Handling Holy Scripture, Discerning False Doctrine (series #1)
“#1 Holy Scripture”
In this blog series, I want to go a little deeper in discerning false doctrine and also how to shore up and strengthen your faith through proper biblical interpretation. Subscribe to the RSS feed to receive updates of when more content is added to this blog and this series. One of our core values at Word of Grace is, “We give up what we believe for the truth because scripture defines truth, not our ideas.” Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and the intent of the Holy Spirit has not changed from the intended message meant for the original recipients of the message. Have you ever stopped to think about the first person who ever heard Jesus speak? Have you ever stopped and thought about how the church in Ephesus would have understood or heard Paul’s letter that was written to them? The original inspired intent is still what the text means, no matter how culture has changed.
One of the most egregious things done to scripture is when a teacher takes what the Holy Spirit intended and shifts that text to mean something else. Teachers use the Word of God to serve their agenda and to fit their sermon. Sure, the sermon may inspire and may even have truth sprinkled in the message but if the scripture isn’t being used appropriately, that speaker is not only misusing scripture, friend they are misrepresenting God!
James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Wow! That should scare the pants off of anyone who has been given the gift of teaching and preaching scripture! If we are in a position of influence and have an audience of any size, any age or any demographic, we should be careful in the way we handle scripture. Remember, scripture is “holy”. “Holy” means set-apart. When a person speaks and uses scripture to back up their beliefs or to hype up a crowd but misuses the text, they are in danger of misleading the flock and misrepresenting God.
When a teacher begins to use the Bible as allegory and uses scripture to illustrate a point, they run the risk of teaching false doctrine and bad theology. You cannot take the text and make it mean something it doesn’t mean no matter how good it makes you feel when you hear it. The misuse of text can be inspiring or comforting but the end doesn’t not justify the means. Here is a great quick video example of the contrast between bad theology and good theology. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSnp1wJFFeQ
Remember, scripture is holy and God is holy. Approach interpretation with what it first meant to the original hearers or readers before trying to figure out what it means to you here and now. Pray and ask God for guidance in this process and be wary of people who either intentionally or unintentionally distort the truth. Fact-check and don’t just believe everything someone says, no matter who they are. Even a pastor writing a blog. :)