“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV)
This verse sounds harsh, does it not? But it is a necessary word of truth, and can not easily be misunderstood or softened by any man or woman. It is a very fitting reminder of the truth of the LORD OUR GOD’S word, of His instructions for our lives, and for revealing His power, His might, and His character.
The total sum of God’s Word is included in this verse. What does that mean? Of course it does not mean everything in the Bible is included word for word. Of course it is not a condensed summary, like a book report. But its function here at the very end of the Bible is to remind us, to set it in our minds, and our hearts, that this word of God cannot be changed, without dire consequence. And it is still God’s truth, whether people choose to believe it or not. It does not change because of their unbelief.
Even though there are versions of the Bible that we can purchase to suit our own personal ‘wish list’ of what God wants for us and from us, that fact does not negate the truth of the matter. The true and complete versions of the Bible are taken from the original manuscripts. Unfortunately, those original manuscripts no longer exist, but many of the copies of them do, written and passed down through the generations. The amazing thing noted about these copies, admitted to by both Christian and secular scholars, is that there are literally no major variances between copies written by different scribes, signaling an agreement in the general interpretation of the text.
How do you know you have a true-to-text version of the Bible? Do your research. Ask trusted Christian friends. Check the versions themselves and find the publisher information, the references by well-known Christian leaders you trust. You will generally also find information as to how the text was assembled, by who, and what criteria was used. A little time and research will assure that the version you choose will truly portray the true intention of the interpretation.
At issue is the truth of God’s Word. When it is spoken or read, statements may be made that show a grain of untruth. We are instructed to compare those things to what is in the Bible, so that we can ‘prove’ the speaker’s truth or untruth. 2 Timothy 3:16 says this: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In other words, we are to make sure that what we read and hear is truly the real word of God, that it has not maligned or changed, even in the slightest way, from the beginning to the end. If we know the Word, we will be equipped to recognize, and expose, false prophets by their ministries, wise teachers, or even writers such as myself.
Today we are surrounded by those who wish to deceive and who often profit from it hugely, making them seem successful because of God’s promotion for their ‘faithfulness.’ When people succumb to the preaching and teaching that appeals to them, that makes them feel like God wants them to be happy no matter what their desires and wants may be. They walk onto dangerous ground. They like believing He will overlook deliberate sin and disobedience because He wants them to be ‘happy’. But this kind of ‘happy’ is not what they think it is. ‘Happy’ for them is living under the deception, endangering their mortal souls because they choose to follow the ‘feel good’ religion the false prophets are handing out. Even Christians can be deceived by these teachings, and must be brought back to reality to understand that God is a god of truth, not of deceit and lies. He may be slow to anger, but once that anger is unleashed, retribution and consequence will be the result.
Beware! Watch out for what you hear, what you read, and what you believe. Rely only on the total sum of God’s Word from beginning to end. Do not fight the opposition with anger and rage, but with love and prayer. Our Hope has always warned that man will deceive man. While He teaches us to love every person, He also teaches obedience. True Christian love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), but acceptance of sin that is based on man’s wants and desires is not part of that equation. It is not of God. Believe only on Our Hope, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light (John 14:6).
How do you use the Bible to proof the preaching and teaching you hear that may ring false? Please comment here or go to www.mystoryofgrace.com and share your experience with us.