…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Like to share some thoughts on teaching Jesus accurately, and how to avoid deceptive teaching.
We are all called to make disciples for Jesus (Matthew 28:19), hence we all are empowered by the Holy Spirit to teach & live out God’s word … whether its with our own family, one-on-one or in a group … at home, church or the marketplace.
41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Like Andrew its important to bring others personally to meet Jesus through our sharing/teaching … not a creed, tradition, self-help solution, good etc …
Like Andrew, we have to encounter Jesus Christ personally ourselves first.
When Jesus was questioned by the religious leaders after healing a man, He said,
John 5:39 (NIV)
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.
These are the very Scriptures that testify about me
The scriptures testify about Jesus.
Revelations 19:10 (KJV, NIV)
.. worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
.. Worship God! The Spirit of prophecy tells the truth about Jesus.
Let’s not be like the religious leaders who study the Scriptures diligently,
but missed the most important One,
… & missed sharing Jesus Christ.
1 Samuel 12:20,21 (NASB)
20 …. do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile.
Are we sharing Jesus or
futile things which can not profit or deliver ?
29 “But what about you?” he asked.
“Who do you say I am?”
Apollos’ attitude is inspiring — he taught Jesus accurately (Acts 18:25).
His fruitful teaching ministry in Corinth was acknowledged by Paul.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. …
1 Corinthians 3:6
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
Apollos is first introduced in Acts 18,
Acts 18:24-26 (NIV)
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.
When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Though, Apollos was a Jew, a learned man with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, he was humble to learn from others. His thorough knowledge of the Scriptures did not puff him up with a ‘know-it-all’ or ‘I know it already’ attitude.
Although Apollos only had the Scriptures (i.e. Old Testament) & the baptism of John, Apollos taught Jesus accurately!
Luke 24:44 (NIV)
Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Apollos saw Jesus through Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms!
He shared Jesus.
Apollos was a learned man from Alexandria. Alexandria had a large Jewish population and was a major center of learning with the famous Library of Alexandria; like a Boston or Cambridge in ancient times.
Priscilla & Aquila, who were they?
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
Priscilla and Aquila knew the Lord, they were tentmakers, lay people, … a hospitable couple, hosting Paul & Apollos at their home … and leading a house church (1 Corinthians 16:19). They were not ‘Bible schooled’ like Apollos.
Luke introduces the couple – Priscilla and Aquila. Priscilla, the wife’s name is placed in front of her husband, Aquila, indicating that probably Priscilla was spiritually leading the ministry.
Apollos was humble to learn from Priscilla and Aquila … lay people … & from a woman (in the first century, Acts).
Apollos was a seeker of truth. He was open, hungry and humble to learn. It did not matter who taught him, as long as the message was truth … whether it came from a scholar or a tentmaker.
Btw, the first church sermon in Acts was preached by an unschooled fisherman, Peter … who earlier had denied Jesus … certainly, there’s hope for all of us 🙂 , Praise God!
By learning with others from a different background/perspective, Apollos added and validated his understanding of the Scriptures. In studying the Scriptures — Apollos self-studied, and peer studied.
A good teacher is a keen constant learner,
… learning through multiple channels and lens, views,
ready for fine-tuning, correcting perceptions of truth,
… and open to paradigm shifts and shattering mindsets/tradition/culture.
Luke 8:18 (NIV)
Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.
How we listen is important.
Hence, with his humble, continuous learning attitude,
and thorough knowledge of the Scriptures,
… Apollos taught about Jesus accurately (Acts 18:25)
2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB, AMP)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God
as a workman who does not need to be ashamed,
accurately handling the word of truth.
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
1 Timothy 4:16 (NASB)
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;
persevere in these things, for as you do this you will
ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
Paul echoed this to Timothy to be diligent in studying God’s word to accurately handling the word of truth … to persevere in his life and teaching … correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. A workman proud of one’s work, approved to God .
Proverbs 2:1-6 (NIV)
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Staying true and accurate with God’s word safeguards against
… distortion, deception, error
… rules, traditions, myths
… controversial speculations, meaningless talk, heresies
… well-crafted arguments
… fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification
… boasting in the way the world does
… teachings about special days, months, seasons, and years
… a form of godliness but denying its power
… delights in false humility and the worship of angels
… Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
… philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
… after starting new lives in the Spirit, why try to become perfect by human effort?
(some of the descriptions of false teachings in the New Testament)
2 John 1:9 (NASB)
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
Paul warned – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things … (2 Timothy 4:3-5 NKJV)
Pray that we’ll be watchful in all things … and not turn our ears away from the truth, deceived by our own desires and itching ears.
