Listening to Bible teachers without really studying the passages being taught in my Christian infancy especially, I like perhaps many of you accepted without question what was being said. For me, it was not that the teacher was a media star or mega church pastor, it was my own ignorance and the acceptance church folk around me granted to what was being taught along with the authority figure--mostly a pastor--teaching it. This is how error is perpetuated even by those who know better as the apostle Paul showed in his letter “to the churches of Galatia;” rebuking Peter for his hypocrisy and exposing the active complicity of Barnabas in the process (Galatians 1:1-2, 2:11-13, NKJV).
As the Holy Spirit deepened my diligence as a Bible student, I began to be more intentional to compare what was being taught to me by whomever with what the Scriptures actually said. My purpose was not to be anyone’s critic, but to protect myself from being led into error and avoid teaching it to others knowing God is deadly serious about the consequences of doing so (James 3:1; 2 Peter 3:14-18). This does not mean I think myself infallible. But fearing God “the Word” who is, I seek to be as careful as possible to say only what Scripture says knowing He will not fault that nor the plain exposition of it after receiving His instruction (Psalm 119:97-104, 113-120; John 1:1, NKJV)!1
No one claiming to love God shown as Christ Himself teaches by obedience in first priority (John 14:15) not emotion (so prevalent in much of post-modern professing Christianity), can long purposely believe and teach error to His people who he is also supposed to love (John 21:15-17)! Yet, having been in biblical error myself, I painfully know how easy it is to unintentionally slip into it as Peter did among the Galatians; whose rebuke from Paul no doubt, snapped him back to spiritual sobriety leading to repentance.2 Or else, how do we have his two letters written after this unless the Lord had inspired and entrusted a forgiven Peter to write them (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:1-2:3)?
Only by his compromising actions in error had Peter not been “straightforward about the truth of the gospel” causing other Jews watching him to follow suit and misleading the Gentile believers in their midst (Galatians 2:14-21, NKJV). What about the many unintended corruptions of God’s written Word that are taught and persist as tradition within professing Christianity today? Do they not have the same negative outcomes in our contemporary churches as they did among those back in Galatia? Yes, and it is worse since all of what the Lord specifically wills for us is written in the New Testament as settled instruction!3 Here briefly are just three well practiced unintended corruptions of Scripture.
First, there is the “Jesus walked out of the tomb” corruption spoken by many preachers waxing eloquent on Easter. This is not minor. The four Gospels are clear that the women followed by Peter and John did come to an empty tomb. However, if the Lord had to wait until someone rolled the stone away to walk out of the tomb, the supernatural character of His resurrection is removed; His death questionable. The stone rolled away or found so reveals the empty tomb and reality Christ was not only raised in power leaving His burial strips intact, but after neatly folding the cloth on His head, “vanished” as He also did later (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-31; John 20:1-10, NKJV)!
A second unintended corruption is repeated by many well known and meaning Bible teachers seeking to give assurance of salvation to believers. They quote only the first half of Romans 8:1 stressing “There is therefore now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus” and leave the absolutely essential conditional second part “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” unspoken (NKJV). As the immediate context in chapter seven clearly shows, Paul is not attempting to give believers eternal security in Romans 8:1, but begins to triumphantly declare the superior experience we have serving God in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than through the flesh! Condemnation is the only outcome for those who attempt to please God in the flesh (Romans 8:2-17).
Last, Galatians 3:26-29 is unintentionally corrupted by some (others, intentionally) to literally remove all mortal distinctions of ethnicity, social condition or gender among Christians to the end primarily of giving what is called equality to women. It is fitting that we return to Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia where Jewish legalism was also undermining the Gospel to close out this post and call the guilty to repentance. For as the Lord has led me to write before,4 in context, Paul in this passage plainly intends to comfort believers from all backgrounds that we have an equal eternal spiritual standing as sons of God in Christ Jesus! Nevertheless, he recognizes and teaches mortal distinctions to include for example, gender roles (1 Corinthians 11:3). Men are God’s elect leaders!5
1 There is no greater “Exegete” of God’s Word than God Himself! For this reason, the very first principle of sound Bible interpretation and application is prayer. Learn more
sound principles of Bible interpretation in summary form by way of a free one sheet document the Lord led me to prepare to help those intent on “rightly dividing the word
of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV) you can download from the Strong Man Store. Understanding Scripture was never intended to be the exclusive domain of a relative few
educated elite, but all and the lowliest among us who will be teachable by God (Psalm 119:33-35; Luke 24:44-45; James 1:5-8).
2 Besides the spiritual and biblical ignorance typical to newborn Christians along with the sin failures, flaws, faults and inconsistencies that have plagued me struggling to
grow into maturity, I have transparently written in various places including my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, about my initial fear of obedience driven
compromise in error to honor manmade tradition over what Scripture teaches on the role of women in His house. Rebuked by God, like Peter, I repented as anyone read-
ing this that is guilty should also do--unless, of course, you are greater than the apostle Peter! Read the September 20, 2020 post, What Will It Profit A Man?, under the
category, The Cause. You can pick up a copy of the book at your favorite internet book seller and in the Strong Man Store.
3 The completed written New Testament we have today became widely accepted in the fourth century A.D.
4 See the September 8, 2019 post, Confusing The Issue, under the category, Call To Repent.
5 Paul and Peter are in harmony on this enduring point of biblical doctrine where it plays out first in the home (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:1-5; 1 Peter 3:
1-7). In consistency, the apostle Paul also teaches how this doctrine is to be manifested and honored secondarily in the local churches (1 Corinthians 14:34-40; 1 Timo-
thy 2:11-15). Not by corrupting God’s Word, but speaking and doing all things in accord with His will in it are Christians “salt,” “light” and distinctive in a dying world dark-
ened in rebellion against Him (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8-14, NKJV)!
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