But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

BUT WHAT IF THEY READ THE BIBLE AT MY CHURCH…?!

by Shawn Brasseaux

What a wonderful question, and I would be so glad to answer it!

Not many church members know, friend, but the Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Did I surprise you there? Let me say it again. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Got it? I will say it a third time so it can sink in. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Oh yes, dear friends, Satan does not have a problem with people reading the Bible. So long as they do not know the key to understanding the Bible, they can read it all they want and still get nothing out of it. I know people who have read the Bible for many decades… and I still would not dare sit under their ministry!

Having the Bible is a start, but owning and/or reading it in and of itself is not threatening to Satan, as he has his own set of “bibles” (counterfeits) in circulation. How badly he wants you to buy one—there are plenty of his phony “bibles,” modern English versions, to go around! Usually, though, people never understand the Bible they do own or read. They keep buying the latest version to hit the market and stay in an endless loop of confusion. If people ever find a pure copy of the Bible (King James Bible in English), and do learn how to use it as God intended, only then will they be a bother to Satan. (This rarely happens though, to the Devil’s delight.)

What if Satan wanted to read the Bible to you, friend? Perhaps you think I am being facetious, joking around. No, I am asking you as gravely and sincerely as possible. Do you know that Satan reads the Bible? If you came into his classroom, he would read you the Bible for hours and hours and hours. Actually, he knows it better than all professing Christians combined! Satan has been reading the Scriptures for thousands of years. Do you know that he also enjoys telling the Bible to others? Maybe you doubt me. Perhaps you think I am being ridiculous. But, what if I could substantiate that claim? What if I had the testimony of the Bible itself to prove it?

My friend, has it ever struck you as odd that Satan quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry? Did you even know that ever took place? Read it for yourself, as found in the “temptations of Christ” passage of Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4.

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

You should be careful to notice that Satan did not deny God’s existence; he did not blatantly deny the existence of angels either. Furthermore, he never openly refuted the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Satan is much sneakier than that. The Bible speaks of the “wiles” of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11); these are schemes or strategies designed to manipulate and persuade people to do what he wants them to do. Satan was highly calculating in his dealings with Jesus, just like he was with Eve, and just like he wants to be with us today.

Genesis 3:1 reports: “Now the serpent [Satan, Revelation 12:9] was more subtil [sneakier, craftier, more cunning] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Second Corinthians chapter 11 affirms: “[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [tricked, fooled] Eve through his subtilty [trickery, fraud, deception], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (1 Timothy 2:14: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”)

While Satan prefers you not to use the Bible, but that has an appearance of evil, and he knows this can be remedied by someone giving you a Bible. Additionally, he knows that the Bible plus church tradition is more convincing because it has an appearance of truth, but someone can come and show you the authority is in the Bible alone and not in religious tradition. That can be avoided. Lastly, Satan understands that the Bible not rightly divided is the most confusing, the subtlest of all ploys, because it seems like the Bible alone is the authority. Verse after verse is quoted, with no reference to church tradition, but mindlessly grabbing/quoting verses can be dangerous.

Take Satan’s handling of the Bible. Let me impress upon you once again that the Devil himself actually quoted Scripture to Jesus! Read it once more!

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan loved to quote the Bible but was careful to call attention only to the verses that he liked. Yes, he deliberately skipped the next verse, the one that described his own defeat (Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”)! Not only so, but the verses Satan used were perverted as he repeated them.

Pay close attention:

  • Psalm 91:11-12 (Satan’s version): “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Luke 4:10,11). Compare this to the verses below. Satan omitted “in all thy ways” at the beginning and added “at any time” near the end.
  • Psalm 91:11-12 (God’s version): “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan was sneaky, huh? Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ, being God in human flesh, was very much aware of Satan’s mishandling of Scripture. Christ was never on the verge of being fooled as Eve had been (or liable to be fooled as we still are). What we see in the above verses is an example of Bible corruption from master counterfeiter and corrupter himself. Remember, Satan is all about Bible reading, so long as the Bible is not quoted fully and not handled properly. Satan was grabbing verses that applied to the Second Coming of Christ and tried to make it fit His First Coming! Yes, Satan was not “rightly dividing the word of truth” (more on this later).

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, we read, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Did you catch that word “many?” Did you see the phrase, corrupt the word of God?” This means that, when you find someone teaching or preaching the Bible, there is a high probability that they are perverting the Scriptures. That is not what I said, that is what the Bible said. If you do not like it, take it up with God. He said it.

