Historians like to have their facts straight. Once all those ducks are in order, they feel comfortable in proceeding to logical and "correct" conclusions. The same sort of criteria should apply to our study of the Bible, and especially to our leadership of others in such study.
On Friday in one of my weekly Woman to Woman sessions, I presented some material with a historical quotation by Dr. Martin Luther, which was difficult for many of the group members to stomach. The exact nature of the quotation doesn't matter, but what does matter is the fact that these women questioned Luther on the basis of what was written in Scripture.
Though I had a good idea of what Luther meant in the quotation (through Lutheran eyes of course) my explanation sounded lame, and I had to agree that for our day and age, what Luther wrote in this instance could be better said with different words for today's population. Those different words would serve the purpose of making it clear that Luther is in agreement with the Bible, not opposed to it. Of course we don't want to put words in Luther's mouth, or more literally, at the end of his pen. But we do always want to go back to the Bible as our primary source for Christian teaching.
What really delighted me is that these women, many of them non-Lutherans, have learned that it was good and right to discern correct teaching only by going straight back to the Bible itself. I praised them for this, and reminded them that if anyone, including myself, ever taught them anything different from what the Bible says, that they are to question that teaching and take the teacher to task. My prayer is that they will continue to engage in such faithful listening, where their hearts take note of and discern all doctrine in light of God's Word.