Keeping ourselves from buying into false teaching — or getting out of it, if we’ve already succumbed to it — is not complicated, but it does take some effort. There are three steps, and we’ll look at the first one today:
Read the Bible, cover to cover, over and over.
A lot of the doctrinal error people are swallowing today would not be able to get a beginning foothold if we Christians would read the Bible consistently. Eventually, neglect of the Word shows up in what we say, how we act, and what we are willing to believe.
I have asked prophetic people who were a little bit skewed in their prophetic words whether they spent much time in Scripture. The answer goes something like this: “I read books by prophetic teachers all the time. I feel I get enough Bible as I do that.”
No, you don’t. What you get is a smattering of Scripture — whether a verse or a whole passage — followed by someone’s interpretation (right or wrong) of what it means. And it sounds very plausible, because an adept teacher will state his case well. But the verse or passage might be taken out of context, and even if it isn’t, if you don’t read the whole Bible for yourself, you aren’t getting the entire counsel of God. At best, you will end up getting just an angle on God’s truth here and there, not the complete picture. And that is one way people get off — by knowing only a part of the truth. At worst, you could be soaking up seeming truth that really is not truth at all.
I like to read in both the Old and New Testaments at the same time. I ask the Lord to (figuratively) read over my shoulder and point out truths to me which I have not seen or understood before. I often pray in tongues while reading, to keep communion between the Holy Spirit and me flowing.
Listening to Scripture is another great way to get the Word into yourself, and many times hearing it spoken will bring things to light that you didn’t catch while reading silently. There are plenty of free audio Bibles online for you to choose from.
The Word of God brings supernatural cleansing to our minds — the “renewed mind” mentioned in Romans 12:2. Jesus told His disciples, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).
The apostle Paul says Jesus sanctifies and cleanses His Church “with the washing of water by the word” so that it will be a glorious Church (Ephesians 5:25-27).
We’ll go on to Step #2 next time.