When you hear someone teach, it is always a good idea to check it out by searching the scriptures for yourself. It doesn’t matter who the teacher, author, pastor, evangelist, pastor, or apostle is… compare it with the Word before you accept it as truth.
Acts 17:11 “…they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
If a teaching is in error, remember no minister or ministry is perfect. Some things you can overlook, however, there are some ministries where the teaching or the teacher could cause serious error, open the door to sin or spirits, make provisions for abuse, and cause a reproach on the cause for Christ. I John 4:1-6
Here are some tips to make sure what you take in is something right and true:
- Is the teaching mentioned in the Word?
- Is it in the Word at least two or three times?
- Is any part of the teaching outside of the Word?
- Does the teaching line up with the context surrounding it in the Word?
- Does the teaching line up with other Scripture?
- Is the Holy Spirit giving you the okay in your heart?
- Does the teaching lift up God or does the teaching lift up the teacher?
- Is the teaching straight-forward or does it require excessive explanation?
- Does the teaching make sense literally? If so, is it being explained away?
- Would the teacher mind if you search the Scripture to corroborate the teaching?
If there is a teaching that does not line up with the Bible, it doesn’t matter if the teacher is educated, well-known, well-spoken, charismatic, has signs and wonders in demonstration, or quotes other Scripture, if there is a portion of teaching that is not in the Word or does not agree with other Scripture, don’t swallow that portion. Error is often wrapped up in truth to disguise it, deceiving even the most educated. It has been said, “Eat the fish, leave the bones.” Not every teacher teaches perfectly, everyone is subject to missing it here or there, so learn what to take in and what not to take in.
It’s also important to major on the majors and minor on the minors. When you understand the major points in the Word of God, you are doing well. If something is minor, and you’re not sure what to believe, it’s okay not to know everything. People have gotten into error and arguments when putting too much focus on trying to understand something minor that isn’t supported by scripture. It often leads to speculations and opinions, which are not beneficial or edifying. Once going down a wrong road, a believer can open himself or herself up to further deception or even devilish influence. Stick to the Word!
I Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”
You can be better equipped from deception, error, and the trickery of the enemy when you:
- Honor the Lord more than you honor a person or a ministry.
- Honor the Word more than you honor a person or a ministry.
- Honor the Holy Spirit more than you honor a person or a ministry.
- Show respect, but be careful not to put any person on a pedestal.
- Search for the value of humility in your authority.
- Ask the Lord for discernment, not suspicion, for truth and for motive.
- Study the Scripture so you recognize a counterfeit.
- Recognize a deal to sell-out your integrity when you get behind closed doors
- Find a humble pastor and church leadership that teach truth
- Find mature Christians to give you counsel.
The Lord will guide you when it’s Him that you truly want to know. Seek to know the truth about the Lord, and He will reveal Himself to you.
II Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”