In a series of articles (001) (002) (003) (004), I have made a case for the need for people to use a different standard for decision making than one's own point of view. I have done this by appealing to the statement in Judges 21:25 that "In those days...everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (NASB). However, someone is likely to retort that it is impossible to get away from the reality that everyone always does what is right in his own eyes. This is a matter that needs some examination.
Let's begin by looking at the argument that a person cannot escape doing what is right in his own eyes. This argument runs something like this: in the final analysis, no matter where the information came from which guides the decision, the individual had to have passed some kind of judgment upon whether it was valid as information. Thus, even if the information comes from God in the Bible, the individual must see it as legitimate before he will act on it. Therefore, even if the instruction is found in the Bible, the individual who receives it is still doing what is right in his own eyes.
And then there is the even greater bug-a-boo that even if a person goes to the Bible to get his instructions, the words of the Bible must be interpreted by that person before he can determine what the instructions mean. Therefore, since the person is responsible for the interpretation, if he acts upon that interpretation, he is yet doing what is right in his own eyes.
And finally, even if a person simply accepts the interpretation of the church for a given Bible verse, he is still rendering a judgment that the church's interpretation ought to be accepted. Thus, he is still doing what is right in his own eyes.
All of these arguments could be set forth to deny what I have been trying to establish: that a person ought to be individually involved on a daily basis in studying the Bible to see what it is that he ought to be doing.
But, the question is: why would a person want to argue that we ought not to be personally involved in the daily study of the Word of God? What is the motivation for such a denial? Does the denial spring from a desire to escape the personal responsibility to study for oneself in order to know what is the will of God? Or, does the denial spring from a fear that if everyone is turned loose with the Bible, so many different interpretations will result that unity will be impossible? Or does the denial spring from a sense of despair (that God cannot make Himself known to those who really want to know Him)? What? Why are people reluctant to commit to a personal study of the Bible in order to know God?
Consider these statements taken from the Bible:
By anyone's interpretation these verses tell us to study the Bible ourselves.