Deception is not entirely the teachers’ fault.
1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
When one teach or preach, Peter recommends
one should do so as one who speaks the very words of God,
… i.e. honor/revere God’s words, speak His words accurately,
so that in all things God may be praised.
When sharing a message, God’s word has to personally touch/minister/speak to us first, first-hand by His Spirit …. rather than just simply cut-&-paste from others like pastor google, other man’s words.
2 Timothy 3:16,17, 4:1,2 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Writing to Timothy, Paul wrote that studying God’s word daily, equips us for every good work. And flowing out of our daily reading and study, … we are able to effectively preach the word … with great patience and careful instruction, in the character of Jesus.
If we stop or become slack in our daily reading of God’s word,
Paul continues in 2 Timothy 4:3,4,
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
we’ll find ourselves listening to many preachers, teachers from all over,
instead of reading the word of God firsthand ourselves.
Matthew 14:19 (NIV)
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
Then he gave them to the disciples,
and the disciples gave them to the people.
Sharing/teaching scripture accurately reflects and reveals our own heart,
our integrity & reverence before the Lord and His Word. In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you (Titus 2:7,8 NKJV)
2 Corinthians 4:2 (NLT)
We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
John 7:16-18 (NIV)
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.
17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
find out whether my teaching comes from God
he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth
Paul describes the fingerprints of false teachers,
1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
1 Timothy 6:4-5 (NIV)
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1 Timothy 6:20,21 (NLT)
20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.21 Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.
False teachers minister from hearts of error, impurity, deceit, … pleasing men, not God, … flattering speech, … greed, … seek glory from men … assert authority over others, … conceited, understand nothing, … unhealthy interest in controversies, …corrupt mind, … godliness is a means to financial gain … godless, foolish discussions … so-called knowledge
The fruit of the ministry of false teachers ministry is
result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people, lead people away from the faith
Deceitful workers, … masquerade as servants of righteousness attempting to cause others to somehow be led astray from their sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3,13,14 NIV)
A false Christian leader —preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted (2 Corinthians 11:4 NIV)
As Jesus pointed out,
Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Hence, in looking for Godly teachers or wise brethren for counsel,
… the person must be born again, and anchored on God’s Word.
John 8:47 (NIV)
Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
Luke 8:11 (NIV)
… The seed is the word of God.
… look for character and good fruit, one who consistently honors God in word & deed, one who is humble & patient
… glorifies Jesus only
… persuasive words/speech on stage can be deceptive (Colossians 2:14).
… there’s a cost to follow Jesus.
To the church in Ephesus, Jesus said in Revelation,
… I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Revelation 2:2 NIV)
In Jesus’ encounter with the devil, satan quoted a single-verse scripture to Jesus,
Matthew 4:5-7 (NIV)
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
but the single-verse scripture from Psalm 91 was interpreted/twisted out of context, … applied to the wrong scenario, and turned into a lie;
not what the single-verse scripture actually meant in the Psalm, and how it should be applied,
based on the context of the surrounding verses.
(The devil also knows the text in the scriptures, … but to exploit & deceive.)
Psalm 91:9-12 (NIV)
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
In Psalm 91, God protects us from harm and disaster.
It does not instruct us to put ourselves in harms way
(in this case — “throw yourself down”).
Jesus silenced the devil’s deception by speaking the Word of God, the Word of Truth … exposing the lie, the error. Just one brief word was powerful enough, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ (Deuteronomy 6:16)
Jesus is the Truth.
Jesus calls the devil a liar, the father of lies.
John 8:31, 42-47 (NIV)
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Apollos’ heart to seek the Truth, and his thorough knowledge of the Scriptures helped him to discern whether what he heard from Priscilla & Aquila (or others) was from the Word of God.
Acts 17:11 (NIV)
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Its wise for us adopt the Berean attitude, who
examined the Scriptures every day
to see if what Paul (or anyone else) said was true,
… even for the highly-regarded apostle Paul … the Bereans checked his teaching, his content.
Hence, no matter how popular or highly-regarded or mega-ministry the speaker is, … let’s check the Scriptures, ourselves, firsthand.
Else, … its like taking directions from a back-seat driver,
when there’s a precise GPS right in our very hands to give us directions.
The Bereans were keen learners
… with great eagerness …. examined the Scriptures every day personally, firsthand
Hence, we need to know & understand God’s word better than the devil.
Hebrews 8:10,11 (NIV)
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
Let’s go directly to the Lord,
know Him personally.
Our only high priest is Jesus.
Jesus taught and spoke through the everyday lives of ordinary folks
… His miracles were mainly framed within the struggles of everyday people,
Using down-to-earth, understandable everyday situations, … His listeners could easily relate with what He was saying or teaching.
