A few weeks ago, while driving home after running errands, I happened to tune into a radio station as a caller was asking the host to whom Jesus had revealed Himself after His resurrection but before His ascension into Heaven. I frowned at the radio, wondering why this woman didn’t just open her Bible to the New Testament and read the account for herself. Why was she relying on some program host to tell her what was right there at her fingertips?
Many Christians today are like this woman: we attend or listen in on a Sunday morning message given by someone we assume has read his or her Bible. Then we go about the week without ever cracking the spine of our own Bibles. But how do we know the message preached on Sunday is accurate if we’re not weighing it against Scripture? Spouting random Bible verses isn’t enough. We must read those verses in context of the greater chapter, in context of the book, in context of the Bible as a whole. And we must approach Scripture as being God-breathed, not man-corrupted. If our pastor or priest is downplaying the authority and inerrancy of the Bible, we need to find a different church. (Answers in Genesis, Creation Moments, Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ and Case for Faith, Jack Hibbs, Mom Strong International (Heidi St. John), Amir Tsarfati, Alisa Childers are just a few resources where you can find a wealth of information on the validity, accuracy, historicity, etc., of Scripture.)
The following are some of the false doctrines/teachings that have infiltrated America’s churches because too many have drifted from a biblical worldview:
- Prosperity Gospel (seeking after riches, or seeking after God for the purpose of riches)
- Hyper-grace (preaching about a God who is all love and never condemns)
- Deification of Man (American gospel is all about “me,” rather than all about God)
- Undermining the authority of Scripture (when God’s Word contradicts our feelings, we question Him and relegate Him to our standards, rather than laying aside our feelings to conform to His Word and His standards)
- Rejection of Hell (self-explanatory and anti-biblical)
- Universal Reconciliation (in the end, everyone makes it to Heaven (even Hitler))
- Critical Race Theory (for that explanation, I will send you to a recent interview with Voddie Baucham here)
Did you know some churches even teach that Jesus was a sinner? Listen, if our Savior has sinned, then we don’t have a Savior, and we’re still dead in our transgressions before God and have no hope of being reconciled with Him.
One of the best ways to recognize false teaching is by reading the Bible. I’m sure many of you have heard about the way bank tellers recognize a false $100 bill. They don’t spend oodles of time and energy studying all the different examples of false $100 bills. They only study an authentic bill. That way, they know instantly when/if they’re ever presented with a fake one. The same holds true for the Christian. To know when we’re faced with false teaching, we must first be reading verified teaching: the Bible.
In 2002, Janet Pope wrote a book called, His Word in my Heart, which is about memorizing whole books of the Bible. Not so that we can be some lofty Bible scholar and beat others over their heads with our knowledge, but to know the Lord. To know what He’s revealed, how it relates to other biblical passages, what it means in context, how it applies to us in the 21stcentury. Janet lays out the steps in an easy-to-follow, and easy-to-implement fashion. The gist is to memorize one verse per day, by writing out the verse on a 3×5 card, carrying it with you throughout the day as you repeat it a dozen times or more. By the time your head hits the pillow, you will have that verse memorized. The next day, you add the next verse, either writing it beneath the first one, or writing it on its own card, and you’ll review both those verses throughout the day. By the end of the week, you’ll have 5-7 verses memorized; by the end of the month, 20-30 verses (don’t go all legalistic on this; go at your own pace. If you need two days for one verse, or you want to take a break over the weekend, do it).
Having felt for some time that God was asking me to take this challenge, I started memorizing 2 Timothy back in September, 2019. By the time I reached chapter 3, I was getting panicky, wondering how in the world I’d be able to continue to retain and build upon all the verses I’d already memorized. And then I realized something: chapter 1 had already gone into long-term memory. I no longer had to review those verses every single day in order to retain them. And it became easier and quicker to memorize later verses.
It took about three months, but I memorized the four chapters of 2 Timothy. And while I did that, I memorized the first eighteen verses of John, because let’s face it, those are some of the best verses in the Gospels. 😉 Once I finished 2 Timothy, I dove into the book of 1 John.
And then COVID-mania hit. And I’d be lying if I told you my attempt to continue memorizing Scripture was smooth sailing in 2020. It wasn’t. I lost steam, motivation, enthusiasm. I would go several days without adding a new verse. 1 John took me at least six months to learn, and even now there are places where I still get the wording mixed up (read the first couple of chapters; you’ll see John often says the same thing in different ways. Wish I could have been there to edit him—haha! (I’m totally kidding. Every word that’s in the Bible is there for a reason!)).
I’m currently memorizing Colossians, with just a few verses to go before I reach the end. I don’t tell you this to brag or make you think I’m awesome. Memorizing Scripture is one of the most humbling things we can do, because we come to realize on a new level just how flawed we are, and just how much we need a Savior. No, I’m telling you this to encourage you to get into God’s Word—because if I can memorize almost three books, so can you.
And I tell you this because I want to be held accountable. I’m not kidding in that I’ve lost motivation. We’re in April 2021, and I started 2 Timothy in Sept 2019. Do the math. I kept putting off writing this post because I wanted to first make sure I had it all together, figured out, and that I was “walking the walk” before encouraging you to try something similar. But knowing how I operate, I think that in admitting I’m floundering, but confessing to a bunch of people what I’m doing will help spur me on to continue practicing what I’m “preaching.” Not that I consider this preaching, but I hope you know what I’m trying to say. This isn’t about me. In a world gone bonkers, where right is now wrong and bullies rule the playground, let’s motivate ourselves to first turn to the Word for guidance before turning to that flat screen or mobile device or New York Times’ bestseller. A well-worn Bible is a well-loved Bible. 🙂