“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” 1 Timothy 4:15-16.
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” Titus 1:9.
The bible is divinely inspired. In it we find the wise counsel of God revealed as men and women were rescued from fire, confronted kings, prophesied, interpreted dreams, along with a host of countless events and other occurrences. We now have the benefit of the word of God in many different languages and bible interpretations.
Various churches and ministries focus on certain aspects from scripture, and this might seem good in and of itself, but much may well be lacking and dangerous in this type of belief. It is good to remember and to pin point various scriptures and to see the truth unveiled there within it. However, some as we know pull out a portion of scripture and base their entire doctrinal belief upon it. One such example is found in Mark 16:18,
“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Several churches have been known to use this scripture and to take up serpents, dance around with them, and even allow them to bite them, never worrying about what the effects might be. Of course the scripture quoted from Jesus as He spoke to the devil is easily forgotten or dismissed.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,” ‘He will command his angels concerning you,” and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:5-7.
Another issue that happens quite often is misinterpreting certain passages. This is easily done partly because we hear certain scriptures said and applied to a situation at hand, when actually the original context if examined closer, reveals a completely different understanding. One such verse is listed below:
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” Romans 11:29.
“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief” Romans 11:30.
Many use this portion of scripture and refer to it as God would not take away a spiritual gift from someone. However, in looking at the context stated in the text, one soon finds out that this passage was referencing Paul as he was saying that Israel had become the enemy of God and yet because of his faithfulness to them they would be saved.
Another doctrinal concern or tradition, is coming forward to the altar to accept the Lord as your Savior. Many seem to dwell upon this aspect as well as also making certain that immersion is the only way to legitimately be baptized. There is nothing wrong with this, except that one can be saved by accepting the Lord as their Savior without coming forward to kneel at the altar.
Some are of the persuasion that an infant immediately needs to be baptized and some think that if they aren’t then their salvation is in jeopardy. Nowhere in scripture is this seen, nor is it mentioned.
“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38.
Baptism is a sign of regeneration from one’s former life; a public display of one’s new life in Christ. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation but is an outward sign of an inner decision to accept Christ.
In 1914 a certain group taught that another revelation was received revealing that being baptized in “Jesus Name” became tenets of faith. (Law) Actually Matthew 28:19 says:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
A doctrinal issue of great concern is tithing. Malachi 3:10 says:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”
Malachi 3 has been greatly misused for God’s blessing to come to his people. Many quote this scripture to say that all Christians are to tithe 10 percent. Under the law of Moses those who tithed did so with their agriculture primarily. Part of this went to the Levites and others actually ended up being about 22 percent total. Now many of the prosperity teachers tell us to give so that God will bless us even more and more financially. Every time that tithing is mentioned in the New Testament, it is actually referencing the Old Testament. Jesus goes on to say this to the Pharisees:
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” Luke 11:42.
In Matthew 23:23 he explains they “have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” These you ought to have done”
There is such a rich supply of wisdom, comfort, direction, and counsel to be found in the pages of scripture. And yet so many still lift a scripture out of context or completely misinterpret it to their own devices and understanding. Many false teachers and prophets are in the world and in the churches today. And yet this always has been the case, but the numbers are increasing and the intensity of those who teach this way, is becoming more and more pronounced.
We need to be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures for the truth.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” Acts 17:11.
One could go on and on pointing to various concerns and practices that go on in various church circles and ministries today.
We are to rightly divide the word of God so that we are in balance and not swayed by every wind of doctrine. With each wind of doctrine, many can easily get swept away and easily think that what is lifted and taken out of context is the truth.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?