Have you ever talked with someone that pulled one verse or one word in one verse and built a theology around it?
I have. They took something out of context and tried to expound upon it in a way that went away from scripture. They forced scripture to support their idea.
That’s not life application. However, it is the stuff that fables are made of.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
It’s easy to get pulled into something that sounds good. It’s especially easy if you are a new believer, and you are just trying to learn what the Bible says. What you really need to understand is that not everyone that says he or she is a Christian is really a Christian. Also, not every Christian knows what the Bible says because they tend to repeat what they’ve heard without looking it up and searching it out.
The best way to protect yourself from false doctrine is to read and read and read the Bible. Start by finding a good translation. Not all translations are created equal. Translation types include: paraphrases, thought-for-thought, word-for-word, and a blend of word-for-word and thought-for-thought. It’s important that you know what the translation you are reading really reflects.
Another way to protect yourself from false doctrine is to research what you are taught. Write down the concept. Write down the scripture that supported it. Then, do your own homework. Look up the verses. Check out the context that they are in. Then, read any surrounding scripture references.
What do you do if you find false doctrine? Go to the person and clarify what you have heard. Did you hear right? Did they misspeak? Were they just unclear or perhaps incomplete in their thinking?
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
The Greek word used here for simple means innocent. If we read the last part again and switch the word simple for innocent, we have: for they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the innocent.
As scripture says, we need to avoid them. If you find this in a church, take your family and find another church.
Today’s challenge is to take something that you believe that scripture says or supports, and look it up. Read the verses around it. Read any scripture references that are noted close by. Let the Bible define itself. If you want to check it further, a Bible with Strong’s Numbers referencing Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries will help you take the words back to the original text. This is particularly helpful with difficult passages or passages that challenge what you believe. You may be surprised to find – as I have over the years – that scripture does get misquoted and misapplied.