• Jen Ayling

Should Believers Be Open-Minded Or Closed-Minded?

This can be a very complicated question to ask because on one hand, it’s known as good to be open-minded in order to learn new things, but on the other hand, being closed-minded assures you’re not being swayed by every new idea that comes along.

There is a biblical answer to this question, although the answer isn’t as straight forward.

And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2

If the Bible tells us not to conform to this world, then it’s a pretty accurate statement to say that we should not be open-minded to learning anything from the world. In saying this, a vast array of educational resources may flood to mind such as; teachers, scholars, schools, training etc. Each of these resources may have their place, however, they should never be a believer’s main source of information—in fact, they should be their least.

That’s not to make light of the tireless work people in those positions put in to help others develop mentally in knowledge. It’s definitely beneficial that society has an education system in place for all to learn and grow academically, however, not once does the Bible acknowledge or suggest any schooling or college degree when it comes to learning the things of God. God’s Word does, however, caution its readers to be careful not to follow worldly teachings.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. – Colossians 2:8

So what then is the verse above referring to when it says, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’? What are we to renew our mind in? There is only one answer ... the Bible! This is the only source that we should be studying and gaining our learning from. The value of the Holy Bible is not to be ignored or downplayed. The Bible is God’s book, where He complexly and intricately had His God-breathed Words written, using particular people (through the Spirit) to record it for us so we could access a tangible, inexhaustible living Word that will teach, rebuke, correct and help us in every aspect of our life, so we’re able to read it and apply it to our daily lives so we stay on track, continuing to do the will of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16).

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Many Scriptures talk of knowledge being highly important and knowing that the Bible never contradicts itself but that Scripture interprets Scripture, it’s important to be led by the Holy Spirit, the best teacher, when reading the Holy book so verses are understood correctly (John 14:26).

... you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him – Colossians 3:9-10

If there are several verses pertaining to renewing our mind and having knowledge, and there are also several verses that define what we are and are not to be learning from, we can very easily see that God wants us to only place the Bible as our final authority—our sole source of information to obtain the only knowledge that’s worthwhile.

Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. - 1 Corinthians 8:1

God does not require us to go to Bible college or gain a secular degree or PhD in order to learn of Him. In fact, when you look at all the people God used throughout the Bible, they were often the lowly, unlearned, uneducated ones who seemingly had nothing to offer.

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Having worldly knowledge profits us little and in many instances causes our walk with the Lord to be hindered. Our priority should always only be to diligently study the Word of God.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

No matter what manner of the man, if the heart is willing, God will use him.

Is it good to have an open mind? Not necessarily. The problem with having an open mind is that what you’re saying is that you’re willing to hear and possibly take on anyone’s ideas, thoughts and beliefs if they sound good in your opinion. Instead of using the Bible as the only true measuring stick to correctly define what’s pure and good, the human mind is given higher authority—wrongly assuming our thoughts and personal opinions are able to determine what’s pure and good.

This brings along with it a whole problematic agenda of personal perception and life experiences being drawn from as the measuring stick, which more often than not is in total contrast to God’s Word. This literally opens you up to not only be swayed by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14), but also leads to confusion due to all the clouded lies Satan has brought in through all the different religions, doctrines and beliefs.

...keep oneself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27

A wide open mind leads to a wide road of destruction.

So knowing that we are not to be open-minded, we need to therefore have a closed mind with an open Bible.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Take it as a compliment when someone calls you ‘closed-minded’ or ‘narrow-minded’ because when you think about it, every believer should be totally closed to any idea that is outside of God’s Word.

In order to be travelling on the narrow road, it’s essential to have a narrow mind.

Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life and there are few that find it (Matthew 7:13-14). So in order to be walking through the narrow gate and along the difficult path, unlike the world who encourage one another to be embracing and open to accepting new ideas and concepts, we need to have our blinkers on, blocking the sides of our eyes so our focus is on who’s directly in front of us—Jesus! And we achieve this by spending time in prayer and reading our lifeline, God’s Word.

-- By Jenny Ayling