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The Nobility of Searching the Scriptures

Michael Beck Michael Beck

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

I grew up in the Catholic church. I took comfort in that my church was the oldest and most venerable of all, stretching all the way back to Peter, the first pope, to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom, calling him the Rock, upon whom He would build His church. I did not understand many things, but those things were called the mysteries of the faith, which I was to piously accept apart from understanding, (according to Augustine’s dictum that faith must precede reason.) I was told that, over the course of the centuries, holy men and women, the fathers, the doctors, the saints, the councils of the church had grappled with all the issues and who was “little old me” to think that I was wiser than all these. “Don’t trouble yourself,” was the word. “Don’t over think things. The lines have fallen for you in pleasant places, you have a goodly heritage. In simple childlike faith, believe what we tell you. There is safety in our numbers, there is safety in our antiquity, there is safety in all that our holy men have done over the course of the centuries to figure things out and deliver to you a most holy faith.” I believed this.

I discovered many things that I was taught and had believed, that were not in keeping with a Bible I was now finally reading for myself.

Until I became born again.

Then it was that I started to question the tradition that was handed down to me as a Catholic. I discovered many things that I was taught and had believed, that were not in keeping with a Bible I was now finally reading for myself. I had broken free from that fear which was inbred in me from a child that only by remaining true to the Catholic church and its teaching could I be saved. The Bible then became my sole guide.

Or did it?

What I have subsequently discovered is that much of Protestantism has its own unbiblical errors in it. I have spent the better part of thirty five years having to recover from and purge out many of the errors I received as an evangelical/pentecostal Christian. This is not to say that all of it was wrong (any more than to say that all of Catholicism was wrong.) But, having broken free from the fear that I could not interpret scripture apart from the magisterium of the Catholic church, I am not about to submit to a magisterium within one branch or another of the Protestant church.

I don’t care how many big names and successful people and great and holy historical figures believed anything. They could have been wrong.

So, to my last breath, I desire God’s Word to be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I was deceived once, I don’t intend on being deceived again. I will not stop holding up every single doctrine that I hear taught in the Body of Christ to the whole counsel of the Word of God. I will be very wary of any belief system within Christianity which in its inception had any league with pagan/philosophical constructs. I will not be shut up and be told to respect my elders when that means receiving a tradition of men that they never shook free from. I don’t care how many big names and successful people and great and holy historical figures believed anything. They could have been wrong. I have pored over the writings of the church fathers and the reformers and know them inside and out. I cannot dialogue with dead men. But I am willing to have an open conversation with anyone who believes anything in this day. I am willing to be wrong about anything I currently believe in, when I can be proven wrong by scripture, not by hardened dogma.

I am willing to be wrong about anything I currently believe in, when I can be proven wrong by scripture, not by hardened dogma.

I pray that men who are of a more noble sort will be willing to search the scriptures in this day, to see whether the things which have been handed down to us have truly come from the Word of God.


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.