Look at 2 Corinthians 4:2: “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” God’s Word can be handled dishonestly, it can be handled craftily, and it can be handled deceitfully. That is what the Bible says. Go back to Satan’s handling of the Scriptures.

Jeremiah chapter 23 is a very disparaging rebuke directed towards Israel’s religious leaders. Watch God’s words to them: “[1] Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. [2] Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”….

“[13] And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err…. [16] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. [17] They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. [18] For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?”…. 

“[21] I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. [22] But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings…. [26] How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; [27] Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. [28] The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. [29] Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

[30] Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. [31] Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. [32] Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”…. [36] And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”

Do you sense God’s burning anger in this chapter? These religious leaders have so misled His people that the whole nation is now going to experience God’s wrath! They claim to be speaking on God’s behalf, and yet He says He never sent them. All they do is lie, deceive. Israel is so ignorant of the Scriptures that they cannot survive the apostasy, the deception. People who handle the Word of God dishonestly, craftily, and deceitfully, have fooled them! Oh, but we can never say they did not sound correct in the messages they preached!

The Bible says in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Notice the word “wrest” in verse 16. It means to twist, as in distorting the meaning or interpretation in order to suit one’s own interests or views.

If we wrest/twist/distort/pervert the Bible, spiritual destruction will certainly result. See, the Bible is being used; it just is not being used properly. The Bible is being read, but it is not being understood rightly divided. Instead of being helpful to its readers, profitable to its hearers, it is harmful. What was Satan’s strategy here? To cause people to doubt the Bible, to hate it and finally avoid it. But, since they want it to support their denomination or church, they will hang on to it and “pick and choose” what they want to quote from it. Every “Christian” cult in the world, every “Christian” heretic on this planet, quotes the Bible to some extent. Without the Bible, they would not even closely resemble Christianity enough to pass themselves of as part of it.

At this point, it is noteworthy to share this tidbit with you. A church leader who converted from a cult to faith entirely in Jesus Christ, spoke at great length about serving in his old denomination. While the group claimed to be “Bible-believing,” and they indeed read Scripture at every church service, they had prearranged passages to read. They had three choices of Bible verses. The two passages not read each service, were to be read respectively for the next two years. In three years, then, all the selected Bible verses were read from the denominational handbook. This sounds like a good Bible education, huh? Reading all these verses seems so impressive, right? Surely, you would want to go attend church services there, huh? Well, you have not been given all the information yet.

As that former cult leader explained, all that Bible reading amounted to was, most amazingly, five percent of whole Bible! In other words, a scant 1.7 percent of the Bible was read in that denomination’s thousands of churches every year!!! (That is scary!!!) It was enough to give the denomination a “Christian” appearance, to fool the masses—but upon closer inspection, it amounted to spiritual crumbs! No wonder these cult members, like all others, have no clue what the Bible really says! They know little bits and pieces, specks of a whole. Unless someone actually takes the time to know what the Bible really says, they have no idea how much of it they are being robbed of!

Interestingly, while Israel was worshipping the pagan idol, the golden calf, they wanted to have a feast to JEHOVAH God. This alone shows us that somebody can appear godly and really be committing evil. Exodus 32:1-5: “[1] And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [2] And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. [3] And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. [4] And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [5] And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”

Jesus Christ Himself affirmed some quite “offensive” truths in Matthew 7:21-23: “[21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

These people claimed that they did mighty works in the name of Jesus Christ. Notice, they did not (NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT!) claim affiliation with Buddha, Mohammed, Allah, Confucius, Mahatma Gandhi, Socrates, Dalai Lama, Plato, Sun Myung Moon, Homer, or even Satan himself. No, they said they did these wonderful deeds in the name of Jesus Christ!!! How did the Lord Jesus Christ respond to them? Did He say, “Oh, My children, what wonderful works you did in My name indeed!”? No! Did He say that it was really Him working in and through them? No! Were they not preaching according to His power? Were they not casting out devils and glorifying Him? No, not according to Him. Instead of commending them for being faithful servants of His, He said they were “workers of iniquity.” He affirmed that He had no association with them whatsoever, and they had no relationship with Him whatsoever. Think long and hard on that, friend. Mark it well and never forget it! Did you see how they called Him “Lord?” Claiming Jesus is Lord does not make one a Christian either. Quoting and reading the Bible does not make one a Christian—unless we categorize Satan as such too (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10,11)!

