Saturday, January 11, 2014


Bobservations Column
by Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Acts 17, Luke honors the people of Berea and commends them. They were open to hearing new teachings, AND they were diligent to compare those teachings with the written word they already had. They literally held the Apostle Paul accountable to the scriptures from which he taught. What a great blessing to be able to determine if the teachings we hear are from God, or if they are just man’s words instead.

Many years ago I heard a teaching that was precisely in agreement with the Gospels, but from Genesis 5. The teacher was well respected and interesting to listen to. He took the names of Genesis 5’s genealogy, and translated each name for us. With each meaning “the secret message” of the Gospel was there in Genesis. “Man appointed mortal sorrow, the blessed God shall come down teaching, His death shall bring the despairing rest.” That was the message derived from the meanings of Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lemech, and Noah.

Today, we see one of those word/names again in Psalm 72:6 : Jared, meaning “he shall come down.” Seeing it here in the Psalm, I was prompted to go back to my notes from the genealogy and compare them with a Hebrew dictionary. My surprise was that some names were translated accurately by that teacher, but some were not! Instead of teaching a message from the scriptures, the scriptures were massaged to develop a teaching!

First, I was upset that I had been duped by that teacher, but then I was thankful that God has preserved His Word for us to look at, to read, and to study. Later I was upset with myself for not being like the Bereans, and holding a teacher of God’s Word accountable to the Word Himself. I didn’t do it because the man was so well respected, and highly esteemed by the leadership of the church that sponsored his visit. Luke 16;15 says, “that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

This is a verse that should caution every teacher, pastor, minister, and priest. God’s Word is pure and undefiled, and though the “translated” message was in agreement with the Gospel, it wasn’t accurate to the text. If a man will take that liberty with one scripture, then we must ask if he hasn’t done it with his other teachings also, because it was The Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus never changes!

Being a Berean is a good thing!

Such a habit protects the Believer from false teachings and false doctrine that are developed by massaging God’s Word to man’s own purpose.

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