True or False
I remember sitting in my Principles of Biblical Interpretations class in college. Dr. Lanpher, being true to form, began his Monday morning class as he did all of his Monday morning classes…with a single question pop quiz. Each quiz was based off of the assigned reading from the previous class. In this case the one question pop quiz consisted of…“True of False…The Bible contains the actual words of Jesus.”
Score! This was a no brainer! The answer was so simple…of course it was true…it had to be true. Just then, it occurred to me…it seemed too simple. The question lingered with the rotten odor of the answer seems to obvious smell. The confidence I held just a moment ago began to ebb away as I began to ponder the possibility…could it be false? “It must be false!,” I concluded, “Why else would he as the question THAT way?”
Yet, It had to be true. The Bible is the Word of God…and the words of Jesus are in the Bible…“It must be true,” I countered to myself.
“Put your one word answer on your paper…PLEASE ensure that your name is clearly printed on your paper and turn it in.”
“Wait!” Several students exclaimed from around the room, “I’m not finished!”
“What is so difficult?” Dr. Lanpher asked. “It is either True or it is False…write one word on your paper and turn it in.”
Oh! How I wished that I had read the chapter! My pen shook as I sat there…believing that he wanted each student to write “false” on their paper and turn it in. But I couldn’t do it!! It went against everything I have believed and held onto when it came to the inherency of scripture. I…I…I wrote TRUE on my paper and turned it in.”
After the quiz papers had been collected, Dr. Lanpher asked, “All right students…what is the answer.”
Nearly the entire class echoed together with a resounding, “True!”
“False,” He said.
“What! How can that be?,” several students rebutted.
Dr. Lanpher replied, “The New Testament was written in Greek…and Jesus spoke Aramaic…it is impossible for the Bible to contain the exact words of Jesus.”
“THAT IS A TRICK QUESTION!” Shouted my Hmong friend Vu Yang.
“This is college Vu.” was Dr. Lanpher’s curt response.
It strikes me as interesting, as to how I was holding to a belief that was not as substantiated as I had previously thought. Did the Gospel message change? NO! Did the inherency of scripture change? Absolutely NOT! It was I who was deceived…by…myself. The message of Christ hadn’t changed…just what I “thought” that I knew about it. What I believe is not what truly matters. What is TRUE is what really matters. Yet, we often believe things that are not true.
It is so easy for humans to be deceived and to deceive ourselves.
Paul challenges us to be careful of this very thing…self deception. As we have read the book of Galatians we have found that Jews had been deceived. False teachers had been deceived…and were deceiving others. Gentile believers had been deceived. Paul challenges every believer to NOT be deceived.
If humans are so easily deceived…how can we avoid it? I think that we can find the answer in Galatians 6:14, where Paul says, “May I never boast in anything…but in the Cross of Christ.” I think that is it. We can easily be deceived into believing in and boasting about every kind of crazy thing in life. But, if we can keep the Cross of Christ before us…and boast in that, then I think we can learn to trust the Spirit to guide us into all truth. Let us therefore keep our eyes on Christ and the Cross, so as to not be deceived.