My medical school classmates and I were on high alert. That afternoon, our in-patient rounds were being conducted by the chief of medicine of our medical school. In our group was a senior medical resident who was currently supervising us. The chief led us into a patient’s room and he politely introduced himself and the rest of us to the patient.
“Dr. Smith. What can you tell me about this patient?”
The senior resident quickly responded, “Mr. Jones was admitted with worsening chest pain that occurred over several hours, unrelieved by rest. Our initial tests ruled out an MI (myocardial infarction) and he is scheduled for a coronary angiogram.”
“His history is suggestive of angina. What do you think, Dr. Smith?”
Our resident confidently declared, “Wasn’t it Osler who first coined the term, ‘pre-infarction angina’ to describe the disease we now call unstable angina? I believe his history of continual chest pain, unrelieved by rest, fits this diagnosis.”
The chief’s eyes twinkled. “Very good. Yes, this was Osler’s original description of this disease.”
After our rounds, my classmate looked at me with eyes opened wide and declared, “He quoted Osler!”
“I know!” I nodded. “Never thought I would hear that!”
Dr. Osler ushered in many advances in medicine that are still relevant to today’s physicians. His medical observations and his quotations frequently find placement in medical books and journal articles. In spite of his revered status, it is almost a joke amongst medical students if we hear of another medical student or physician quoting Sir William Osler because it is perceived as an over the top, ostentatious display of knowledge, uttered only by sycophants. While this quotation did provide an eloquent and historical definition of unstable angina, it undoubtedly was used to impress the chief of medicine.
Quoting an authoritative source or reference usually commands our attention, but sometimes, it can seem trite and contrived. Politicians are fond of quoting the Bible. Some believe it projects an air of credibility and allows them to identify and curry favor with a particular constituent base. Others may do it with hostile intent to make a point about some perceived racist or misogynistic slant of the Bible. Regardless, the fact that the Bible is quoted should give one pause to realize the Bible must contain some element of Truth, otherwise, it would not be referenced. How can we know if someone quoting the Bible is sincere?
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5 (ESV)
Jesus Christ gave this commandment to guide His followers after He was crucified and resurrected.
We can only abide in Jesus Christ by remaining immersed in His Word, the Bible. If we do this, we will bear fruit and our actions will advance the Kingdom of God on this earth. We can only understand the true motives of anyone who quotes the Bible by measuring their actions against this Truth.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.