WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 27, 2020
TOPIC: DON’T TWIST THE SCRIPTURES
BY T. O. BANSO
“Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture — and the result is disaster for them” (2 Peter 3:16 New Living Translation).
Since the days of the early church, false teachers have been a problem in the church. These are not enemies without, but enemies within. As said by one of England’s foremost outdoor evangelists, Leonard Ravenhill, “The Holy Book of the living God suffers more today from its exponents than from opponents!”
Writing to the church at large, Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (New King James Version).
Nobody knows everything. One may not understand accurately what some scriptures mean; but one should endeavour to learn and understand by the help of the Holy Spirit, through personal study and learning from those who may have more understanding than one so that one doesn’t become a false teacher.
For instance, the Bible describes a Jew named Apollos, as an eloquent speaker. He knew the Scriptures well. He came to Ephesus but was born in Alexandria in Egypt (Acts 18:24). He had been taught the way of the LORD and talked to others at Ephesus with great enthusiasm and accuracy about Jesus. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. His message was, therefore, incomplete.
Apparently he didn’t know about the finished work of Jesus on the cross and other events that followed – His resurrection and ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. He knew only the baptism of John.
In his audience was a couple who knew what Apollos didn’t know. The Bible says, “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26 New Living Translation). I’m sure Apollos preached more accurate messages from then on.
There was another man who didn’t understand the scripture he was reading. The Bible calls him the Ethiopian eunuch. It was Phillip that God sent to help him out of his ignorance (Acts 8:26-40). It is possible to be ignorant of some scriptures, but one should seek knowledge. One should never persist in ignorance or become a false teacher.
Peter said about Paul’s letters that “Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture — and the result is disaster for them” (2 Peter 3:16 New Living Translation). These false teachers were twisting the letters of Paul to say what he didn’t say. They also twisted other scriptures. Many still do that today, most times, deliberately, for selfish benefits.
Psalm 119:89 says forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Anyone can make the scriptures say whatever he wants them to say, but he will be doing that to his own destruction. Don’t change the Scriptures to satisfy your life; change your life to satisfy the Scriptures. Don’t twist scriptures to support your favourite sins, and justify your sins. Repent and obey the Word of God. Don’t interpret the scriptures to suit your opinions and preferences.
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).
The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible; you didn’t. 2 Peter 1:21 says it was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God, not because they wanted to prophesy.
Ask the Holy Spirit to explain to you the scriptures. For proper understanding, compare scripture with scripture. Let scripture explain scripture to you. Don’t twist scriptures to say what you want them to say. Also, beware of false teachers who twist scriptures for filthy lucre – money. Avoid greed and covetousness, which make some people twist scriptures to manipulate and exploit their victims.
Don’t listen to false teachers and don’t be a false teacher. Speak sound doctrine. Paul wrote to Titus to speak the things which were proper for sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). This also applies to all Christians, especially those who teach or preach the Word of God.
Avoid proof-texting; don’t pull selected verses from the Bible as independent scriptures and give them meanings the writers did not intend. Don’t quote scriptures out of context. Paul told Timothy, which also applies to every servant of God, “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).
In other words, God’s servants should correctly explain or accurately deliver the word of truth. There should be no twisting of the scriptures for selfish gains.
In Deuteronomy 4:2, Moses warned 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 significant that a similar warning is given towards the end of the last chapter of the Bible. Revelation 22:18-19 says, “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” (New King James Version).
Don’t twist the Scriptures by adding to them or removing from them to make them say what they do not say or by deliberately misinterpreting verses 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, help me to understand and present the Word of God correctly. Let me not twist the Word of God. Father give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You. Let the eyes of my understanding be enlightened.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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