When faithful Christians discuss the Bible with their loved ones, friends, co-workers, etc, they are often faced with the following response, “Well, that’s just your opinion.” In the entire record of Jesus’ ministry, we never see that response given to our Lord. Even when dealing with the devil, the devil never offered that lame excuse at Jesus’ feet.
Consider also how the latter part of Jesus’ ministry was marked by controversy. That is, there seemed to be a continuous barrage of questions about the law, authority, etc. In Matthew 19:1-9 the Pharisees challenged Jesus concerning the Divine law of divorce and remarriage. Jesus responded by going back to Eden and God’s original plan. When he did so, none of his detractors said, “Well, that’s just your opinion.” In Matthew 19:16-22, the rich young ruler asked Jesus what to do to inherit eternal life. When Jesus gave his final exhortation (v 21), the young man did not reply, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”
Finally, (though other instances could be recalled), in Matthew 22:23-33 when the Sadducees sought to entangle Jesus with their question about the Levirate law, Jesus quoted from Exodus 3:6 and refuted their argument. They did not respond with, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”
So, you ask, what does all this mean? I believe there are several conclusions we can draw.
There is a proper way to use scripture.
Had Jesus misused the Scripture, his conclusions wouldn’t be his opinions, but false doctrine. This is why Jesus never said, “Well, that’s just your opinion” to those who contended with him. When the devil misused Psalm 91:11-12, Jesus immediately corrected him by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, a passage that could not be reconciled with the devil’s usage of Psalm 91. Also, when the Sadducees presented their Levirate conundrum, (which was founded in scripture, cf Deut 25:5-10) Jesus responded by saying, “Do you not therefore err, because you know not the scriptures neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24). He concluded saying “you therefore do greatly err” (v 27).
A proper use of scripture cannot be refuted.
A person may argue, protest, even get angry, but all such reactions are vain. People who do not want to accept the truth ought to at least emulate the example of the Sadducees, for after Jesus corrected their flawed argument, Matthew 22:34 says the Lord “put the Sadducees to silence.” After this, the Pharisees decided to give it one more shot (Matt 22:34-45). Jesus responded to their error with a precise use of scripture, then followed that with a pointed question about the scripture pointing to the Christ and his relationship to David (Psalm 110:1). Upon their failure to come up with an appropriate response, the text says, “neither did any man from that day forth ask him any more questions” (Matt 22:46). If people cannot answer the truth, the least they can do is keep their peace!
A proper use of scripture reveals the genuineness of a man’s heart.
Jesus’ use of scripture revealed the heart of the rich young ruler to be bound up in covetousness (Matt 19:22). I believe this is the meaning of Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of a man’s heart.” When a man confronted with truth says, “I know it says that but . . .” or “That’s just your opinion,” it is an indictment of his lack of desire to please God in all things.
Every Christian should be diligent to study the scripture so that we may use it properly at all times (2 Tim 2:15). Anything less is to negate the real power of God (Rom 1:16).