While the illumination of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the only possible way to rightly understand and interpret the Bible, this should not be misunderstood to imply that we have no need of pastors, teachers and evangelists. According to the Apostle Paul, these gifted ones are gifts from God to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). Through them God can speak to us for our spiritual edification. However, no Christian should automatically conclude that everything a pastor, teacher or evangelist says is God speaking to them. Instead, he should check his spirit, as well as the Scripture, to make sure both bear witness to the words spoken by a pastor, teacher or evangelist.

The Bible teaches us in Acts 17:11 that the Christians in Berea “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.” In other words, the Bereans were always ready to hear a good sermon or lesson, but also never failed to check out what they heard with the Scripture, in order to make sure the sermon of the preacher or the lesson of the teacher was biblically sound.

Do you know whose preaching and teaching the noble Bereans were checking out with the Scripture? It was the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul. If the Bereans needed to check out the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul with the Scripture, to make sure Paul got it right, how much more do you need to check out the preaching of your pastor and the teaching of your Sunday School teacher, to make sure they are getting it right?