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“Eat the meat and spit out the bones!” Most Christians have heard this old saying. This saying refers to teaching. Many Christians advise other believers to listen to questionable teaching by ingesting some of it and spitting out the bad. The problem with this analogy is that eating the meat and spitting out the bones can kill you. If you miss a bone, you may choke to death. If you know that something is contaminated, it is wise to leave the entire thing alone. Understand that many good teachers have “some” level of error in their teachings. But teaching that is demonic, heretical, or damaging should be rejected. It is natural for believers to seek out biblical teaching because we are directed, by scripture, to study God’s word.
“Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16 NET). God’s word is our training manual. The Bible equips us to live successful and godly lives. The word of God teaches, empowers, corrects, and guides. All Christians must have a systematic and daily plan from studying God’s word. Paul told Timothy, “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately” (2 Timothy 2:15 NET). Paul tells Timothy that his teaching must be accurate, and this is a warning against teaching what is contrary to sound doctrine.
False teaching can be dangerous. If a false teacher can get you to receive a false concept of God, it can hinder your fellowship with your Father. And a perverse understanding of scripture can literally destroy your life. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of God, I also will ignore your children” (Hosea 4:6). If you are born again, you cannot lose your salvation, but false teaching can still bring death to part of your life. Please be aware that false teaching is everywhere.
We live in an age where the Bible is freely accessible to most people. And we are exposed to “biblical teaching” from many different platforms. However, much of the teaching that we encounter is false and perverse. Christians are exposed to unbalanced teaching, perverse and twisted presentations of the gospel, and demonic doctrines that distort the nature of God and the grace of our Lord. God has empowered all of his children with the ability to recognize bad teaching, and this ability comes from the Holy Spirit.
“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:26-27). God’s Holy Spirit gives his children the ability to recognize error and false teaching. Christians who spend time daily in God’s word, and in prayer, will be sensitive to God’s voice. The Holy Spirit will warn God’s children of teaching that is either demonic in origin or the result of carnal reasoning. The error in the teaching may not be immediately obvious, but the Christian who lives a devotional lifestyle will feel an inward witness of the dangers of the false teaching that they are being exposed to. The Holy Spirit is our ultimate teacher.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26 KJV). God’s Holy Spirit is our teacher. We may have many teaching assistants, but it is God Himself who is in charge of our learning. When we understand this fact, and walk in this truth by faith, we position ourselves to have very real “classroom” sessions with the Creator. As we study under the Master, we will experience sound and accurate teaching, and we will be immediately repelled by what is deceptive and false. God desires that his children test the spirit of the teacher before sitting under their ministry.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1 MEV). We test teaching by comparing it with scripture and by allowing God’s Spirit to reveal the nature of what is being presented. It is a very bad idea to haphazardly embrace any person simply because they share a few scriptures or appear to be followers of Christ. Know the background of the teacher that you are listening to, examine their message by comparing it to scripture, and pray that the Holy Spirit reveal any dangerous errors in their teaching.
Believers must live a devotional lifestyle in order to be able to hear from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will protect you from teaching that is destructive to your life or damaging to your walk as a Christian. Protect yourself by filtering the teachings that you are exposed to, and reject any doctrine that does not come from God.