When Doubt is Good

Genesis 3:1-6–Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Acts 17:11-12—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. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

John 20:24-29—But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

            In Gen. 3, the serpent plants the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind by questioning what God said.  He also lied to her.  When I’ve heard preachers preach on this, they make it sound as if no one should ever doubt what they say, since they’re putting forth God’s Word.  Oops!  Can’t they be wrong?  Why should you or I believe everything they say?  What if they’re misinterpreting God’s Word?  Shouldn’t we doubt the preacher just enough to check out God’s Word for ourselves?

But what about cults?  They can’t be correctly interpreting God’s Word, can they?  Many cults win people over by causing doubt and questioning conventional Bible teaching, then they substitute their version of the truth with convincing authority.  Yet, they’re not always wrong.  It’s often a grain of truth that draws people in.  Discerning doubt is an asset when confronted by those who claim to have the truth.

            What about the proclamation from one Bible teacher who says doubt always leads to disobedience, as with Adam and Eve?  See what Luke wrote in Acts 17:11-12 about the Bereans.  They had enough doubt about what was preached that they checked out the Word of God for themselves, and many believed.  Look at the story of “Doubting Thomas” in John 20.  Yes, Jesus chastised him for his “seeing is believing” attitude, but Thomas didn’t remain a doubter.  The message?  Believe God’s Word above all.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Study, Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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