What Do They Mean When They Say _________?
Part two of the blog series: How to Read with Discernment
Read part one: 5 Reasons to Test What You Read
There’s a Mormon in the pulpit talking about the Trinity! What???
I recently attended a funeral service where the person giving the eulogy began reading from the Bible. He made mention to the plan of salvation and so forth. Then—to the great shock of everyone—he pulled out a second book. He began to read from the Book of Mormon. Specifically, he made reference to the Holy Trinity. Now, if you know much about the Mormon faith, you know that they don’t believe that Jesus was God. Rather they teach that he only became a god. They expressly deny the orthodox teaching of the Trinity. This man used a familiar phrase in order to deceive us into following his twisted form of the faith.
Words and phrases can mean a lot of things
What’s the point in saying this? Words and phrases can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Words and phrases like “God,” “grace,” “salvation”—and we can name plenty of other examples, are all used differently by different people. The danger of reading without discernment is that you can be lead astray by false teaching while thinking that the author is fine because he or she is using the right words. The problem is not the words they use but what they mean by them.
Question #1 — What do they mean when they say _________?
The first question to ask while you read is: “What do they mean when they say__________?” Never assume that an author has the same definition that you have when they use words like love, grace, faith, etc. As you ask this question, continually look to the context and content of the book to answer your question. For example, if they use the word “love,” does the content of the book that surrounds that word bear a biblical definition of love, or a worldly one? Asking this question of the books you read will take you far down the road of reading with discernment.