If you’re reading because you’re wondering what I’m confused about, then the title of this post did its job. That’s my little confession that I need to get out of the way. I am not confused, but it seems that many other people are. I can understand how unbelievers can be confused. Indeed, 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that is exactly what we should expect of unbelievers. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:14. However, the issue, and the main point of this post is that so many professed Bible-believing Christians are confused about what the Bible says. Unfortunately, some are not merely confused, they have been deceived.
Let me get this out of the way as well. I won’t cover every doctrine that I know people will differ with me on. I am not the final authority, God’s word is. However, unless you are willing to sit down with me, over a cup of coffee or something like that, with our Bibles in front of us to discuss our differences in doctrine, I’m simply not interested. Let me also say that I am continuing to grow in Christ and I intend to continue until He calls me home some day. There will be some things that I will develop a better understanding of. I have been and will continue to grow in my understanding of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the things he has written in his word.
As I was thinking about this today, there were several topics that crossed my mind. I do not intend to cover the intricacies of each topic here, but there are several that I have thought of, especially regarding what I’m trying to say. My post is more about HOW people come to the conclusions they have/do and not so much about discussing those conclusions. I’ll list some, though probably not all of the topics that I have come across in my seventeen plus years of my Christian life and regular Bible study and interaction. Let me also say that just because someone differs with me on something like what may be on my list, I am NOT saying that they must not be saved. Only God knows their heart.
So, here are many, though not all of the topics that I’ve come across that I believe are not entirely biblical. Some are more important than others, though I won’t necessarily put them in order of importance. I’m just listing them as they come to mind. Also, bear in mind that some of these may be simply my own description/terms. Infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, Calvinism/Reformed Theology, Pre-wrath/mid-trib/post-trib rapture, covenant theology, replacement theology, nonresistance, earthly sinless perfection/entire sanctification, no eternal security of the believer. I’m sure there are more, but as I said, this is not necessarily an exhaustive list.
Now, I DO want to examine why I believe that people believe what I would claim are un-biblical doctrines/teachings about these (and more, I’m sure). In part, the underlying problem is simply biblical illiteracy. Now some will disagree here, claiming that they have indeed read their Bible all the way through at least once, but they still believe some of these things. From my personal experience, I have found one or more of three main reasons why this happens. First, people read/watch/listen to someone explain what they think the Bible says on these topics. Second, people use a “spiritual scalpel” with scripture and cut out certain verses or passages which seem to support their claims. Third, they simply have not studied what the Bible has to say on this and they simply do not know that their questions or claims are addressed in Scripture.
There are several issues that go along with the first one. Over and over again, regarding various topics, I have had well-meaning people tell me, “Just read this book/pamphlet, watch this video, listen to this audio by Dr. So and So and you’ll understand the doctrine. With all due respect to “Dr. So and So,” I’d rather sit with you and see what God’s word has to say. There is nothing wrong with commentaries and studies on scripture, but we need to understand that they are not inspired like scripture is. A really big part of this particular practice of reading/watching/listening to someone about the Bible is that most people don’t want to do the more difficult thing and study out ALL the Bible has to say. It’s easier to just read a quick “study” written/recorded by someone instead of doing your own study. Consider what the Apostle Paul said about the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11. They were more noble than their counterparts in Thessalonica because they “studied the scriptures daily,” to see if Paul was telling them the truth.
For those who use a spiritual scalpel and cut out verses that support their claims, they are in the same boat. In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, God says in his word that we are not to add to or take anything out of it. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19) The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that all scripture came from God and should be studied and used properly (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17). In Acts 20:27, Paul also tells the Ephesian Elders that he declared unto them ALL the “counsel of God.” We need to make sure that we are using all of God’s word to understand what he said and what he means.
A huge part of proper understanding is relying on the Holy Spirit to lead you (Psalm 119:18; John 14:26; John 17:17). Regular prayer and reading and study of your Bible is essential. Consider all that the Bible speaks to on the subject. Sometimes it really takes some digging.
Understand that there are just some things that we won’t understand. There are also some things that well-meaning Brothers and Sisters in Christ won’t agree on. If we can agree that the Bible is the final authority and be willing to sit with one another and see what God has to say about something, that is by far the best route.
Here is a list of scriptures for you to consider. Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Psalm 119:11, 18, 105; Proverbs 30:5-6; Job 23:12; Matthew 4:4; Mark 13:31; Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 22:18-19. Feel free to add to this list as you study God’s word!