“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11 ESV
When I began studying the Bible in depth, I wanted to know exactly what the scriptures were teaching—in context and in the original language. I have spent innumerable hours over the last couple years and I have gone through the entire Bible and very heavily—multiple times—the New Testament.
And after being a good little lifelong Bible reader—always in church 2-3 times a week–thinking I knew what the scriptures taught, I was stunned what I learned when I actually began to study it prayerfully.
What is emphasized heavily in scripture, is not emphasized in the church. To my recollection—I have never heard a sermon on, nor have I heard mentioned or taught—warnings against false doctrines and those who teach them. I may have sat through a sermon at some point, but at a minimum, it has barely been discussed-not enough to have ever had any impact on me at all. Many other things have been emphasized and are still focused on very heavily, but no one talks about the scriptures’ warnings of false doctrine and false teachers. When compared with what the Bible teaches, much of what is taught is unscriptural and out of context.
It’s frightening and tragic that the perversion of the gospel that Paul cursed is here and our churches are drowning in it. And with social media and its ubiquitous video clips of popular preachers tickling our ears going viral, false doctrine is spreading like wildfire and we are not even addressing it.
As I worked through my study, I started seeing these repeated warnings about false teachers and their teachings. But it really became apparent as I prepped to teach my Bible Study classes. As I went over and over, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, literal versions in English and Greek, I began realizing how often this was repeated. So—I started digging–looking to see if others had noticed this, too. And they have! There are others that have studied this in depth. In 2013, Steven J. Cole wrote, that according to a seminary study, within the New Testament “warning against false doctrine is emphasized more than any other thing, even more than love, unity, and experience.” Peter and Paul repeatedly warned about it and Jude’s entire book is about false teaching infiltrating the church. And God even warned in the Old Testament that prophets were spreading lies and tales about false visions. (Jeremiah 23:16 & Ezekiel 13:9)
Why do we—as born again, Bible believing people who refer to ourselves as followers and disciples of Christ—not emphasize in our teaching and in our study what is the, or at the least one of the, most heavily emphasized subjects in the New Testament? Why are we not studying the entire Word of God in context? Why are we not learning everything God has given us to know?
Paul said that after Christ came that the mystery was revealed—that a full understanding of what God wants us to know is available through the scripture. So, why are we not studying it? Why are we not emphasizing it?
We should be heeding all the instructions in the scripture and studying the Bible feverishly. We should stop relying on only what people tell us, stop assuming everything that has a scripture attached is truth, stop falling for everything we see and hear on the internet and find out for ourselves what the true gospel is and with everything in us, we should hold to it. And as we are instructed by the Bible and the example set by the apostles Peter, Paul, Jude, John, and our own savior, Jesus Christ, we should be standing up against false doctrine and teachers with the same zeal they did by exposing the darkness and proclaiming the truth vigorously. (Ephesians 5:11 & Titus 1:11)
God has no favorites (Romans 2:11)—He will show you and teach you all that is in His written Word—if you want to know. So, I challenge you, as I continue to do as well, to research and study this on your own–study in great detail, pray, learn the true, whole, complete, full gospel of Jesus Christ and stand firm in it no matter the consequence. Because someday every single one of us will stand before our loving, patient, merciful, but eternally just God who wishes that all come to repentance and salvation (1 Timothy 2:4) and we will be without excuse (Romans 1:19). The results of our choice will be for eternity.
“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” 2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26 ESV