I am doing a little reading on the gift of prophecy today (Grudem's 'The Gift of Prophecy'). In it I came across 1 Thessalonians 5:21. That was the motto of the school I attended, Wesley College in Dublin. We learned, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good ('Test everything. Hold on to the good' NIV).
I have been struck in recent years at how the school's understanding of this verse ignores its context. Surely this verse is to do with the weighing of prophecies. As the ESV Study Bible explains, 'the Thessalonians need to weigh prophecies to distinguish the true from the false.' I cannot imagine the school's founders had this in mind.
But then it is no surprise that they would take this verse out of context when Wesley's Notes on the New Testament do the same thing. He too fails to link this verse to the apostle's teaching on prophecy, in the preceding verse.
One other strange thing about Wesley was the pride it took in the fact that George Bernard Shaw was a past pupil (he attended other schools too, and was in Wesley for only a short time). I am not denying that Shaw was a prominent historical figure. It is just that his description of Wesley College was far from flattering. He said that as far as schools go it was no worse than others. Of course the other thing is that Shaw was hardly an ally of the faith the school claimed to be founded upon.