“I have my own opinions about things in the Bible.”
This was a statement my daughter noted to me in a recent chat. At first this took me a bit by surprise. What did she mean by having her own opinion? Doesn’t she believe what the Bible says is true? Or is she perhaps merely stating that she is delving into the study of Scripture and forming an opinion based on her studies? At this stage in her life, I believe the answer is a bit of both as she is contemplating, as many of us have at one point in our life, the ramifications to all of life regarding the full and absolute acceptance of God’s Word as the source of truth.
The statement of having my own opinion about the Bible led me to ponder if having an opinion is necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it is vital to first provide the definition of the word opinion. Webster’s defines an opinion as “a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something; what someone thinks about a particular thing.” Thus, by its very definition, if we have an opinion, it is based on a set of beliefs. This means that an opinion cannot be just a passing fancy or a fleeting thought. Opinions are rooted in a belief system.
If someone declares they have an opinion about something, in particular matters of theology, the first point of discussion is defining the belief system upon which that opinion is founded. Each and every person has a belief system regardless of how well defined and developed it may be at the time a particular opinion or set of opinions has been formed. The belief system then informs the opinions that are made.
Is it wrong to have an opinion? Absolutely not. In my conversation with my daughter, I informed her I was quite pleased to see she was developing an opinion about Scripture. If anything, it demonstrated she is actively thinking through some important topics. As her father, it is of course an important duty of mine to help her understand the importance of constantly testing her opinions or the opinions of those she comes in contact with such as friends, family, and yes even the youth pastor and youth leaders against the rock solid foundation of truth found in Scripture.
If we stop having opinions about issues, in my humble opinion, we have moved into a lazy and somewhat dangerous place in our life. To some degree, if we stop forming opinions, we in essence have stopped caring with the result, in particular when it comes to matters of theology, we have ceased to grow in the faith as we have achieved a place of stagnation. With that said, opinions are like rear ends as they say meaning everyone has one. Opinions must be tested against the truth of Scripture. Those opinions that stand that test can be held onto while those that do not pass muster should be jettisoned or reformed based on what Scripture demands.
I think it is a great thing my daughter is forming some opinions and as a parent, I do not want to squash this important point in her life as she explores, assesses, and processes the facts of life as she begins to move into her teenage years. This is a formative time in her life. I want her to think logically, clearly, and fully about everything she hears, reads, or sees. The important issue as I have noted is to ensure as a parent, I am helping her understand where to look for the ultimate source of truth. Man has plenty of opinions about absolutely everything. God is the source of truth and it is the facts He provides in His Word that ultimately matter.
Do not stop forming opinions. There is nothing wrong with having a belief about something. Having an opinion ventures into shaky territory when we allow man’s finite opinions to trump the truth of Scripture. Always root your opinions and beliefs in the firm foundation of Scripture making sure to avoid the shifting sands of man’s opinions.
Opinions – we all have them and we should have them. It is what we do with them and the belief system they are founded upon which is of the utmost importance.