WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 1, 2020
TOPIC: ALL CHRISTIANS MUST BE BIBLE STUDENTS
BY T. O. BANSO
“But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they seem so confident” (1 Timothy 1:6-7 New Living Translation).
The opinion of any servant of God or any Christian is not superior to the Bible. If the Bible says something, that should be final. We must not try to ‘rewrite’ the Bible. We must never make the Bible say what it has not said.
No minister of God wrote the Bible. Therefore, everyone should be very careful how he interprets scriptures, particularly the scriptures that the meaning may not be too clear. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (New King James Version).
I have seen cases where some people were quick to condemn others, whose understanding of some scriptures were different from theirs. But those they criticized had taken time to study the Bible rather than just hold on to popular but incorrect teachings.
We all need to be students of the Bible and not be content with the narrations of people who may not have opened the Bible to find out if what others have taught them is actually in the Bible or is exactly what the Bible says. Yet, they teach others same.
That’s why some Christians, including pastors, can still be talking about the three wise men! That’s not in the Bible. The Bible only talks about the wise men from the East; it doesn’t specify their number. But they came with three gifts (Matthew 2:1-12).
Christians today should be like the Berean Christians whom the Bible says were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica. They received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11). When believers fail to study the Bible personally, preachers whose teachings or preachings are inconsistent with the Bible get away with their errors and lead many astray.
In Deuteronomy 4:2, Moses told the children of Israel, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (New King James Version).
It is important to note that John gave a similar warning as he rounded off the book of Revelation. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 New King James Version).
What the LORD said in the Old Testament, He also said in the New Testament. Christians must be very careful not to violate these scriptures. If someone lacks understanding of a scripture, he should seek understanding, rather than make the scripture say what it does not say.
Teachers must first be teachable! Nobody knows everything in the Bible. Nevertheless, we should not rush to teach what we don’t understand. Seek more knowledge. This is very important for leaders and those who feed congregations or others through different channels. We must be very careful what we teach or preach.
In 1Timothy 1:3, Paul said when he left for Macedonia, he urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus and stop those who were teaching wrong doctrine. These false teachers were not outsiders. They were in the church.
Paul said, “But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they seem so confident” (1 Timothy 1:6-7 New Living Translation).
Christians should be well-fed with the correct Word of God, not the opinions of the founders of denominations or pastors of assemblies. One of the qualifications of a bishop in the Bible is that he should be apt to teach (1Timothy 3:2). To be apt to teach means to be able to teach. The Greek word for that phrase, apt to teach, is didaktikos, which means apt and skillful in teaching.
A bishop is “an overseer, elder, or pastor charged with the responsibility of spiritual leadership in a local church in New Testament times.” He feeds men and women, and should feed them with spiritual food that will make them healthy. He shouldn’t feed them with heresy, hearsay, fables, and so on.
Furthermore, 2 Timothy 2:24 says that the Lord’s servant must, among other things, be apt to teach. According to the New Living Translation, “They must be able to teach effectively” (2 Timothy 2:24). Our focus shouldn’t be on style of delivery alone while we neglect content. A bishop or an overseer “must know what he’s talking about” (1Timothy 3:2 The Message).
Those who teach or preach in church or in the mass media or in the social media should understand that they have a great responsibility. They should personally study the Word and not depend solely on the messages they have heard someone preach without confirming them from the Bible. This is important.
As you learn from others, don’t forget that not everything you hear or read is correct.
Remember these words of Paul we read earlier: “But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness” (1 Timothy 1:6 New Living Translation).
As you teach, don’t forget the warning in James 3:1: “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness” (New Living Translation). Be sure that what you teach or preach is sound and agrees with the Bible. Don’t lead people astray; and don’t let any minister lead you astray.
According to Malachi 2:7, the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. Ministers of God today should not be like the priests that Malachi spoke about. He said they departed from the way, caused many to stumble at the law and corrupted the covenant of Levi (verse 8).
You can’t give what you don’t have. A Bible teacher (or preacher) who lacks correct knowledge of the Word of God can only feed people with his ignorance! They will be victims of his ignorance. Jesus said, “The student shares the teacher’s fate. The servant shares the master’s fate” (Matthew 10:25a New Living Translation).
The desire to be a teacher of the Word of God is not enough; you must seek understanding, so that you don’t teach heresy or errors, and lead people astray. More importantly, everybody should know the gift(s) that God has given him, educate himself and use his gift(s) with humility.
“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-30 New King James Version). No!
Every servant of God should work hard to present himself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and rightly divides or correctly explains the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Every Christian should do the same, as a good student of the Bible.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINT: Holy Spirit, grant me understanding as I study my Bible/Holy Spirit, help me to be able to teach the Word of God effectively. Let my lips keep knowledge.
(For over 280 in-depth and insightful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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