Don’t just assume! Think it through!

It’s funny how we seldom question our assumptions. I once read of this trick: Challenge your friend to button up his shirt in only 15 seconds. If he takes up your challenge, chances are he will quickly button the top button, and then swiftly finish off the others, right down to the last with seconds to spare. You will ruin his triumphant smile, however, when you announce, “I’m sorry, but you lose. You buttoned down your shirt; I wanted you to button it up!”

Do we approach the Bible with unquestioned assumptions? Surely we do. Many of these assumptions we inherited from from one spiritual ancestor or another. They taught us either to respect the Bible as God’s Word or to treat it flippantly with no more legitimate claims on our allegiance as Paradise Lost or Canterbury Tales. Either way we have to question those assumptions enough to judge the claims of Scripture on their own merits.

Each one of us must decide, Is the Bible truly what it claims to be—-God’s Message to humankind? Are its claims about Jesus true? Is this first-century character truly the once-for-all Savior who will return some day to judge the quick and the dead?

As Jim Woodroof points out in his book, Between the Rock and a Hard Place, we face a dilemma when it comes to Jesus. The “rock” is the audacious claims He made, such as: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” The “hard place” is the undeniable truth that Jesus was obviously a very good man—unselfish, kind, unswervingly devoted to God.

Like two jaws of a vice, the “rock” and the “hard place,” repeated constantly throughout John squeeze us into admitting that we know of no other way of reconciling the two except to take Jesus’ claims as true.

He is the unique Son of God. He is the Savior of the World. He has earned the right to be Lord of our lives. But this should not be an unexamined assumption, but a thought-through conclusion unassailable enough to stake one’s entire life on.

—Steve Singleton