It is a great question. In fact, it is a question that I asked while studying the possible background influences on the letter to the Galatians. Hans Dieter Betz suggested that Paul used Greek rhetoric to form his letter to the church in Galatia. In doing so, Paul writes a letter of self-apology in order to defend himself in a type of law court. Betz’s proposal shapes the way a person interprets the entire letter. But how do we really know that this is the case? How do we know that Paul intentionally or even unintentionally used Greek rhetoric in writing his letter? It makes sense but so do other possibilities. Now, let us take this question into the pulpits and pews. How do we know that a certain teaching is true when it claims to be a new way of thinking or belief?
Kevin DeYoung has some wise counsel about being truth seekers. He gives seven cautions about new teachings or connections.
- 1. Be wary of anyone who claims to have uncovered the real meaning from the Greek or Hebrew.
2. Ask yourself, “how do I know this is so?”
3. Beware of parallelomania!
4. Be careful not to overcompensate.
5. Be concerned when you start to feel like you can’t possibly understand the Bible without multiple degrees.
6. Be extremely cautious when using Jewish sources.
7. Realize that we all make mistakes.
You can read the rest of Kevin’s post for further explanation of each point. May we test everything against the infallible Word of God.