Use with Caution

Helpful, however . . . .

Many Bibles have only the text of Scripture, or perhaps some maps and a brief concordance in the back. A study Bible, however, is designed to provide various helps—such as introductions to each book, charts, diagrams, and comments on the text. A good study Bible can prove quite useful.

Since these extras are provided by fallible human beings, we do well to exercise caution and not necessarily believe everything we read.

Discernment needed

I have a study Bible, generally quite good, that depicts the tabernacle with some of the furnishings in the wrong place.

If I were to point this out to the publisher I would likely get a cordial reply acknowledging the mistake and promising to correct it in the next edition.

But what if I were to call into question some of the charts that reflect a premillennial bias—or the faith-only position it takes. These are not the result of poor proof-reading but of erroneous theology.

Another study Bible, commenting on Acts 2:38, asserts that baptism is not for salvation. Someone might read this uncritically and accept it as true. But shall we believe what some scholar thinks Acts 2:38 means or what the verse actually says?

Study Bibles are useful to those who profit from all the helps they provide, but who can also detect editorial errors as well. As the old saying goes, “Take the wheat, leave the chaff.”

Some study Bibles are “chaffier” than others. The discerning reader should be able to tell the difference.

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The Question

Jesus’ challenge

On several occasions in interacting with the hostile chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, or Sadducees, Jesus countered them with this question: “Have you not read…?” or “Have you never read…?” (Matthew 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31).

In each case He referred them to a specific teaching in their Scriptures (the Old Testament).

From this we may conclude….

Jesus placed tremendous importance on the Scriptures as the authoritative word of God.

Jesus expected people to be familiar with the Scriptures.

He demonstrated that religious error should be challenged by the Scriptures.

Why would it be any different today?

“Have you not read…?”

Good question!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Even More Dangerous

The danger

The computer spell-check thought I meant “terrorist.” But “errorist” is what I intended.

Oxford English Dictionary defines “errorist” as “One who is inclined to error; one who encourages and propagates error.”

Satan uses both terrorists and errorists to hurt the church.

Before his conversion, Saul of Tarsus was a violent terrorist (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5, 19-20; 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13).

Terrorists work from the outside; errorists from within. Satan has been much more successful using errorists.

Errorists corrupt the truth. People then believe the lie and are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Countering the danger

The best safeguard against errorists is to truly love the truth, search for the truth, and compare teachings we hear with the standard of God’s word (Acts 17:10-12).

Beware of errorists!

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Good Question/Bad Answer

When our son Monte was 11, he called from the next room, “What is consumption?”

I explained that it is an old-fashioned word for tuberculosis.

He then came into the den where I was and read the small print on a one-liter plastic soda container he was holding: “For immediate consumption.”

I had a good laugh over that one. Once again, I had not communicated.

A matter of life-and-death–for our souls!

No harm done. But what if his question had been a really big one, and my answer failed to give him the truth he truly needed to live his life?

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Ever since Eden, Satan has been supplying misinformation to hinder us from salvation.

“Accept no substitutes”

Should we accept what some preacher says, without checking it out for ourselves, using the standard God Himself provides—His Word? (Acts 17:10-12)

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“So Many Churches”

The Christian faith

“There are so many churches,” the 7th-grade boy observed after reading through a list of religious bodies affiliated with the Christian faith. “What do you think about that?” his dad asked.

“People just all believe some of the same things, but all the different churches believe something different. If they would just go by what the Bible says, then there’d just be one church.”

“How did you come to that conclusion?” Dad wanted to know.

“There was one church when Jesus started it.”

The Bible supports

Smart kid!  And the Bible supports it (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Philippians 1:27; 2:2; etc.).

Back to the Blueprint!

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Discerning the Difference

Missing dog

I had begun my morning walk when a man asked if I had seen his Rottweiler. Someone had reported a black dog running with a Dalmatian. Soon after, I spotted the pair. I called them and they came to me.

When the man returned, I pointed to the black dog. “Nice try,” he said. His dog was about twice its size.

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Accept no substitutes!

Mistaken identity. It happens all the time. Often error appears remarkably like truth. But counterfeit is not truth—all the more dangerous because it resembles truth (Galatians 1:6-9).

The owner obviously knew his dog from others. Do we know the Scriptures well enough to distinguish truth from any error that just might come along?

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