at face value, take

take (someone or something) at face value

To accept that something or someone is as it seems based only on an initial or outward appearance, without further verifying or investigating. Why some people take what that pundit says at face value is beyond me. He clearly has an ulterior motive. You're right to be wary, but, in this case, I think we can take John at face value. He's just trying to help.
See also: face, take, value

at face value, take

Accept from its outward appearance, as in You can't always take a manufacturer's advertisements at face value; they're bound to exaggerate . Literally this idiom has referred to the monetary value printed on a bank note, stock certificate, bond, or other financial instrument since the 1870s. The figurative usage is from the late 1800s.
See also: face, take