When people become popular, assumptions are made about them by people who do not know them well.
“He would never do that! He would never say that!”
They are shocked that they did not know them as well as they should have.
The same applies to popular people in the Bible. How well do you know who said what in your Bible?
Can you recall who said this:
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Here is a hint. It was the same person who said this:
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
Can you guess? If you said Jesus, you would be wrong. Both are quotes taken from the law of Moses (Deu 6:5 and Lev 19:18). Jesus quoted Moses.
Who said this?
“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”
Is it Moses, again? No. Then, you might think it sounds like James, but it is not. Would you believe me if I told you it was the apostle Paul, The apostle of grace to the Gentiles, in Romans 2:13?
Who spoke these condemning words?
“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”
“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
This may sound like the fiery preaching of an old testament prophet, but these are all words from the loving Lamb and Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 25:41; Matt 13:50; Matt 23:33). Jesus spoke more about the fires of hell than almost anyone else in the Bible.
By now you see the trend. Not everything is as you may have assumed about the Bible’s most popular people.
One more example. Who said this? Pay close attention to the words.
Ok, this may be a bit unfair. This is not from the Bible at all, but from an ancient Buddhist text. Did you think it was Jesus? It is similar but different. The very words make all the difference.
Assumptions are made about popular people. Since everyone knows their name and what made them famous, they think they know how they think, how they act, and what they would say.
Jesus is popular. Everyone has heard of him. Few actually know what he said and taught. Most everyone assumes they do.
Unfamiliarity with the Bible breeds assumptions about the popular people within it. When do assumptions turn into deceiving yourself and lies?
At best this is ignorance, and at worst it is idolatry. Both are wrong.
To truly know what Jesus would do and say, or what God would do and say, we must know the scriptures well.
It is very easy to summarize, misquote, and prooftext the Bible. Being familiar with who said what and why will help guard you from these abuses.
Do not form a picture of the Bible that is not true from assumptions. Read the words. Become familiar with them.
An important question in dispensational Bible study is to ask who is speaking, but also to whom?
You need to know who said what in the Bible, and to whom. Then you need to find out when, why, and what was the context.