Have you ever been sitting in Church, or reading something written by a "Christian", and got the feeling that what you were reading or what you were being taught, just wasn't quite right? Sometimes people and even pastors or spiritual leaders make compelling arguments for things that just aren't scriptural. These arguments will often seemingly be backed by scripture. We know that satan wants to deceive us and I suggest that he often tricks well-meaning people into believing falsehoods. Those well meaning people will in-turn, unknowingly continue the deception. Here are some of satan's tricks:
#1. Taking biblical verses out of context. Biblical verses can be taken out of context in order to project a message that is exactly contrary to what was intended by the writer of the Biblical verses. Here is a real example of how some people have been mislead. Take a look at
Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Satan has inspired some to teach that this is just a rest period and then God begins to create again and actually creates Adam after this, in verse 2:7 of Genesis.
Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
By taking these two verses out of context we now have a double creation of man. The first creation is said to take place on day six in Genesis 1:27 which reads:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The second creation is then said to take place on a day, past day 7 as we read in verse 2:7. However, when we read these two chapters in context, we realize that chapter 2 is a re-telling of chapter 1, and that Chapter 2 simply fills in some details that were not mentioned in chapter 1. When we further study the nuances of the ancient Hebrew culture, we learn that this was a common way of telling a story. An outline of the story was told at the beginning, and then a more descriptive retelling followed which built upon the foundation of the first.
#2. Sometimes only a portion of a verse will be used.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man
If we read just that part of the verse, we might come to the conclusion that God would not always be around. Maybe God is not eternal. To get the true meaning of the verse we must read the entire verse.
Gen 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
When we read the entire verse we see that it is man who has a limit placed on his life, not God.
#3. Sometimes a word may simply be changed which will change the meaning of the verse.
Gen 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
This verse has been used for centuries to justify slavery, yet the word slave is not found in the verse. An intentional slip of the tongue can quickly change "servant" to "slave".
#4. Sometimes the word of God requires research to understand a particular verse.
Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
At first glance, this verse may have us thinking that angels were marrying earthly women. A more in-depth study of the bible will reveal that the Sons of God are simply God fearing men, righteous men. We can know this by reading
Rom_8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
There are several other verses that also tell us the same thing such as:John 1:12, 1 Romans 8:19, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1 and 1 John 3:2. The daughters of men are simply the daughters of the unrighteous.
#5. Using writings other than the Bible. The quickest way to be misled is by reading a book that is not inspired by God. Many people will read other books such as the book of Enoch and come up with all sorts of wild ideas. This is exactly what satan would have us do. If we are being taught from a book other than the Bible, we should be on guard. If those teachings contradict the Bible, it is a falsehood and should not be believed. This goes for textbooks, as well as other writings. 2 Timothy tells us that the Bible is all we need. The Bible is sufficient.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Should one search other writings, when one cannot even fully comprehend the Bible? I dare to say there is no one alive that can fully comprehend the Bible. Why then would any of us seek further instruction until we have mastered our first lesson book? I propose that such things are only attempted through satan inspired arrogance. Surely there are those who sincerely study the word of God who also search out other writings as educational aids. I too have done this, yet only as an additional evidence of what is already apparent in the word of God. It is when we add to the Bible, detract from the Bible, or change the Bible based upon other writings, that we have fallen into the hands of the great deceiver.
These are a few of the tricks that satan uses in his war against us. Knowing them can help us to avoid these pitfalls. We also have a measuring stick in the Bible that is rarely mentioned. There are four verses in the Bible that we can use to measure the validity of every single thing we are taught. Those four verses contain the two great commandments. They are:
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment. Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
That last verse tells us that everything in the old testament and everything in the new testament is based on these two fundamental teachings.
If we love God with all of our heart, we will want to please God above all things. We will have compassion for God and will not wish to cause God to grieve. If we are being taught to do something that would cause God to grieve, we are being taught a lie. Idol worship comes to mind. This includes everything from sports and rock stars, to television, to zeus.
If we love God with all our soul, we will want to preserve our soul for him. If we are being taught that a particular sin is OK, we are being led astray. Fornication, abortion, homosexuality and so many more sins come to mind. The "if it feels good, do it" society we live in today is often catered to in houses of worship all across this country. There are too many "spiritual leaders" who are willing to embrace the current culture and preach exactly what people want to hear, instead of what the Bible teaches.
If we love God with all of our mind we will believe the word of God without question. If someone is telling us something that is contrary to the word of God, they are in violation of the first commandment. They are teaching a falsehood. Evolution comes to mind.
If we love our neighbor as we love our self, we will not hate. This doesn't say love thy neighbor that loves you. It doesn't say love thy neighbor that will not persecute you. It does not say to love thy neighbor that you agree with. It doesn't say to love thy neighbor that is not a homosexual. It doesn't say to love thy neighbor that is the same race as you. It says "love thy neighbor." If we are being taught to treat someone in a manner that is contrary to how we would like to be treated, we are being taught a falsehood. If we are being taught to treat anyone with anything other than love and kindness, we are being mislead. If we are being taught to hate another religion, we are being led into sin. If we are being taught to be judgemental of others, we are being taught a lie. If we are being led to argue God's word with others, we are doing satan's work. We are causing division and confusion among ourselves and have failed the second great commandment. Some people will not believe the truth. We should also not be so arrogant as to think we have all of the answers. For if we are, then we have failed the first great commandment. If we love our neighbor as our self, we will indeed be mocked and persecuted. This is the price that the righteous are required to pay. The Bible tells us this is true.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
It doesn't say some that live godly. It says all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Above all, never let anyone discourage you from reading the Bible for yourself.
By Robby Lockeby