If I had one wish for every Christian, it would be that they would read their Bible before developing their convictions.
Unfortunately, the structure of our faith communities usually works against this. We invite people to listen to a sermon or teacher before knowing what the Bible says. Granted, a preacher should walk us through what the Bible teaches first and foremost, but I know that is not always the case. The result is people having preconceived ideas before investigating what the Bible teaches.
Before developing your ideas about the end time, please read your Bible first.
Before you discuss creation and evolution, please read your Bible first.
Before you make statements about the necessity of the Church, read your Bible first.
Before you pronounce your convictions about faith – please, please read your Bible first.
I am not saying that reading the Bible will eliminate all our differences. There have been great people of faith who disagreed about what the Bible said.
If you have read it, then at least we can have an intelligent conversation about what the scriptures teach. I will gladly dialog with anyone who starts with the Bible as the authority for life. However, I cannot tolerate people who want to argue with me about something they heard another preacher or teacher say and have never read it for themselves.
Read your Bible first. Then draw some conclusions. Finally, listen to sermons, lessons, lectures, and podcasts. Read books, magazines, articles, and blogs. Good teachers are vital for the life of faith, but they are no replacement for actually reading your Bible.