WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 23, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T ADD TO OR SUBTRACT FROM THE WORD OF GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 New King James Version).
When God created man, He put Adam in the Garden of Eden with a clear command. He said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17 New King James Version).
This command was not ambiguous, and God expected man to obey it. Sometimes later, God made Eve from one of Adam’s ribs so that he would not be alone in the garden. Unfortunately, the serpent came to deceive Eve. “And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b New King James Version).
Eve’s reply showed that she was aware of the command God had given Adam regarding the fruits in the Garden but probably her knowledge was not accurate. “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’” (verses 2-3 New King James Version).
If you compare God’s command to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 and what Eve said, you will see that Eve did not quote God correctly. God told Adam not to eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but Eve described the tree as the fruit of the tree which was in the midst of the garden. Could it be that she didn’t know the name of the tree or the particular tree? Was this Adam’s fault or hers? Eve also added to the Word of God. God never said the day they touched the fruit in question they would die. he said “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” In any case, why touch the fruit God has commanded you not to eat? That would amount to tempting yourself!
Nevertheless, the point is that Eve added to the Word of God. Whatever her reason for for doing that, the serpent engaged her in further discussion and convinced her to eat the fruit. She did and gave her husband, who ate it also. The consequence: man fell.
Many people will regard Eve’s addition to the Word of God as insignificant. That’s the beginning of the problem with people who add to the Word of God. They consider their addition to the Word of God as something that could be ignored. But that’s an error. It is dangerous. Those who think like this go from small additions to the Word of God to outright fabrication! They invent their message and put God’s stamp on it! This is still adding to the Word of God.
Adding to the Word of God makes whoever does so a liar. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 New King James Version).
Everyone, including ministers of the Gospel, should regularly study the Bible and understand what God says in His Word. We should be careful not to add to His Word or subtract from it. This can happen because of ignorance of the scriptures, misinterpretation of the Word, personal gain, and so on. We must not make the Bible say what God is not saying.
Joshua 1:8-9 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (New King James Version).
God is watching over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). But He won’t perform what He has not written in His Word, which someone out of ignorance, laziness, wrong motives, or misguided zeal has attributed to Him.
Some ministers are guilty of adding to the Word of God or subtracting from it, either in the preaching or teaching of the Word of God or in giving prophecies. If the Bible has not said something, don’t credit it to it. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 New King James Version).
There are things one can describe as the tradition of the elders today in the body of Christ, like that of the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus rebuked. Such traditions are believed by those ignorant as being in the Bible. But this is no so. “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’ He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?’” (Matthew 15:1-3 New King James Version).
The doctrines of a denomination or church should not be presented as Bible doctrines if they‘re not. We must differentiate between the two, especially where they don’t agree. Some denominations see themselves as holier than others just because of their doctrines, which are not Bible doctrines. But their members think so although their leaders could know better.
There are prophets who, for different reasons, add to the messages they receive from the Lord. This shows that they lack the fear of God. Otherwise, they would have trembled at His Word and not have added to it. “Hear the word of the Lord, You who tremble at His word” (Isaiah 66:5a New King James Version).
Ministers who add to His Word show their contempt for God. If God has given you a word or message for someone or some people, why add to it? Or why subtract from it? Why act as if you’re the author? Are you saying you know more than God?
Some people run into trouble when they try to interpret prophecies or other divine communications that they don’t understand but they speak with boldness. They end up confusing or misleading their listeners or those the messages are meant for. Declare the Word that God has given you. Keep quiet when God has stopped talking or is not talking. If you don’t understand the message, just declare it and don’t mislead your audience. Somebody else could understand the meaning or you and those concerned could pray for understanding.
Don’t add to the Word of God or subtract from it. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation; for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
God said in Deuteronomy 4:2, “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).
Some people add to the Word of God through exaggeration. Be careful! Differentiate between your opinions or views and what God says in His Word. Don’t present your opinions as if they are scriptures.
God forbids adding to or subtracting from His Word. Again, He says in Deuteronomy 12:32, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (New King James Version).
To round off the Bible in the book of Revelation, God gives a warning against adding or taking away from the book. “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; 19 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).
Your attitude to the Word of God shows how much regard you have for God. To add to His Word or subtract from it deliberately does not show that you honour God who has magnified His word above all His name (Psalm 138:2). Don’t add to the Word of God or subtract from it.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to study, meditate on, and understand the Word of God and not be a forgetful hearer. Help me to study, rightly dividing the word of truth, and not to add to the Word of God or subtract from it. Help me to be a doer of Your word. Father, I shall not add to or take away from Your Word in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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