In order to confirm the validity of prophesyings (any kind of teaching by supernatural gifts) in the first century church, the apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonian Christians to “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 – NKJV).
Christianity Based On Confirmed Truth
Christianity is not a religion for the gullible. It appeals to man’s intellect and ability to understand right from wrong. God has never expected man to accept any statement at face value (Acts 17:11). From the beginning, He confirmed His superiority and the truth of His word with signs, wonders, and miracles (cf. Exodus 3:1-6; Exodus 4:19; Hebrews 2:3-4). Thus, we know the Bible to be true.
Examination Of Evidence
Paul commands us to “test all things.” We are not to receive the words of others without discernment. We must examine that which is presented to us. In reference to teachers, John said, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). No man or group of men is above examination (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). It matters not how long a belief has been held, how pious a man appears, or with what vehemence a thing is declared. What matters is whether or not it agrees with God's word, the truth (John 17:17).
Reject False Teaching
Furthermore, we are to “hold fast what is good.” That which does not agree with the gospel is to be rejected, along with the teacher who promotes it (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9-11). This is true regardless of the popularity of the doctrine or man. On the other hand, all things in agreement with God’s word are to be received. In fact, it is the obligation of each man to accept the truth. Honesty demands it, even if we must give our life (Rev. 2:10).
Some professed believers in Christ are too lazy to “test all things,” and too irresolute to “hold fast what is good.” Others are worried about the “trouble” testing will cause, or the dogmatism with which they will be accused by holding fast. Instead of being concerned with honoring God and knowing the truth, they are concerned about offending man. All such men are a shame to the Lord and His church. When enough people adopt these attitudes, truth suffers and souls are lost. Therefore, let us not be of that number!
Do you test all things? Do you compare what your preacher or teacher says with what the Bible teaches (Acts 17:11)? If not, why not? Do you hold fast what is good? Are you willing to cling to the truth no matter what others may say or do? If not, why not?
Brethren, let’s not be gullible or lazy. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” Accept God’s truth and reject error, lest you be condemned by God (cf. Isaiah 8:19-22).