“…they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11b
It’s very easy to be encouraged in my faith by speakers, songs, writers, or a variety of other methods. People who are strong in their faith and gifted in certain ways can always pass on knowledge and encouragement. I usually don’t test them the way that the people in Berea did to Paul. I take them at their word because if it encourages me, I just like that aspect of it.
I think there are two main reasons you should be testing the things that others are teaching. The first is the obvious: to make sure it is actually true. Now I don’t believe that anyone involved in ministry would purposely mislead anyone, but the Bible can be interpreted differently by different people. In James, it says that “to he who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him that is sin.” I read that as meaning what’s sin to me might not be sin to you with certain things. That is simply how I interpret it though. You might interpret it differently, but you should be studying the Bible to find your truth from there. Finding truth purely from other people will eventually let you down. God will teach you through the Bible, and He will show you the truth that you need in your own life. You can’t find that if you aren’t testing the truth others are teaching by examining God’s Word.
The second reason to test others is similar to the first: it’s just so you can get into the Bible and study it. When people teach, they teach well when they know the material. The Bible can be a daunting book. If you never open it, you will never know where to start when needing to find truth. If you study the Bible regularly, you will at least have a general idea on the truth God speaks in it. You will know better where to search when testing what others say.
People can always make things sound good, true, and accurate. It can sound encouraging and honest. The best place to learn truth from though, is God. He wrote a very long love letter to you for that purpose. So that you could see the truth in how much He loves you. The Bible is there for you to find truth, whether it’s to test others or to simply find out for yourself. God is ready to answer any question you have, and He is ready to spend time with you today.