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Some of the best memories I have from growing up involve working on cars with my dad. We didn't have much money so we had to repair our cars when they broke down. We would change the oil, give tune-ups, and occasionally, we would have to replace brake pads.
One particular car we worked on gave us a hard time. We were replacing the brake pads and since we have done this many times before on other cars, we were confident that we knew what to do. We took the wheel off, removed the brake assembly and began to push the caliper back. On other cars, all we needed was a "C-clamp" to force the caliper back in, but on this particular model, we could not get it to budge. We spent most of the night trying to force it before giving up and going to bed.
The next day arrived and my dad was working on the car when I got home. When I approached the car, I noticed that he already had the pads replaced. He told me that he did some research and found out that with this model, we have to use a ratchet to turn the caliper back into its original position.
If we would have read the instructions first, we would have saved ourselves hours of frustrating, unproductive work.
Unfortunately, many people have a similar approach with the Bible. We tend to rely on what we have already been taught instead of reading the text on our own. Sometimes, we don’t even read the text because we “trust” the person who taught us. This is what causes problems because there are times when even the best scholars can end up being wrong about their conclusions.
How many years went by before somebody challenged the idea that the world was flat?
If it wasn’t for people being brave enough to question the status quo, we would still be teaching that the world is flat, or the sun revolves around the earth, or the best way to cure a disease is to drain the blood so new healthy blood can replace the old contaminated blood.
When we read the Bible, it is important to remember that those who have taught us are human, and they are capable of being wrong. They might not be wrong, but we need to verify what was taught so we can be sure. I am not saying this to cast doubt on our favorite Sunday School teacher from many years ago. I am simply saying that if you read the Bible and you don’t understand it the way your teacher does, you need to dig in deeper and study the passage.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher and ask for a better explanation if needed. And above all else, remember that a good teacher will take the time to review the material in an effort to explain it better for the students.
Before all else fails, please read the instructions.