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Passionate sermons, enlightening blog posts, riveting articles…we are exposed to all kinds of ways to grow in our knowledge of God’s Word. I’m thankful for those who take the time to teach, inspire, and motivate. However, it’s important to remember that as the reader or listener, it’s our responsibility to check and see that what is being taught is biblically sound.
Even if the speaker, writer, or teacher is beloved or well-known, we must compare his or her thoughts with the Word of God. Even if the blogger has the ability to hook us in by sharing “new” insight or persuasive suggestions, we must check to see that there is Truth behind the wit or the plea. If we swallow a lie, we can’t blame the preacher, the parents, or the husband. We take personal responsibility. And the only way to know whether what we are hearing is true or false is to do our homework. The Bible has plenty to say about that.
In the front of your Bible, write: Deut. 18:17-22
But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’…
In verse 17, God talks about the prophet who will speak the words that He has put into his mouth. Then He mentions those who claim to speak His words but don’t. Underline all of verse 20. In verse 21, squiggly underline “How will we know.” In the margin, write “our responsibility.” God answers that question in verse 22. At the end of the verse, write Matt. 7:15-20.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…
Circle “false prophets.” Squiggly underline “you will know them by their fruits” found in verses 16 and 20. Notice the appearance of the false prophets. They look like sheep. They look like the real deal. Again, it’s our responsibility to “know them.” At the end of the verse, write Acts 17:10,11.
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for the received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Put a square around “synagogue” in verse 12. This was the location of religious learning and yet the listeners still did their homework. Underline “examining the Scriptures daily” and squiggly underline “to see whether these things were so.” At the end of the verse, write 18:24-26.
…And he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
In verse 24, underline “he was mighty in the Scriptures.” In verse 25, underline “instructed in the way of the Lord.” Circle his demeanor: “fervent in spirit” in verse 25 and “boldly” in verse 26. Put a square around “synagogue” in verse 26. In the margin next to verses 25 and 26, write “taught what he knew.” Apollos wasn’t intending to deceive but he had some more learning to do. In verse 26, squiggly underline “explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Not everyone who misleads means to. Sometimes they are confused or just misunderstand a passage. It’s still our responsibility to be able to know when the message isn’t quite right. At the end of the verse, write 20:28-31.
…From among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
This is no Apollos situation! These are self-serving men who are interested in gaining followers instead of pointing others to Christ. How sad when those we love fall into this trap! That’s why it’s essential to study for ourselves and to teach our children and loved ones to do the same. It’s so important that the elders were told to “be on guard” (verse 28) and “be on the alert” (verse 31). Draw a square around both of those phrases. At the end of the passage, write 2 Cor. 11:3, 4.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ…
Circle “deceived” and “led astray” in verse three. Underline “preaches another Jesus” and “a different gospel” in verse four. At the end of the verse, write v. 13-15.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ…
Underline “false apostles” and “deceitful workers” in verse 13. Circle both occurrences of “disguising themselves” in verses 13 and 15. At the end of the verse, write 13:5.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!
Underline that whole first sentence. In the margin write “Am I following the word of Christ or the word of men?” At the end of the verse, write Gal. 1:6-9.
…There are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ…
In verse six, underline “different gospel.” In verse seven, underline “distort the gospel.” Draw a square around all of verses eight and nine. No matter who claims to have a new message (even an angel from heaven!), we should discard that message. The gospel that was delivered then still stands now. This truth is so important that Paul repeats himself. In the margin next to verses eight and nine write “Double emphasis!” At the end of the passage, write Eph. 4:14.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.
Circle “tossed here and there” and “carried about” in verse 14. Underline “trickery of men,” “craftiness,” and “deceitful scheming” in verse 14. At the end of the verse, write 1 Tim. 4:1-3.
…Some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…
Underline “some will fall away from the faith.” In the margin next to verse three, write “Binding where God has not bound.” At the end of the verse, write 2 Tim. 4:2-4.
…For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Underline “teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will aside to myths.” In the margin, write “Do I desire truth or myths?” At the end of the verse, write 2 Pet. 2:1-3.
But false prophets will arise among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you…
In verse one, circle “false prophets” and “false teachers.” In verse two, underline “the way of the truth will be maligned.” Draw a square around “maligned” and in the margin next to it, write “spoken against.” In verse three, underline “false words.”
For the sake of article space, we’ll end here. If you’d like to add more, you can go to 2 Pet. 3:16,17; 1 John 4:1; Jude 3,4; and Rev. 20:10. God has much to say about the importance of paying attention to what is being taught!