Why We All Need to Study the Bible

I am a passionate fan of Bible studies (can’t you tell?). I love to fill my mind and heart with Jesus-honoring sermons, podcasts, books, etc. 

However, there is a stumbling stone here that, if I’m not careful will trip me up. Collecting Bible-based content is good, but only to a point. The creators of these things, are after all, human. And humans have a tendency to get things wrong sometimes. 

If we aren’t focusing on the wrong details, we are over-simplifying, over-complicating, or totally missing God’s point. It happens, even to pastors and public figures.

The job of teaching the Bible to others is extremely important and precarious. That’s why there are strict warnings regarding those who teach. These are referred to as false prophets.

What is a false prophet?

A false prophet is a person who spreads false teachings or messages while claiming to speak the Word of God. In the Bible, false prophets also spoke on behalf of false gods. False prophets functioned in their prophetic role illegitimately or for the purpose of deception. The Bible denounces false prophets for leading people astray.1

James 3:1 says: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” 

Matthew 18:6 says: “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

There are at least a hundred (most likely many more) references to false prophets throughout scripture and none of them end well.

2 Timoth 4:3-4 says: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

The bar is set high for those who have influence over others and woe to him or her who does not take the responsibility seriously.

Of course, believers still need godly interpreters and teachers to help us understand God’s word. Strong church leaders who are able to rightly and prayerfully consider scripture should teach it purely. But God also meant for us as individuals to study it for ourselves. 

One of the best things a Christian can do is take in the solid teaching of local church leaders and compare it to the Bible. Armed with this information and the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer, we can make the best judgement for ourselves whether what we are hearing matches up with what God has said.

A group of people from Berea in Acts chapter 17 did just that. When the apostle Paul came to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, they adopted the information carefully.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

1 John 4:1 warns: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

With the massive volume of information we have only a click away, it is vital to wisely and carefully discern the voices we allow into our heads. 

All scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

  1. “What does the Bible say about false prophets?” GotQuestions.org, 4 January, 2022, https://www.gotquestions.org/false-prophets.html. Accessed 29 September 2022.

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