Misuse of the Bible

“. . . his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

It is vitally important for every Christian to study and use the Scriptures, for they constitute our only real authority (note Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; 14:26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; etc.). In doing this, however, it is just as important that we not misuse the Scriptures, for this can be almost as dangerous as ignoring them altogether.

Many people twist the Scriptures, seeking to make them fit some opinion of their own, hoping thereby to give a pseudo-biblical authority to their peculiar prejudices, instead of allowing the Lord to say what He means. Such distortion of Scripture has generated a plethora of cults and heresies—past and present. This was essentially Christ’s view of the Pharisees: “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

Similar—perhaps even worse—is claiming to receive new Scripture, or perhaps new (and authoritative) insight on existing Scripture. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2). “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).

Cults and heretics distort and supplement the Scriptures, but still deadlier are the liberals who try to explain away the Scriptures. “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:19). This act of distorting and then denying God’s Word (“Yea, hath God said. . . . Ye shall not surely die,” Genesis 3:1, 4) was the very lie of Satan which brought sin into the world. No wonder the Bible warns so severely against it! HMM

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