We live in a day when many reject God’s word out of hand. They are easy to debate for the ignorance they have of the word of God is easily proved. But there are those who actually believe they believe, when in fact they have no grasp on the Book they profess to honour. Cults of all descriptions will use portions of the Eternal Word to back their God denying doctrines, and heretical teachings infest many alleged Christian organisations.
Part of the problem is that people won’t read the Bible biblically.
Not that there is some clever and gnostic way to read it, it just requires some sanctified common sense. Of course there are those who think doctrine is irrelevant and that we should all just get along. What these folks call tolerance, God calls compromise. They are for another post perhaps, but those who cling to the Bible and refuse to actually read it in a way that brings understanding are the ones I will focus on for the moment.
Cults and false teachers love to preach their doctrines out of the Book of concordance. They peruse the lists of verses to find the ones that will apparently support whatever error they are trying to get people to accept. A concordance is a wonderful tool but like any tool, when used foolishly it becomes dangerous.
They don’t understand that this is not the way to get understanding. And those who hear in their ignorance often think to themselves, “Well, it must be biblical they used a verse”
Ok let’s go over some basics so that we might actually comprehend what the Book of Books actually says. Our eternity is at stake.
Scripture must be read reverently. This is no lighthearted matter. This is not reading to pass an hour of boredom. It is the very word of God and our approach to it will be remembered at the judgement. It must be treated with the utmost respect for to get this wrong is to get everything wrong.
The Bible must be read with humility. I mean by this biblical humility not mans poor version of it. For true humility is not cowering to every mans opinion it is bowing to God’s, and God’s alone. Some folks think their opinion is sacred. They will receive nothing from the LORD for He humbles the proud and exalts the humble. For a professing bible believer to refuse to change their opinion when shown in scripture that they are wrong is to play chicken with eternity. A deadly game.
God’s word is to be approached apostolically. Most of the cults and many genuine believers are unaware that the New Testament beliefs are gleaned from the apostles of our Lord. Any old testament teaching which is not in line with apostolic teaching is unbiblical for a born again believer. Some folks get all tangled up in festivals, food regulations and Sabbaths without comprehending that the Apostles of Christ gave clear and concise teaching on all these things, and the appropriate spiritual application to new Covenant believers. Many cultists cherry pick verses from all over the Bible to defend their unique Bible interpretations. The biblically literate believer will not be conned by people giving unbiblical teachings with out of context Old Testament scriptures tacked on to give them the appearance of biblical authority. Much can be learned from the sacred text of the Old Covenant but much confusion can also result if they are not read apostolically. I have come across various false teachers lately who speak often of “harmonizing” the scriptures. What they mean by this is to collect all the isolated verses that mention a topic and knit them together in some hybrid form of doctrine. God has already harmonised the scriptures and we don’t need to dissect the Word of God and reassemble it in some way that suits us. This is not some numbers game where we see your 3 verses out of Deuteronomy and raise 4 verses out of Psalms. To find what God has to say on any issue, we simply go to the passages that address that topic. It’s really quite simple and logical but apparently some can’t get it.
Scripture must be approached hungrily. The earnest desire to know God and His ways is a prerequisite for grasping any truth. Those who do not love the truth will be handed over to delusion. Unfortunately I have seen to much of that lately amongst cultists…even cultists within supposedly biblical Christian churches. If a man or woman only opens the word to find support for their own opinion they are in peril.
And of course the scriptures must be read spiritually; that is leaning on the Holy Spirit to open up His word and propel it into our hearts.
You would think that all these simple concepts would be readily recognized by anyone desiring to know God’s written truths, but unfortunately reading the Bible biblically is becoming a lost art. Much of the spread of cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists would be arrested if people just opened the word of God and read it the way God intended. And the same can be said for the “in-house” cults of prosperity teachers, seeker friendly, “best life now” and emerging churchies.