Back to Apollos in Acts 18,
Inspired by God’s truth, Apollos spoke with great fervor and boldly (Acts 18:26).
When we’re unsure of the content of our sharing, it shows in our conviction and passion in our sharing
… generating more heat than light.
A teacher’s passion for a subject is infectious … sparks one’s appetite to learn, dig deeper … ‘Aha!’ sparkle moments.
Acts 18:27-28 (NIV)
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
Apollos was also willing for his understanding to be challenged & questioned by others who share a different worldview. In so doing, this helped him refine his understanding, remove misconceptions & assumptions, address gaps & inconsistencies.
Hence, Apollos accuracy was also sharpened with the help of others he interacted with.
By getting involved in evangelism and discipling,
through searching question-answer discussions,
… refines our understanding of God, His ways and His Word.
Regularly sharing Jesus with others who have yet to believe and have a different worldview,
helping/discipling new believers to underestand Jesus better
…. hones our communication skills so that we strive to improve ourselves to share more clearly and simply …more Biblically … with minimal Christianese jargon.
We soon realise sharing is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ recipe, and we have to creatively adjust and frame our sharing to the person/s we are communicating with … so that they understand, comprehend.
Knowing the content is one thing, but delivering the content in a way that’s clear, simple & interesting is just as important. The goal of teaching/sharing is that our listeners understand, comprehend & hearts are ministered/touched by the sharing by the Holy Spirit.
If the goal is just merely the delivery … we may have wasted their time, if they don’t understand our sharing.
Just ask yourself, out of the 50+ Sunday sermons you heard in the last 12 months … which one can you remember? Why was it memorable?
As Paul wrote:
Colossians 4:4-6 (NIV)
4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Prayer is the difference.
Sometimes, in discussions, we may be dumbfounded …
its ok to be honest, gracious, & humbly say,
“I don’t know … I’ll pray & find out”.
In various fields of learnings, … when things don’t work properly (like in the textbooks), or unforseen situations arise,
that’s when we learn the most … as it causes us to dig deeper, ask questions, discover more … question our premise, presumptions, assumptions. We get better at handling ‘curve balls’, through practice.
In corporate presentations and international conferences, speakers are subjected to a question/answer (Q/A) session after the presentation. Trust me, this is the hardest part of the presentation to prepare for … as questions are not known ahead of time, and sometimes one is faced with an unknown and unfamiliar audience
… How well we handles this, validates how solid & thorough our business/technical case or study/research or content or product really is. Through each corporate grilling, our business/technical case either becomes more convincing 🙂 or is thrown out by management 😦 .
In summary, Apollos attitude of accurate presentation of God’s word, and humility to learn from others is exemplary.
Hence, when Apollos arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed (Acts 18:27-28),
with strong recommendations from other brethren who were blessed & liberated by his teaching ministry. Indeed, … you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Luke 8:32 NKJV)
2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Some logical fallacies in teaching the Bible,
Appeal to the people – a proposition (teaching) is viewed as true because many or most people believe it: “If many believe so, it is so.”
Check teaching is based on God’s word.
Quote God’s word … rather than the popularity of man’s words or sound-bites.
Appeal to authority – where an assertion is deemed true because of the position or authority of the person asserting it. Some famous leader said it, therefore its true. Or some Phd, MDiv from bible school said it. Such authorities can come to the wrong judgments through error, bias, dishonesty, or falling prey to groupthink.
Always check whether teaching is based on God’s word.
Be careful when a speaker brings up their credentials or experience over God’s Word.
Anecdotal fallacy – using a personal experience or an isolated example instead of sound reasoning or compelling evidence. Eg, is this sharing/behavior/experience consistent with God’s character & God’s word.
Appeal to emotion – where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning. Is teaching emotional driven or Bible driven? Are listeners being emotionally manipulated?
Circular reasoning – the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with; sometimes called assuming the conclusion. That is, begin with the conclusion, and ‘cherry pick’ Bible verses to back up the conclusion (hence, circular reasoning).
Cherry picking – act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. Cherry pick Bible verses to support a certain view, while ignoring other verses on the topic.
Quoting out of context – refers to the selective excerpting words from their original context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning. What is the context of the Bible verse which was quoted?
Correlation proves causation – a faulty assumption that correlation between two variables implies that one causes the other. Eg. misfortune & sin (John 9)
Composition fallacy – Using the characteristics of some, many, or even most members to characterize a group as a whole. Broad sweeping generalization, gross simplification. Sometimes used in dis-crediting or crediting groups (believers or others), which may not be true for every single person in the group.
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
Apr 4, 2015
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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