I love the closing words of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. He is so encouraging and filled with love as he gives them teaching and words of caution. In this section, Paul gives both the early church and believers today an exhortation to be discerning with teaching.
“ Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Notice the context here is within the Church. Paul is reminding believers not to simply receive everything taught, assuming it to be consistent with the gospel. Rather he reminds us to test everything, to listen carefully, to think critically about what is being taught and practiced. We cannot assume everything with a “Christian” title is truly upholding God’s Word as revealed through Jesus Christ. This is why it is critical that we bring our Bibles to church, come prepared to worship, and to always be actively engaged as students of the truth.
“Hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil”
Once we have tested, we should determine what is good or evil, true or false, beneficial or detrimental. The Bible is what we use to test, as we know that in its entirety it is good, true, and beneficial. If you sing or hear teaching that seems unsettling in your church, online, or on TV, I encourage you to search the Scriptures. Go to your husband with your questions and an open Bible to help clarify your understanding. Together seek the wisdom of your pastor or elder on a concern, again with an open Bible in order to seek the truth together. Once we discern what is false we are to completely avoid things that are contrary to the Word of God. Let us remain diligent in our study of Scripture, that with prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we may be equipped to test everything, hold fast what is good, and abstain from every form of evil.