THE HOLY SPIRIT: Why is it that today's believer thinks he is so much smarter than those believers of Jesus' day? My first response to that question is: today we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to teach us and remind us of the teachings of Jesus (Jn. 14:26). However, when given time to think about it, I find that the Apostles, who were filled with the Holy Spirit, were still capable of huge error when it came to doctrine. For years, from the time of Pentecost's indwelling (Acts 2:1-5), until the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-22), the Church still believed that one had to become a Jew before he could be saved.
THE NEW TESTAMENT: Of course, today, born again believers also have the New Testament, right? And yet, if having the Holy Spirit within us, and a copy of the New Testament were enough, then why is it necessary for God to provide the Church with evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11)? And even with these gifted believers to teach us, why does it say that we are to be workmen "that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15)? It is obvious that we, as individual believers, need to be able to discern which evangelists, pastors, and teachers are teaching the truth (Acts 17:11). The Apostle Paul admonished us prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thes. 5:21).
DILIGENT STUDY: So what does it mean "to prove all things?" Well, we first need to listen to what is being taught with an open mind, and then, like the Bereans, go home and verify what is being taught by the Word of God. And there is the rub! Those of us who grew up in some denominational church, have been "brainwashed" into believing our understanding of truth is correct and all others are wrong. Our study often results in our own private interpretation of the truth (2 Pet. 1:20).
Even with the Holy Spirit, the New Testament, and dedicated study,
a private interpretation of truth will always result in arrogance!