Understanding what a message or document is really about takes work. It’s not enough to rely on what someone else tells you. You have to do your own digging and work it out for yourself. If you don’t and rely instead on what other people tell you then you only know what they want you to think. You don’t even know what they think and so are open to manipulation.
The apostle Paul underscored the need for careful study of Scripture by preachers and teachers; “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Without this ‘diligence’ a church could become mired in worthless arguments about nothing; “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” (v. 16) The net result of sloppy preaching and teaching is ungodliness which drags down many a church today.
The Bible tells us that we are living in a time when many will use God’s Word to their own advantage; “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.” (2 Peter 2:1-3) We live in a time were a lot of money can be made by peddling false religion. How do we protect our hearts and integrity?
We have to go to the source to understand the Gospel message. The best way to protect yourself is by doing your own ‘homework’. Study the Word yourself. Jesus gave us the promise that we would have the best tutor available; “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) You have to read the Gospels to learn what Jesus said and then the Holy Spirit will teach you what it means as you continue your studies.
We live in a time when we no longer need a particular person or celebrity preacher to teach us. God will do this through the Holy Spirit.”I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more..” (Jeremiah 31:33,34) No more petty intermediaries!
Jesus declared; “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.” (John 6:45) Go directly to the source.