I must be careful. It is easy to get confused and stumble around. I have been brought out of slavery but will I see the promised land? I must what God has said. That requires I know the word of God in a very detailed way.
As followers of the Messiah, we have no excuse for remaining ignorant of theology because we have the “whole counsel of God” available to us — the Bible is complete.
As we “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are less likely to be taken in by smooth talkers and false teachers / prophets. When we know God’s Word, “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).
It is important to point out the difference between false doctrine and denominational disagreements. Different congregational groups see secondary issues in Scripture differently. These differences are not always due to false doctrine on anyone’s part. Church policies, governmental decisions, style of worship, etc., are all open for discussion, since they are not directly addressed in Scripture. Even those issues that are addressed in Scripture are often debated by equally sincere disciples of the Messiah. Differences in interpretation or practice do not necessarily qualify as false doctrine, nor should they divide the Body of the Messiah.
The maturing follower of Jesus is not tossed about by every religious novelty that comes along. There are religious quacks waiting to kidnap God’s children and get them into their false cults, but the maturing believer recognizes false doctrine and stays clear of it.
The cultists do not try to win lost souls to the Messiah. They do not establish rescue missions in the slum areas of our cities, because they have no good news for the man on skid row. Instead, these false teachers try to capture immature disciples of Jesus, and for this reason, most of the membership of the false cults comes from local churches, particularly churches that do not feed their people the Word of God.
- Ephesians 4:14 — As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
- Acts 15:24 — “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,
- Galatians 1:7 — which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the good news of the Messiah.
- 1 Timothy 1:18–20 — This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.
- 2 Timothy 2:16–18 — But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
- Titus 1:10–11 — For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.
- Hebrews 13:9 — Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
- 2 Peter 3:17 — You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 38). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.