The Lord has instructed us through the prophet Micah that we should never trust in a guide. “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.” (Micah 7:5) Why doesn’t God want us to trust in a guide?
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:16) Many leaders will lead us in the wrong direction, causing us to go astray. The result of following these leaders is that we will be destroyed. “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14) God loves us so much that He certainly does not want to see any of us destroyed.
As you know, we have been studying many things from the Word of God in these papers, which may be new to many of you. How do you know if these things are true or not? Can you simply go and ask your pastor if it is true and rely on whatever he tells you? Is this sufficient? Certainly not! We are required to search the Scriptures for ourselves to see “whether those things are so.” (Acts 17:11)
It is a sad reality that many people rely upon someone else to tell them what the Word of God says rather than searching the Scriptures for themselves to see what is truth. God gives us important warning regarding this type of reliance upon men.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8) If we trust in a man to tell us what the Bible says and what it means, then we will learn the hard way that it is far better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in men.
If we are just accepting everything the pastor tells us, without checking it out in the Bible for ourselves to see if it is true, then we are blindly following a guide. Many times the guide we are following is blindly following what someone else has told him. The terrible result of following someone like this is that both the leader and the followers will fall into the ditch, and ultimately be destroyed. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, …” (Hosea 4:6)
Beware of men
Jesus warned, “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.” (Matthew 10:17) Whenever someone comes to us and shares something with us, whether it seems to be gospel truth or contrary to what we have learned, we should be as the noble Bereans and receive it with readiness of mind, and search the Scriptures daily to see whether those things are so.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
If we just accept as truth whatever someone tells us, we will be carried about with every wind of doctrine, never coming unto the knowledge of the truth. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Jesus spoke many words of warning to us regarding this issue. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4) Jesus knew that men would try to deceive us, so He warned us to be extremely careful.
Jesus said, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:7-9)
The religious leaders of Christ’s day were deceiving the people. Christ spoke boldly to these deceivers. “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
Just as in Christ’s time, today there are many religious leaders who deceive those who follow them. It is a dangerous thing to believe errors. God has given each one of us the opportunity to study for ourselves to see what is truth. If we reject that opportunity, and believe a lie, we will be destroyed.
Paul warned us that the devil will come to us in the last days “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
The truth is very important, my friends. As we learned in the previous study, the truth is able to perfect us and save our souls. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to know what is truth.
Jesus instructed us to judge for ourselves what is right and not let someone else decide for us what is the truth. “Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57) The Bible speaks of those who believe whatever anyone tells them. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.“ (Proverbs 14:15)
If you have been believing what someone has told you without searching it out in the Scriptures to see if those things were so, then you are trusting in men. You will be devastated when your faith is tried unless you change your course now and study to show yourself approved. When your faith is tried to the limit—which it will be—you will find that you were only trusting in what someone has told you about the Bible. You will be impressed with the reality that this person may have been either lying to you, or was deceived himself.
“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” (Proverbs 25:19) Please, put not your trust in man. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” (Psalm 146:3)
No matter what has been told to you, it must have its foundation firmly planted in the Word of God—in your own experience—to be able to withstand scrutiny. If you cannot find plain proof in the Scriptures for what you believe it is evident that you should not believe it. No matter what source you got it from, whether from written literature, or by word of mouth, you must base your beliefs in the Word of God; not in the sayings of men.
Possibly you have been blindly following what someone else has told you. God’s Word tells us that God will personally lead each one of us. “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
How can we keep from being led astray by false teachers?
God has instructed us that we are to test the teachings of prophets or teachers by the Word of God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20) If what the preacher is telling us does not agree with what the Bible says, then it is proof that what he is saying is a lie. The Bereans have given us a good example to follow in studying the Bible.
