Over the last few weeks, it’s been pretty busy but there have been some times of refreshing as well as some frustrations. Many of these frustrations have come in the form of news articles, sound bites and different kinds of information bits that make serious Bible readers scratch their heads and go, “Huh?”
It’s no secret that unbelievers, especially those promoting their ungodly agendas, whatever they may be, attempt to use biblical justification to either put down true biblical objections to sin in our society and the ramifications of it or attempt to justify their sin using scripture. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more commonplace for those who identify as believers to do the same.
In our current culture of mass transfers of information over every available means, there is so much disinformation and straight up deception and lies out there, it’s impossible to hear, understand and counter them all. With that thought in mind, what is a believer to do? As I was thinking on some of the various craziness I’ve recently heard, one of the first verses that came to mind was Jude 3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” So, what does it mean to “earnestly contend for the faith?” I’d like to answer that queston with another passage of scripture. (Those who know me fairly well shouldn’t be surprised.)
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16. The idea behind “giving an answer” is that you are always ready to give a reasoned, or well-thought out defense of why you belieive what you believe. There is no way to do that except by reading the Bible.
EVERY believer should be regularly, hopefully daily reading some portion of God’s word. If you are a believer and have never read ALL of God’s word, you need to. Instead of the supposed contradictions “educated” people try to tell us are there, the Bible regularly and continually compliments itself. The Old Testament is the foundation of the New Testament and God’s plan for mankind. The New Testament is the fulfillement of the Old Testament. You can’t have one without the other or you will get a false view of God and his plan not only for mankind, but for you as an individual.
A big part of the problem that I mentioned earlier is that false teachers use parts of scripture to promote their erroneous views. If they would be like the Apostle Paul, speaking to the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20:27 (part of the title I chose for this article), they would use ALL of the Bible to understand and apply it to their teaching and their daily lives. I believe it’s the same way for some people, some well-meaning to be sure, who use parts of the Bible to fit into their theology (or whatever other “-ology” they need to fit the Bible into.
The other part of the problem is that fewer and fewer people are like the Bereans, who Paul praised in Acts 17:20-21. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” ~Acts 17:10-11. The Bereans were not only studying the Scriptures for their own benefit, they were also verifying what the Apostle Paul was teaching them! They wanted to make sure that his instruction was lining up with and not contradicting the rest of the scriptures!
There is so much more to be said, but I have what I hope will be some encouragement about how we can take a firm stand for the WHOLE truth of God’s word. First, if you don’t have a daily Bible study, there’s no time like the present to start one. Pick a time and place and establish the habit of reading God’s word every day. The more you read and study, I have found, the more God will bless your effort (2 Timothy 2:15). Second, focus on the truth of God’s word, don’t focus on all the errors being taught. Be like the Bereans and check out EVERY Bible teacher, preacher, evangelist, blogger, “you-tuber” (is that even a legit word?), book, article and more. Third, surround yourself with solid Bible teachers and materials, beginning and ending with your Bible. (I don’t want to get bogged down with my preferred translation and why, but find a good one. There are many bad ones available.) Fourth, when you hear/read someone say/preach/teach/write something that seems to contradict God’s word, make sure you know what the Bible really says about it, then politely, gently, lovingly ask for clarification. Or, if it’s necessary offer gently loving correction. (See Colossians 4:6 for some additional guidance on this.) The bottom line here is that it is not you or I or some theologian with “alphabet soup” as I call it behind his name who is the “authority.” God’s word is the authority. I would like to leave you with some additional scriptures to close my lenghty thoughts.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” ~ Galatians 1:8 (See also 2 Corinthians11:3-4)
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” ~ Proverbs 30:5-6 (See also Revelation 22:18-19)