Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.

Edgar Allen Poe

This quote from Poe’s short story, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, is best understood, like many quotes, within its original context. 

“You are young yet, my friend,” replied my host, “but the time will arrive when you will learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world, without trusting to the gossip of others. Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”

(“Works – Tales – The System of … – Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore”, n.d.)

Without the context, one could extrapolate a meaning different than that which was intended. If we believed nothing that we heard, then we’d believe very little indeed. This saying of Poe’s reminds me of a couple of Bible verses.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 (NIV)

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Luke 8:18 (NIV)

Of course, there’s a lot to be said in the Bible about those who gossip. What stands out to me, however, in this passage from Poe is the advice to “learn to judge for yourself of what is going on in the world.” This resonates with something I read in Deuteronomy.

But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.

Deuteronomy 11:7 (NIV)

This is Moses speaking to the Israelites before entering into the Promised Land. Moses is reminding them of the signs and wonders they’ve personally witnessed. They didn’t experience these signs and wonders second-hand. Therefore, they know the truth about them. 

This reminds me of the Psalmist who wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

When we read the Bible, something we can take away from it is the collective testimony of those within the text. From the Israelites who were delivered from slavery in Egypt to the glorification of the Lord. The Bible is full of victory for those who believe. However, if we don’t acknowledge our own experience of deliverance from bondage or recognize the victory we have in Christ. We might as well be hearing the information second-hand. When we were first saved, we might have been like those Samaritans who had heard the testimony from the woman who at the well and believed. Now that we have walked with the Lord, we can also be like them for remember what they told her:

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

John 4:42 (NIV) 

I encourage you today if you’re not feeling the victory you have in Christ right now, remember where he has brought you from and rejoice. For we have overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (cf. Revelation 12:11)!

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.


Works – Tales – The System of. – Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. Retrieved March 14, 2022, from