“Some things in [Paul’s] letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” –2 Peter 3:16-18
Yet we must approach this exercise of community seeking with great caution. For if we affix our attention upon the person and his words rather than the light of scripture and the diamond it illuminates, we will be “led astray” (2Co 11:3; Gal 2:13). Our intellect may grow, but so will our pride (1Co 8:1). And once men congregate under a prideful tower, God’s opposition is certain (Gen 11:3-8). We will have moved no closer to Christ, nor flourish in fruitfulness (John 15:5-8).
The only thing another man can offer us is perspective, an invitation to stand where he is and gaze upon an arresting facet that we have scarcely considered.
Paul Washer made this observation: “If I have two men with the exact same theology and the exact same doctrine, and one got it from scripture and the other from good books, I’m going to be able to tell the difference when I talk to them. There is no substitute for scripture.”
Therefore, let us seek to grow, not in intellectual knowledge of a book, but in the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Be humble (Phi 2:3) and quick to listen to the perspectives of others (Jam 1:19). But remain focused on the diamond, listening to the Spirit for truth on all things (John 16:13).