Almost all people will admit to the importance of the Bible. Just how important depends on the individual. Some people may appreciate the historical and cultural influence it has, but not really respect it as the Divine authority for their life. Some people do believe it is from God but that it has been corrupted through the years. These people may apply some truths from scripture but disregard others. Some people look at the Bible as a standard, but that it cannot be understood without a direct operation from the Holy Spirit on the individual.
The Bible doesn’t allow for any of these views. It can be understood. It can be studied and rightly divided (2 Tim 2:15). Knowledge of it will set us free from our sins (John 8:32). We are required to obey it (James 1:19-22).
The Bible says of itself, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). The Bible claims perfection both in distribution and in purpose (2 Peter 1:5).
There are a lot of churches in this area that would stand on the belief that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be. These are described as “Bible churches”. You can find “Bible churches” in any denominational affiliation. This phrase means it is a church that believes and teaches the Bible.
On the surface this is a good thing. How in the world could any church be wrong if it preaches and teaches out of the Bible? Sadly, a lot of individuals are sitting in the pews comforted in their “bible church”, not realizing that people can teach the Bible incorrectly. When Paul says to “rightly divide” the word of God, that necessarily infers that we can wrongly divide it. People can draw the wrong conclusions and lead one astray.
I want to give you a few verses to consider. Just because someone is preaching from the Bible, that doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.
“And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” (2 Peter 3:15-17)
Peter is describing teachers who are using the Bible. These are preachers in “Bible churches” who (giving the benefit of the doubt) don’t know any better. And while they may be sincere, they are still carrying people away into error. The blind leading the blind is a bad thing whether they are sincere or not (Matt 15:13-14).
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8)
Paul describes those who would come in and pull one away to a different gospel. But notice the intricate details of what constitutes a “different gospel”. It is not defined as someone coming in and starting from scratch with a totally new gospel. He defines a “different gospel” as the one Gospel that has been distorted. There are “Bible churches” all over that have perverted/distorted the gospel. They don’t teach the truth on what one needs to do to be saved, or the New Testament pattern of worship. Paul says let them be accursed. Are they “Bible churches”? Sure. Are they right? Absolutely not.
One the most knowledgeable Bible students is Satan himself. When he was tempting the Lord (Matt 4:1ff), he displayed his deep knowledge of the word of God by quoting from Psalm 91:11-12. But the Lord teaches us a valuable lesson that most people don’t even consider- just because someone quotes the Bible, that doesn’t mean they are teaching the truth. Misapplication of scripture is one of Satan’s strongest weapons.
With these truths in mind, it is shocking to me how much faith that people have in preachers and pastors. God never wanted any of us to be blind followers of what someone tells us. The Bible warns over and over of the fact that there would be false teachers. Jesus warned of them (Matt 7:15). Paul warned the Ephesian church about them (Acts 20:29). He warned the Corinthians that the devil can transform himself into a messenger of light (2 Cor 10:14). False teachers can come from anywhere, but these verses point to the truth that they also come from “Bible churches”.
My hope is that people will be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11 who studied the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so. I hope people will quit worrying about being in a “Bible church” and start worrying about being in the Church of the Bible.
Why were people baptized for the forgiveness of their sins when you read your Bible (Acts 2:38), but your preacher says baptism is not for forgiveness of sins? Why did the church of the Bible take the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2) but your church takes it sporadically? Why are there so many differences between your “bible church” and the church of the Bible?
If you would like to study about the church of the New Testament I would be more than happy to assist you. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.