How many Bible teachers should someone have?


by Shawn Brasseaux

How many Bible teachers should a person listen to? For the majority of people, it is best to abide by the guideline of “two, or at most, three, Bible teachers.” This writer derived that advice from a trusted pastor friend who answered this same question posed to him long ago. All these years later, this writer can affirm it is a wise rule by which to live—and it is most regrettable more people do not follow it.

Dear friend, if you follow a variety of teachers, of course, you will learn a wide range of beliefs. Eventually, all these contradictory views will accumulate in your heart and mind, ultimately inflicting irreparable damage. Why? Questions will multiply, and you will not know what to believe anymore. Maybe you have already learned this firsthand, and can vouch for its truthfulness. If you are spiritually immature, lacking even a basic dispensational understanding of the Holy Bible, this author would strongly (!)—yea, vehemently (!)—urge (!) you not to have more than three teachers.

Indeed, it is tempting to get stirred up on social media with this “fad” idea or that “trending” belief. For many years now, conspiracy theories, heresies, and apostasies of all kinds have gotten strangleholds on millions upon millions of Christian minds because curiosity has bested them. They have dabbled in this group, that system, a third group, a fourth camp, and so on. Consequently, they are grieved tremendously, either in the short-term or the long-term. Ephesians 4:14 comes to pass: “…children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Regardless, whether now or later, Satan’s policy of evil wins, and the Lord’s ministry suffers!

Now, friend, if you are grounded in the rightly divided Scriptures, you may listen to more than three teachers. However, to be skilled in the Bible to that degree is quite rare, and should not be considered applicable to the majority. Even if we are grounded in sound Bible doctrine, we still must be careful when exceeding three teachers. No oneabsolutely no one (not even this writer!)—is immune from falling away from the truth. On that note, let us consider the pitiful case of the Corinthians as laid out in 1 Corinthians chapter 4: “[14] I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. [15] For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. [16] Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”

Unfortunately, although the Apostle Paul had preached the Gospel of Grace to the heathen Corinthians and won them to Jesus Christ (see Acts chapter 18), they did not stay with his doctrine (principles of grace). Actually, when later writing them here in 1 Corinthians, Paul delineated all the spiritual problems in their assembly. The reason for these many quandaries and questions or conundrums and confusions is they were listening to multitudes of spiritual teachers—who were often nothing but “Judaizers” or modern denominationalists with all their worthless rules and regulations (see 2 Corinthians 11:12-23). False apostles and other false teachers had drawn the Corinthian saints away from Pauline doctrine (Romans through Philemon). Greek philosophy was corrupting them, the traditions of men were polluting them, and they were totally distracted from the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry through Paul. The vast majority of “Christian” church members are in the same dire predicament today 20 centuries later. Again, had they limited the number of their spiritual teachers, they would be far better off spiritually than they are. Yet, since they were learning so little from their church or preacher, they sought “more and more” in this group, that sect, this denomination, that cult. It was one disappointment after another—all because they did not start off with and maintain sound Bible doctrine from the very beginning!

Friend, here is something else upon which we must reflect. As in the physical world, so also in the spiritual realm. We each develop at a different rate, and that applies to both student and teacher. Since one teacher grows faster or slower than the others, it naturally follows that the chance of mutual exclusivity increases with the addition of teachers. At some point, one teacher’s theology will conflict with another’s. Whatever progress in understanding you make with one will be reset or diminished with another. It is not to say anyone is willfully teaching error (although that may be the case—and often is in the realm of denominational circles); what we are referring to here is various levels of maturity. One teacher with a basic view of the Scriptures will definitely be incongruous with a teacher more advanced in sound Bible doctrine.

Let us think about a real-life application. Years ago, this writer had a discouraged Christian friend. He did not know what to be believe, as one preacher he heard had taught a passage one way and another preacher had exposited those verses an entirely different way. The matter was related to prophecy, so this writer reminded him of that fact, and told him we could disagree regarding the uncertainties of prophecy. To be sure he would overcome this hindrance, this writer told him which pastor he believed was more mature (and thus, the closest to agreeing with the context), and how his view was more plausible. This writer was able to help his friend with his dilemma, and advised him to be more careful regarding such matters. Friend, he is issuing the same counsel to you now. Instead of listening to a dozen teachers and hearing a dozen views, two or three interpretations are much easier to handle and sort by process of elimination.

Yet, since we have mentioned it, we might as well add this too: a great many “Bible teachers” should not be teaching. It is apparent from their words and speeches they have not been Bible students long enough to be Bible teachers. Until they learn sound Bible doctrine, they have no aptitude to teach it, and should not be allowed to address local assemblies in regular church services or conferences. We should avoid these types of “ministries!”

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Also see:
» Should we read denominational literature?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» How do I know if I am growing in the Word of God?

» Should we as Bible believers investigate and promulgate conspiracy theories?
» Are we immune to heresy and apostasy?