My Thoughts . . .
There are two passages in the New Testament that most students are familiar with. One is Jesus correcting some who are teaching other what they believe is truth when it is not.
“Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down” (Mark 7:13).
The other is from Paul to Timothy,
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
In Mark 7:13 Jesus is speaking to folks who are children of God under the first covenant that he and they are living under (Old Testament). What they have handed down (taught) to others is tradition rather than a “thus saith the Lord.” Those who received that teaching apparently accepted it as truth. They may have been honest and sincere in that reception, yet it was only man-made tradition.
The second passage is from Paul to Timothy. Timothy’s faith is built upon what his mother and grandmother have taught him. Since Paul mentions the “faith” instilled in Timothy by his mother and grandmother, we understand the origin of that teaching is the scriptures they have read, believed, and taught.
The common theme in both is that one person teaches another what he comes to believe. He believes it because he trusts his teacher. He believes his teacher will impart nothing but the truth to him. That view causes him to believe that his faith is based upon the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If he is guilty of rejecting what he has been taught, he believes he is guilty of rejecting God’s word. That student may be so trustful of his teacher that he rarely thinks, “I really ought to learn what I believe and why.” However, accepting another person’s teaching means that basically “our faith is someone else’s faith.” Although that may not be wrong, one should believe because he has done his own research.
The Samaritan woman believed Jesus was the Messiah which both Jews and Samaritans were expecting. She went back to her town and told people what she had observed. Some believed her report. Others wanted to make sure her story was correct (John 4:28-30, 39-41). One is not denying God’s Spirit by wanting to check out another person’s testimony. Keep in mind that all twelve apostles were with Jesus for three years or more, yet they continued to misunderstand his mission. Truth was given multiple times and they missed it. Even before Jesus ascended back to the Father they asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Sadly people are still looking for that specific kind of kingdom.
Jesus told his disciples, “Take heed WHAT you hear” (Mark 4:24). Luke records Jesus warning, “Take heed therefore HOW you hear” (Luke 8:18). He also stated, “Take heed that you be NOT DECEIVED” (Luke 21: 8). Just because someone tells you the Bible states something, you need to check it out for yourself. Even the devil quoted scripture to Jesus (Matthew 4:6). You might be surprised at the number of people who believe scripture teaches that “every tub sits upon its own bottom” and that Saul “fell off his horse.”