Study the Bible for Yourself

Samuel Smith

Study the Bible for Yourself

We should beware of supposing that a particular pastor is to be trusted with all our heart. Even though he may preach a great deal of truth, he may still hold on to some unsound views. Such a pastor is precisely the man to do us harm. Poison is always most dangerous when it is given in small doses and mixed with wholesome food.

Let us beware of being taken in by the apparent earnestness of many of the pastors and upholders of false doctrine at this end of the world. We should remember that zeal and sincerity and fervor are no proof whatever that a particular pastor is working for Christ, and ought to believed. There is no doubt that Peter was very earnest when he asked our Lord Jesus not to go to the Cross; yet our Lord said to him, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan.’ There is no doubt that Saul was extremely earnest when he went to and fro persecuting Christians; yet he did it ignorantly, and his zeal was not according to knowledge. It is an awful and frightening fact that, ‘Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14). Of all the delusions common in these evil last days, there is none greater than the common notion that ‘if a man is earnest about his religion l, then he must be a good man!’ Let us beware of being carried away by this delusion. Let us beware of being led astray by ‘earnest - minded men!’ Earnestness is in itself an excellent thing; but it must be earnestness in behalf of Christ and His WHOLE TRUTH, or else it is worth nothing at all.

Several things combine to make false doctrines in these end times especially dangerous. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their ‘earnestness’ makes many of us think they must be right and ought to be believed. Many of those who teach very false and deadly doctrines have a great appearance of learning and Biblical knowledge. As a result, many of us fancy that such clever and intellectual men and women must surely be safe guides. There is a general freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry in these last days. Many of us like to prove our independence of judgment, by believing false doctrines. Majority of us have the widespread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded. Many of us feel ashamed to pointedly tell those who teach doctrines that are contrary to the Bible that they are grossly wrong and mistaken.

There is a great quantity of half-truths taught by false teachers in our world today. Most of the false teachers in this day are continuously using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural manner. There is an intense craving in the minds of most people for a more ceremonial, sensational and showy church services. Most of us do not like the inward, invisible heart work that God requires us to do. We have the silly readiness to believe any supposedly called man or woman of God who talks cleverly, lovingly, and earnestly, and we tend to forget that Satan is often ‘transformed into an angel of light’ (2 Corinthians 11:14).

There is a wide-spread ‘readiness to be deceived’ among those of us that claim to be Christians. Any heretic who tells us his or her story plausibly is sure to be believed, and sadly enough, anyone who doubts him or her is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded person. All these things are clear signs and indicators of the last days in which we live. Can those of us who are very observant deny them? They make it more than ever needful for me to cry aloud to all of you reading this short article that, ‘Be not carried about by divers and strange doctrines'

Any of us may have a pastor who is a man of God indeed, and worthy of all honor for his preaching and practice; but do not make a God of him. Do not uphold his words as if they were of a higher authority than the Scriptures. Do not spoil him by flattery. Do not let him suppose he can make no mistakes. Do not lean your whole weight on his opinion, or you may find to your eternal cost that he can err. It is written of Joash, King of Judah, that he ‘did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest’ (2 Chronicles 24:2). Jehoiada died, and then died the obedience of Joash.

Just so your pastor may die, and then your Christianity may die too. Just so your pastor may change, and your Christianity may change. Just so your beloved pastor may cease to trust in God and you may cease to trust in God too. Oh, my dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we should not be content with a Christianity that is built upon man! Let none of us be satisfied with saying, ‘I have hope, because my own pastor has told me such and such things.’ Everyone should seek to be able to say, ‘I have hope, because I find it thus and thus written in the WORD OF GOD.’ If our peace is to be solid, each and everyone of us must go by himself or herself to the fountain of all truth. If our comforts are to be lasting, we must visit the well of life by ourselves and draw fresh water for our own souls. Our pastors may depart from the faith and abandon Christianity altogether. The visible Church may be disintegrated by persecution. But any of us who has the WORD OF GOD written in his or her heart, has a foundation below his or her feet which will never fail him or her. We should honor our pastors as faithful ambassadors and representatives of Christ. We should esteem them very highly in love for the sake of their work. But we should NEVER FORGET that infallibility is not to be found in our pastors, but in the Bible.

Does anyone ask me, What is the best safeguard against the various false doctrines in these dangerous last days? - I answer in only three words, ‘THE HOLY BIBLE. The Holy Bible regularly read, the Holy Bible regularly prayed over, the Holy Bible regularly studied, is the best guard and weapon against being deceived by the teachers of error. We must go back to the old prescription of Jesus, our Saviour: ‘SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES' (John 5:39). If we want a weapon to wield against the devices of Satan, there is nothing like ‘the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.’ But to wield it successfully, we must read it habitually, diligently, intelligently, and prayerfully. This is a point on which, I fear, many of us who are Christians fail. In this age of hurry and bustle and intense business activities, few of us read our Bibles as much as we should. Perhaps we read more of other worldly books, yet less of the only one BOOK which makes us 'wise unto salvation'. Teachers of error could never have made such havoc on many if there had not been a most superficial knowledge of the Scriptures throughout the entire world. Let me conclude by saying that the strength of the church is dependent on members who passionately study their Bibles for themselves.

Paul Fonsi