalonians 5: 19-22; 1 John 4: 1, 5, 6).
You also should learn what to do for the good of yourself and others when you hear something that’s incorrect (Acts 18: 24-26; Romans 16: 17-20, 25-27; 2 John : 8-11). Don’t question God, hold your teachers accountable!
Every New Year, many make resolutions to improve their lives. Why not resolve to save your life (2 Peter 1: 10, 11; Philippians 2: 11, 12; 3: 15, 16; 1 Timothy 4: 15, 16)?
Regular personal Bible study and application is the best self-preservation/self-improvement program of all time. Becoming like a child, you’ll enter the kingdom of heaven rather than be shocked by an unexpected outcome because you followed the wrong route (Matthew 18: 1-4; 19: 4; 7: 21-27; 1 Peter 2: 2, 3).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ.