A Small Misunderstanding of Scripture Brings Bad Results

mgkilbride Ministering to the Minister

Brandon Hilgemann
Used by Permission
August 2015

The pretty pink princess, my four-year-old daughter, was playing on the living room floor.

In meticulous fashion, she was placing her dolls in her doll house, each in a different room for the big imaginary party.

But then came her little brother.

My 11 month-old boy, who we affectionately call “the bruiser,” came barreling in like a wrecking ball, demolishing everything. She screamed as he crawled on top of her, and pushed her to the ground. Her party was ruined.

Before I could intervene, she got mad and shoved him to the ground. He cried. I separated them, and sent sister to her room. She should know better than to push her baby brother.

After I calmed my boy down, I stepped into my daughter’s room and asked, “Why did you push your brother?”

She defended herself in her innocent little voice, “He pushed me first… Do unto others as they do to you.”

It took everything I had not to laugh out loud.

In my daughter’s mind she was just following The Golden Rule she learned in church. Unfortunately, she got just a few words wrong.

What a difference a few extra words make.

The Problem
Christians misquote, misunderstand, and misapply Scripture all the time. Don’t they?

As pastors, preachers, and teachers of God’s Holy Word, we must be very careful in our explanation and exhortation of Scripture.

There are far too many people in our churches who have it wrong.

Theology matters. Doctrine makes a difference.

Pastors, it is your job and mine to lovingly address false beliefs, and point our people to the truth. A few words make all the difference.

Every solitary word of Scripture is God-breathed, and given to us so that we may all be thoroughly equipped (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

But I fear too many Christians are not properly equipped.

How much have they actually read the Bible themselves? Are they relying too much on pastors to feed them?

Preaching Alone Is Not Enough
We must encourage our people to not rely solely on the sermon to feed them. They must read the Bible for themselves.

If not, they will continue to believe whatever they hear instead of what they have read. Christians who don’t know what the Bible actually says are more likely to believe false teaching.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is too important to be taken lightly.

As seen throughout church history, an extra word here, a misinterpretation there, and before we know it, well-intending people begin believing an entirely false gospel. One iota makes all the difference.

What are we doing to make sure the people under our care get it right? How are we instilling a hunger and thirst among our people to read God’s Word themselves?

[Dale Flynn and his wife, Liz, are Word of Life Local Church Ministries missionaries in Eastern MD.  Dale is a Local Church Ministries curriculum editor and is the editor of this Ministering to the Minister E-Transfer national electronic Pastor’s newsletter.  The Flynns make their home in Elkton, MD. Questions or comments about this article may be addressed to Dale at: DFlynn@wol.org. ]