Second Timothy chapter 3 warns: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” They have “a form of godliness,” the appearance or pattern of godlikeness. The Bible says to “turn away” from them, to leave them alone, abandon them, not to attend their meetings, and not to promote their denomination. It does not matter if they “read the Bible!”

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read the only verse that tells us to “study” the Bible and how to study it: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” While much could be said about this, suffice it to say that the Bible must be “rightly divided” if it is to be understood. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us. We study all the Word of God, but we study it dispensationally. The Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). God’s Word to man changes through time, and not all verses are valid at every point in human history. (Go back to how Satan mixed up the First and Second Comings of Christ.)

Ephesians 3:1-4: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)….” The “Dispensation of the Grace of God,” the instructions that God has for us today, are found only in the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. Sadly, most “Christian” groups do not teach or understand the Bible dispensationally. They constantly go back to Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) to try to find God’s pattern for us. They try to hang on to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John. They want the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments (Law keeping), the miracles and signs and wonders, the prayer promises, the Sabbath Day, and so on. Perplexity! Futility! Absurdity!

The Bible says that we are “not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14-15). Yet, there was a time when God dealt with the nation Israel on the basis of the Law of Moses. For example:

  • Matthew 23:1-3: “[1] Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, [2] Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: [3] All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
  • Matthew 5:17-19: “[17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Luke 5:14: “And he [Jesus] charged him [the healed leper] to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

Since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, however, we are not under the Law. In 1 Timothy chapter 1, the Apostle Paul told Timothy to tell people to stop teaching the Law of Moses as means of Christian living. They were to teach grace, for grace is the means of successful Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace:

“[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Thus, it is possible to be Scriptural—Mosaic-Law oriented, for example—and still be totally outside of God’s will. The people in 1 Timothy chapter 1 were. When we try to insert the Mosaic Law, a performance-based acceptance system, into the Dispensation of Grace, a Jesus-based acceptance system, we hinder the Spirit of God from working in us who believe. The Spirit of God never leads anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to place themselves under the Law. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). If ever we find someone under the Law today, the flesh, the denomination, led them there. God’s Spirit did not lead them there!! It does not matter if they quote the Bible or read the Bible!

CONCLUSION

Satan does not mind us reading the Bible; after all, he does it. Satan does not mind us quoting the Bible; yea, he does it. What Satan does not want is for us to find the right Bible (King James Bible, in English) and discover the right study system (dispensational Bible study), for then we are encouraged to believe the Bible (we cannot fully believe what we do not understand). It is when we believe the Bible that God’s Spirit goes to work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 2:13). This is where we are most threatening to Satan, as we are most aware of his tactics and fully equipped to hinder his work and will designed to rob the Lord Jesus Christ of His due worship.

When we understand the Bible, bringing about Christian good works, and knowing how to use it to help others (saved and lost), that is where Satan is vulnerable. How he hates to have strong Christians who are skilled in doing God’s work and fulfilling God’s will. If he can keep them ignorant, he will do WHATEVER (!) he can to keep them ignorant. Satan is relentless, friends, absolutely relentless, but he is no match for God. As long as we have God’s Word (King James Bible), understand God’s Word (dispensationally), and believe God’s Word, we will not be deceived. We had better not be so shallow in our spiritual understanding so as to think that Satan does not work in churches where Scripture is read. (Remember Israel’s religious leaders in Jeremiah chapter 23!!!)

In closing, let me provide a simple analogy and then ask you some simple questions, friend. Suppose you require emergency surgery. While I have an extensive background in science, including biology, I am not trained to perform surgery on anyone. I am not a licensed physician by any stretch of the imagination. However, what if I read a medical textbook before I operated on you? Would you be comfortable in me being your “surgeon?” Probably not. You would want (understandably) someone who is highly skilled in medicine and more than merely “aware” of the underlying science. You would prefer someone who has had much practice studying and actually dissecting the human body first.

Likewise, it would be quite foolish of you to go to a church simply because they “read the Bible there.” They had better be reading the whole Bible, and not just little snippets here and there. They had better be studying the Bible, and not skimming it. They had better be using the Bible rightly divided, not defending denominational biases with it. Above all, they had better be using the right Bible, and not peddling some counterfeit!!

Also see:
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?

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