It is good to look up to and learn from people wiser than yourself. God said in Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of prudence will acquire wise counsel,” and in Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Learning from others is good, but we should keep those advisors from becoming idols.
When people meet famous individuals, they often exclaim, “You’re my idol!” The terminology is being misused at best and admits wickedness at worst. It is difficult to pinpoint precisely when and where “idol” became a positive description, but the Scriptures do not present it that way. Idolatry in every form is to be avoided by those who follow Christ (see 1 Cor. 10:14). Tell someone you have learned from them, but don’t call them your idol.
Related to this issue is using commentaries and other uninspired works of man for Christian learning. While many beneficial and helpful books have been written, only the Scriptures are God’s standard for our lives. But some are quicker to share a quote from uninspired people than to point to the Scriptures that deal effectively with the same issue. Be careful that you do not cling more closely to uninspired people and their works than you do the Word of God Himself. Those dusty and frail books can become your idol if you are not careful.
Let’s keep idolatry out of our life. Let’s not speak flippantly about a subject the Bible addresses with severity (see Col. 3:5; Gal. 5:20). Let’s keep idolatry categorically forbidden in Christian life and advise others to do the same. If someone desires to learn from you, let them learn what agrees completely with the Scriptures.