Lately I have been amazed at the lies that are being spread through books and especially websites , about scripture, Jesus and God. I know that non-believers do not have the Holy Spirit to correctly discern the meanings of scripture, but it is so confusing to me when professing believers latch on to false teachings. But today I realized the reason for this is that too many Christians do not actually study their Bibles and if they do, they do it without the benefit of a teacher. They ‘get saved’ in a worship service, but never go to Sunday School or Bible Study classes. But this is not good.
In order to spot false teachings, we must know the TRUE teachings. Not just reading the Bible, but by attending classes where a more experienced, and more learned, student of the Bible can share input and correct misinformation. They are not ‘adding’ to the Bible. They are simply further along in their studies and have more information. For instance, they have studied and, more importantly, remembered, so many different books and verses that they can see the way it all fits together, in context.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV
There are a few very important ideas that you may not get in just attending a Sunday sermon or reading random verses in your Bible on your own or even reading one book at a time.
- The entire Bible is the story of God’s gracious desire and plan to redeem us from our slavery to sin, THROUGH his son Jesus.
- The Old Testament is full of Jesus, but if you look at certain stories in the right way, you might miss the parallels. For example, the stories of Jonah, Joseph, and Abraham all demonstrate different parts of the Gospel.
- The Bible is a history book, and an instruction book. It’s not an inspirational guide to living where you pick out the verses you like.
- The first book of the Bible is Genesis. It contains the foundation of the Gospel. If you dismiss it as a story, you may as well just throw the book in the trash.
- Many verses in the New Testament will only be correctly understood if you know the Old Testament.
- There are many false teachers who want to remove the power of the gospel to save people from their sins. Paul and the apostles warn of this repeatedly.
Jesus was not just a good person. The Bible describes him in many ways. You won’t learn all of his character traits if you don’t read all of the books. Be careful that the teachers and groups you choose to study and learn with are 100% aligned with the pure gospel message and that they have the knowledge of the Old Testament that makes the Bible a beautiful painting of God’s love, mercy, and grace for his people. Always compare what anyone teaches you to the actual words of scripture.
14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God[b] not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[c] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2
A few Bible study tips.
- Find a good group and attend regularly.
- A good group will have godly, dedicated leader that can keep the group focused on the study, not add to the words of the Bible, and knows the Bible well enough to use scripture to interpret scripture.
- Use a Study Bible and look up the references that connect the scriptures.
- Use Commentaries only after doing your own reading of the scriptures.
- Pray and ask God, with faith, to reveal himself to you through his word as you read.
- Be aware that some churches are not actually Christian churches and they have different Bibles that have added to the scripture. There is nothing new to be added! The Gospel is complete.