Who Are You Quoting & Why?

This weekend I had the opportunity to listen to a couple of speakers at a church nearby.  As is to be expected with our family we all carried our Bibles and I was prepared to take notes like I usually do.  But the first night I didn’t make any notes nor did I ever have a verse to turn to.  But that was the introduction, the meat would come later, right?  Now I must admit that there were a few tidbits of interesting information but nothing new, nothing that was a new idea or thought to me.

Then Saturday comes in which I’m optimistic that there will be some Biblical truths and treasures to glean, even if I wasn’t as optimistic as on Friday.  But honestly until one of the last sessions there was no need to even open my Bible.  Now granted there were a few verses quoted but not something that needed to be turned to.  I expected a Biblical Conference to be … well you know … Biblical?

Now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the people and the families we met and the between the sessions fellowship was great.  But I left feeling quite disappointed and honestly as if I had wasted my time.  We have very few Saturdays free from activities and this could have been one of them.  The facts and information presented might would have been useful for the average church member who attends church on Sunday AM, sends the children to daycare and public school while voting for “Change, change.”  But as most present were longtime homeschooling families the information wasn’t new but especially it wasn’t based purely on Scripture.  That is my biggest and most serious concern.

I can’t begin to tell you how many quotes, excerpts and expressions where given from a particular couple of individuals.  The ________ said this about this subject.  __________ predicted this decades ago.  Everything has developed just like _______ said it was going to.  _______, __________, __________, …..  The reason I’m not naming names is because it really doesn’t matter whose name is there.  The point is the focus on an individual and what they said, an unbalanced focus without the accompanying negatives. 

It doesn’t really matter if they are quoting Spurgeon, Calvin, Wesley, Warren, Pearl or Hinn, once someone is so focused on quoting one individual to the seeming exclusion of others there is a major problem.  The only time such a focus on quoting an individual should occur is when you are giving a biography of a particular person.  But any good biography covers both the good and the bad; the truth and the error in a person’s life.  But what happened this weekend wasn’t biographical, it was honestly more easily idolatry of a particular person’s writings.  I know that sounds harsh, but honestly when there are more quotes from __________ than from Scripture, what have you got but idolatry?

See it doesn’t even matter how accurate a particular individual is when he speaks, no man (or woman) alive or dead is more accurate and worthy of quoting more than Scripture.  This is an issue that even obviously committed Christians easily fall into.  I’ve heard / read many individuals who are constantly saying “But Calvin says in his Institutes…”, “Spurgeon taught that ….” or “____________ said ….”.

This is a serious problem that often is unnoticed by the individual doing it.  Just as sometimes you don’t realize how you say “Uh” every couple of words when speaking until you hear a recording, often people don’t realize when a respected figure has moved from respected to idolized.


4 thoughts on “Who Are You Quoting & Why?

  1. You just touched on one of our (my husband’s especially) pet peeves. Stitting through a supposed bible teaching or Christian seminar where the Bible is either ommitted or twisted to suit the speakers intended destination.

    Like you expressed, he feels like he wastedhis precious time. I happen to feel the same way, but I think it bothers him more.

    I also think we need to be careful about quoting Christian celebs. If no one ever writes another Christian book or bestseller, the Bible is enough.

    Berean Wife Reply:


    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that thinks that. You know it wouldn’t have been so noticeable years ago, but lately I’ve been to conferences where you could not possibly keep up with taking notes and flipping to passages in your Bible. The kind of thing where you want the speaker/preacher to continue on and can’t believe the time is up.

    I enjoying reading others materials and often a person’s quotes puts things in such a manner that I could not have possibly explained myself. However, I pray I never to get to the point that a particular author holds my attention better than the Scriptures themselves. If I get on the bandwagon and constantly quote an individual feel free to call me on the carpet for it.

    That is why I only look at a commentary on a Biblical passage after I’ve studied it and arrived at a conclusion, more just out of curiosity than anything else. Right now Matthew 11:12 is still a confusing passage. But I’m not digging out commentaries yet because then I might be swayed more by another than by the Scriptures themselves.

    Berean Wife

  2. BW,
    Hi! These were good insights. Too bad you felt you wasted your time. And I need to be on guard continually that I am not more enamored with others’ writing than the Word of God.

    Berean Wife Reply:


    Thanks, Wendy. You know I did feel like I wasted my time and I said so, but honestly I guess that helped drive home a good lesson, so maybe it was worthwhile after all. I pray I remember the lesson well.

    I think it is easy for any of us to fall into the habit of reading and quoting another more than Scripture. Sometimes it seems that other people listen better to something from a respected person than from Scripture. But another’s quotes do not hold the power that Scripture does.

    Berean Wife

Comments are closed.