Bible Study

Which one is arrogant?

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).

You know the jibe that Churches of Christ think we are “the only ones” going to heaven. Perhaps we should begin with some humility. It’s not a question of the church of Christ being right. It’s a question of the Bible being right. We are right only to the degree that we teach Scripture.

We should be humble not just because it is bad manners to present a judgmental and arrogant face to the world, but because God demands that we be humble! Also, it helps our cause greatly if we can recognize the fallibility of the Bible student…and the infallibility of the Bible!

The Bible is God’s word. It is always right. But we who read the Bible are fallen, flawed human beings.

  • We urge other religious fellowships not to hang onto “traditions of men.” Do we?
  • We urge other religious fellowships not to succumb to the world’s agenda, and to go back to the Bible. Do we?
  • We warn against the tendency of some churches to follow the teachings of well known, influential men. Do we?

We have no immunity to error. No one inoculated us against biases, errors, and agendas. So what is the answer?

“Isn’t it arrogant,” someone says, “to say that we follow scripture, and scripture alone?”

Actually there is an attitude far more arrogant.

Do you know what that act of deepest arrogance might be?

It would be arrogant to say that we know what God is thinking without appealing to Scripture. It would be arrogant to speak for God without reading from Scripture. It would be arrogant to say, “God wouldn’t want this,” or “I don’t think God meant that” unless we got that from Scripture.

Listen, please, to what I am trying to say: An appeal to the Bible and the Bible alone is an act of contrition, of deepest humility. We are saying, by making this “Back to the Bible appeal,” that we respect what God says. That’s an act of humility, not arrogance!

I agree that we must be humble in our approach to Scripture, that we must always reevaluate our beliefs alongside scripture. My interpretation of Scripture may not be the same as Scripture! But the Bible is always right, and I don’t think there are many (correct) interpretations of the Bible. There is only the interpretation God intended it to have. In humility, therefore, let us submit to God’s right to tell us what he intends us to hear.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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2 thoughts on “Which one is arrogant?

  1. That’s one of the most needed articles I’ve read. We tell others when they ask us about our opinion that our opinion does not matter . . .what matters is what the Bible says! Then we often go on and give our opinion when they insist, and we mess up the opportunity. If the person we speak to rejects us, that is justifiable. If they reject the Bible after seeing what it says, the onus is on them Thanks for a great article.

  2. Excellent article! When someone asks what does the church of Christ teach on x, let us remember that the issue is not what do we commonly teach. The church can not authorize. The issue is what does the Bible say on x.

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