Do you ever worry that you’ll be sucked in by bad or wrong Bible teaching? I know this has been a fear of mine at times, and I have talked to others who are truly concerned about this.
Or worse, many Christians don’t fear this enough, and are sitting in churches or around tables with friends where they are hearing wrong things and believing them.
This is a topic that is heavy on my heart.
And there are about a gazillion ways that people distort and misinterpret scripture all while believing they are, in fact, right in their thinking.
All you have to do is type your opinion+”supportive Bible verses” into Google and you’ll find someone claiming the Bible agrees with you. Despite the popular saying, you can’t believe everything the internet tells you. You need a higher standard
There are many untrue doctrines and cultural norms that are catching on as truth among proclaimed Christ-followers all around us. But thankfully there’s hope.
I don’t need to clear up all of these gross misinterpretations of scripture right here, right now, and spend thousands of words convincing you of what I believe to be true. You probably wouldn’t agree with me anyway if that was my approach.
And believe me, I know I don’t know everything. But I do think I’m on the right track, and you can be too!
What I can offer you are a few strategies for finding this truth on your own. The true-hearted will seek it, and the Holy Spirit can change even the strongest-held opinion.
How to Not Be Mislead by Wrong Bible Teaching
1. Read the Bible in its entirety. Then read it again.
My spiritual mentor during my college years, Jen, read the Bible through every year in addition to her other study.
She would exhort me to never take scripture out of context, but to consider “the whole counsel of the word of God” in order to rightly divide it.
I have never forgotten this. Although I don’t make it through the Bible every year, I do shoot for ever other year. So far I’ve read it about 5 times and will continue to do so. Over time, more than anything else, this practice has given me the clear-headedness I need to not be mislead by wrong Bible teaching, no matter how deceptive.
2. Make a point to learn and study cultural and historical context.
The Bible was inspired by God and is 100% true, but it was also written by someone, to someone and for someone. We should absolutely not remove it from its intended context.
Many of these details are in scripture, right there for you, if you just pay attention. Some Bible study methods, such as the Inductive Study Method teach you to draw out these details from the text as you’re reading, a helpful practice.
3. Approach scripture honestly, not with an agenda.
This can be difficult, but let scripture inform you, not vice-versa.
Those of us who have been in church our whole lives have the hardest time with this. We’re very attached to the doctrine we’ve been taught and make it our mission to use scripture to prove our point, rather than letting down our guard and coming to it honestly.
We can trust scripture to speak for itself. We don’t have to over-extend verses that support our opinion and ignore those that don’t. God is far more mysterious than we give Him credit for sometimes.
4. Pray and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:27
If you are a true Christ-follower then you have the Holy Spirit. You don’t need me or anyone to teach you, you just need to pray and ask for His help. He is able to guide you into all truth.
Not being mislead by wrong Bible teaching takes work, but the fruit of studying and reading the Bible is endless, absolutely above and beyond anything we could imagine.
If you’ve never read the Bible in its entirety, make it your goal to do that, perhaps in 2015.
There are many great resources to help you, but I especially love The One Year Chronological Bible. Some more readable Bible translations include NIV and NLT.
What would you add to this list? How do you guard yourself against false teaching?