Referring to the Bereans, Luke wrote, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Don’t just accept what the preacher is saying simply because he has studied for a long time and probably knows what is truth. Paul certainly had a good grasp on the truth, yet the Bereans would not accept what he was saying without first checking it out for themselves. Even if the preacher is preaching the truth, if we do not check it out for ourselves, we do not know for sure if what he is saying is true or not. It is very easy for Satan to tempt us to doubt the things we have been told if the only authority we have for it is merely that of a man. If after studying for ourselves to see if what the preacher is saying is the truth, we find that it is true, then Satan will have little chance of getting us to doubt the sure testimony from the Scripture.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) We have been instructed to study for ourselves, examining thoroughly each Bible verse that relates to the subject in question.
“Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and His spirit it hath gathered them.”(Isaiah 34:16) The Lord commanded what should be written and His Spirit guided the Bible writers as they wrote the truth.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, or “God breathed” as Jay P. Green’s Greek Interlinear Bible puts it. We have no need to doubt that the Word of God was inspired by Him.
“What is truth?”
Pilate asked Jesus this remarkable question. (John 18:38) This question is a very important one, and Jesus Himself gives us the answer to it in John 17:17: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The Word of God is truth, and if we want to know the truth, we must diligently study the Bible.
Paul wrote these words to Timothy: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:13-15)
Paul told Timothy to continue in the things which he had learned. Was Paul telling Timothy to continue in the things which he had learned from Paul? No. Paul goes on to say that Timothy had been assured of what he learned, knowing who he had learned them from. Timothy could be confident that what he had learned was true because he learned it directly from God through His Word. Paul continued to explain that Timothy knew the holy Scriptures since he was a child. The things that Timothy had learned, which he could be certain were true, he learned by diligent study of the Bible.
If Timothy had learned what he knew about the Bible from Paul only, then Timothy could not be sure if what he had learned was true. Since Timothy studied the Bible for himself to see if what Paul was teaching was the truth, he could be confident that he had learned the truth. Whenever we blindly accept what the preacher says, without studying the Bible for ourselves to see if it is truth, our faith is grounded in a man instead of on God. Surely you can see how unstable this kind of faith is. Sadly enough, many people ground their faith in no higher authority than in the man who stands behind the pulpit. Let us always examine for ourselves to see what is truth, by comparing what the preacher says with what the Bible says.
Diligently study the Bible
When we study the Bible to find out what is truth, we must examine every verse that pertains to the subject in question. If we only look at a small percentage of the verses dealing with a particular subject, we will have a distorted view of what the truth is.
Suppose you wanted to know which day is the Sabbath. You read this in Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” Maybe somebody had told you that the Lord’s day is Sunday, the first day of the week, because Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday. So you read this in Luke 24:1-3 “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, … And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”
Then to get you to believe that the Sabbath is the first day of the week, someone may tell you about Paul meeting with people on that day. So you read this in Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”From these few verses you may conclude that the Sabbath is Sunday, the first day of the week.
If we accept these few verses concerning this subject without examining all the rest of the verses talking about the Sabbath, then we would walk away with a misunderstanding of what God requires of us. We must also read Exodus 20:8-11. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
We can see from these verses that the Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and we must read the rest of the verses concerning the Sabbath to get a complete picture.
As you can see, if we just take a few verses concerning a particular subject, we could believe just about anything and think that it is taught in the Bible. Some people say, “You can prove anything you want from the Bible.” That is one of the most repulsive statements I have ever heard. The only way you could prove anything you want from the Bible is if the one you are proving it to does not study the Bible for themselves to see if it is true or not.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) We are instructed to try, or test, everything that we believe. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
Do not allow anyone to tell you what the truth is without studying the Bible for yourself to see if it is true.
When you study the Bible, you must examine thoroughly each Bible verse that pertains to that subject.
Hold the preacher accountable for what he is preaching. If you study the Bible to see if what the preacher is saying is the truth, and find that it is not true, then you must let him know.
My ideas and my studies, or those of anyone else, will not be sufficient to gain you entrance into the holy city. It is your own study and your own experience that will fit you for heaven.
May the Lord bless you as you study His Word to find out the truth for yourself.