I am writing today about a specific book in the bible: The book of First Opinions. You know this book. It is nestled in the Holy Bible right in between Facts and Preachers. Facts is the book that is quoted by many people who start by saying, “I know for a FACT that the bible says …. (Insert phrase here).” The book of Preachers is the book that is often quoted as follows: “Well, I once heard a preacher say….(Insert phrase here). Both of these books are full of what people frequently think that the Bible might say. They are most often quoted by people who haven’t actually opened a bible in some time.
The Book of First Opinions is closely related to the Book of Facts and the Book of Preachers in that these three books can be in the Old Testament or New Testament, and sometimes occur in both at the same time. They are both the newest and oldest books in the Holy Bible at the same time, depending on whose purpose is to be suited. And they can be the most dangerous books in the entire bible.
Dangerous because they are based on sometimes faulty memories and misunderstood scripture that has not be consulted in a while. Dangerous because they have no citation to a particular scripture, but generalized quoting. And dangerous because unless one challenges these assumptions, the quoted information can be taken for fact.
Obviously, I am referring to books that don’t really exist, but sometimes they might as well. So how do we prevent ourselves from falling victim to mis-quoted scripture? We need to ask questions of people who are quoting the bible off their cuff: “Where, exactly can I find that in the bible?” is a question that will usually suffice. Most of the time when people mean well, but are not quoting actual scripture, they don’t remember the book or verse.
The most powerful thing that we can do is to read our bibles for ourselves, so that we know what it says and are not led astray by quotations from books of the bible that don’t exist. If someone does not like to read, many audio versions of the bible are available on MP3 players, CD’s and various other media.
Devotionals are available. And most churches offer bible studies for members and visitors. All of these, in tandem with prayer can prevent us from falling victim to these most dangerous books and keep us rooted in the true word of God.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins