Wise Men & Fruit
Here are two questions that I would like for you to answer. 1. How many wise men came to visit Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem? 2. What kind of fruit did Adam and Eve eat when they sinned in the garden?
Most would probably say that three wise men came to visit Jesus. They might feel certain that the Bible says there were three. However, Matthew 2:1 says “wise men” came. It does not say, nor are we told elsewhere, how many came. We can be sure that there was more than one, since it says “men,” but we do not know how many more than one there were. Some assume that because there were three gifts (Mt. 2:11) that there were three men. Yet two or four could have brought three gifts.
To the second question, most people would probably answer “an apple.” They may feel confident that the Bible says that Adam and Eve ate an apple when they sinned. The Bible (Gen. 2:17) calls the tree “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” The Bible, however, never says that the fruit was an apple. Thus, we do not know what kind of fruit it was. (As a side note, it has been said that it wasn’t an apple, it was the “pair” on the ground.)
These two illustrations show us that it is very possible for one to strongly believe that some idea is found in the Bible, yet that idea or concept may not really be there. A person may have been told that a particular fact is found in the Bible and may have heard for years that it was there, but a careful examination would show that it is not found there at all. Consider some other teachings that many people believe are found in the Bible but, in actuality, are not.
1. Infant Baptism- There are some who believe the Bible teaches that infants should be baptized. However, the Bible does not teach infant baptism but instead, it teaches that candidates for baptism are to be penitent believers (note Acts 2:38, 8:12, 18:8).
2. Baptism Can Be Sprinkling– There are others who might be certain that the Bible says that baptism can be administered by sprinkling or that it can be done by either sprinkling or immersion. Again, this is not found in the Bible. The Bible teaches, instead, that baptism is immersion. It is to be a BURIAL in water (Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12).
3. Faith Only Can Save– There are many who believe the Bible teaches that we are saved by “faith only.” The Bible does not teach this. Instead, it specifically says that we are not saved by faith only (James 2:24).
4. It Does Not Matter How We Worship God. Some believe the Bible teaches that it does not matter how one worships God, as long as the person is sincere. However, the Bible does not teach this. It teaches, in contrast, that worship must be in truth (Jn. 4:24) and that it is possible to worship God in a vain manner (Mt. 15:8-9).
We need to make sure that what we believe is actually found in God’s Word. We cannot assume that something is found in the Scriptures just because we have always heard that it is there or just because someone says that it is found there. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived. Instead, we must search the Scriptures daily and prove “whether those things are so” (Acts 17:11).