Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               September 3, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 25



John, an inspired apostle said: "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 Jn. 4:6). 

There is a vast difference in truth and error; in the spirit of truth and "the spirit of error." Truth is of God but error is not. Those who know God will hear the truth as was made known by inspired men such as John. Those who do not hear the truth are not of God, but are of the devil. They do not have the Spirit of truth, but the "spirit of error." Some who claim to have the Spirit of truth obviously have "the spirit of error." John tells us in 1 Jn. 4:6 how we can tell the difference, as we have already noted.

Some Traits of Those Who Have ‘the Spirit of Error’ 

Those who have "the spirit of error" will not hear ALL of what has been taught by inspired men as recorded in the Scripture. Paul declared the whole counsel of God to the Ephesian bishops (See Acts 20:27). The devil used some Scripture in his attempt to get Jesus to sin, but he misused it. Many do likewise today. Although they appeal to the Scripture for some point or points, they are not willing to accept the whole counsel of God. For example, "faith only" advocates will use verses that condition salvation on faith and then they will ignore verses that condition salvation on repentance, confession, and baptism and will assert that the Scripture teaches salvation by "faith only." Such is the "spirit of error." Some will accept what Jas. 1:27 says about a MAN "visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction," but they will not accept what 1 Tim. 5:16 teaches relative to the CHURCH relieving widows indeed. They say the church cannot relieve, but can only supply the money for such and then another institution must do the work of relieving. Such evidences unbelief! It is "the spirit of error."

Many who have the "spirit of error" are inconsistent religious hypocrites. Read Matt. 23 for a vivid description of such people. They were inconsistent in their teaching and practice as well as hypocritical in their actions. Jesus denounced them in very plain terms.

The proud, self-righteous person has "the spirit of error." Jesus spoke a parable in Lk. 18:10-14 in which He shows that "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Humility of mind, meekness of spirit and contriteness of heart should characterize all of us.

Often times, those who have "the spirit of error" lie in wait to deceive (See Eph. 4: 14). They use cunning craftiness to accomplish their goal. They employ carnal weapons. They resort to treachery, misrepresentation, mockery, blasphemy, and lying in an effort to crush the proponents of truth. They love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. (See Jn. 3:19.) Those who propagate error often use pressure or force to stop the mouths of the advocates of truth. They do not want people to examine candidly their teaching in the light of God's eternal truth. They would, if they could, erect an "iron curtain" around their followers because they fear the results of an honest investigation of their doctrines in light of the Scriptures.

Truth and its propagation are not dependent upon the employment of carnal weapons. Truth can and will be propagated by those who are pure in heart and upright in life, whose primary purpose is to "fear God and keep His commandments." Do you have the spirit of truth or "the spirit of error?" Remember, dear reader, your soul can be purified by your obedience to the truth, but error will cause you to lose your soul eternally! If you are sincerely interested in going to heaven, you will have a genuine love for the truth and a hatred for error.

—Carrol R. Sutton

Via The Instructor, Vol. 4, No. 9, Sept. 1967

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"Why don't you stay in one place?" "Why do you go from one book to another and one chapter to another to prove what you say?" These are statements made quite often when showing someone what God's word teaches. Many people think everything to be known on a particular topic can be found in one verse or several verses found in one place in the Scriptures.

However, as 2 Timothy 3:15 teaches, we are to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Take, for example, the occasion of Jesus' betrayal and arrest. When Judas lead the mob to Jesus, they took Jesus but Mark records in chapter 14 verse 47 that "one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear." If this be the only verse we wish to read about this incident, we would not know who drew the sword, the name of the servant, nor which ear was cut off. We would not have all the details nor the full story of what occurred. It is not until we read Matthew 26:51 that we add to our understanding that the one who drew the sword was "one with Jesus". Then when we read Luke 22:50 we discover it was the "right ear" that was cut off. Then when we turn and read John 18:10, we learn it was Simon Peter who drew the sword and the servant's name was “Malchus". It took us searching through four books to find all the information the Scriptures furnished about this occasion.

Yet, there are folks who think they can turn to one passage of Scripture and find all they need to know on the subject of what to do to be saved. Some turn to Acts 15:11 and find that "through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved," and conclude that grace is all that's necessary to save us. Others turn to John 3:16 and read that "whosoever believeth in Him (Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life." and conclude that all it takes to be saved is faith only. Someone else reads Matthew 26:28 where Jesus said, "this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." and conclude that all it takes to save us is Christ's blood. Still another finds and reads 1 Peter 3:21 that "baptism doth also now save us" and conclude we are saved by just being baptized.

What is the truth in this matter of what to do to be saved? Can we not see that it takes the things stated in ALL of these passages to begin to form the complete picture of what God would have us to do? One passage by itself does not tell us everything God says about salvation. Let's take all of what the Scriptures teach. Only then will we be “rightly dividing the word of truth”.

—E.R. Hall, Jr.

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A person who hungers for money will starve to death spiritually.


No civil law can change evil into good, or vice into virtue.

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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