Time is one of our most precious commodities. Before we spend some of that time to read a book, watch a movie, or spend time in front of the television we need to do due diligence.
“Due Diligence” is most often used in a law or business setting. Merriam-Webster’s definition for law: the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property. The definition for business: research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction.
I think we should do nothing less than due diligence on the things with which we choose to fill our minds. Let me give you an example of this in regards to a book I am currently reading that attempts to put God and Old Testament violence in perspective. Recommended by a friend of a friend, I did some basic research online before I made the purchase. I read the reviews and read the author bio. Both of which sent up a few red flags but not enough to stop the purchase.
Whenever I read a book that is someone else’s opinion/interpretation of the Bible or God I pray over it. Asking God for wisdom, discernment and that no false teachings would take root. After reading the first chapter I did more research and talked to someone who has taught Bible classes at the college level. Which sent up yet more red flags. Which brought me to a morning of online research on this author, his beliefs and the whole controversy surrounding his teachings.
On information overload (and with a pounding headache) I reached out to my oldest daughter over text. As a senior biblical archaeology major she has taken a lot of classes on hermeneutics (biblical interpretation) and the Ancient Near East. Her response felt like it was God himself speaking directly to me. Our text conversation with her permission:
Her: Fair enough. The Old Testament can be quite disturbing at times. Though I’ve found cultural context and the chorus of scripture deeply helpful to that question personally.
Me: Define “chorus of scripture.” Do you mean looking at the whole Bible together?
Her: Yes. And noticing all the times in the New Testament where God is “harsh” and all the times in the Old Testament where God is deeply loving and/or grieved by sin. Not to say that I totally get it, just that those are the things that have helped me on the question.
This little conversation over text with my daughter flooded my eyes with tears and heart with peace. I felt like it put my feet solidly back on firm ground. In the end I need to run back to God with my questions, fears and doubts. I need to dig deep into his Word and study the Bible with the Holly Spirit as my guide. And before I choose to invest my time and resources into a book by someone doing all of this for me I need to do due diligence.
Precious Father – Thank you that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16). Please grant me wisdom and discernment and my no false teachings take root. Amen