The requirement for Biblical balance has been on my mind and heart for a long time. Part of the reason behind this is because I keep seeing well meaning Christians being waylaid from what the Bible teaches on a particular subject. And a lot of times, these mis-guided teachings have to do with healing and sickness. There are many other examples like prosperity teaching, signs and wonders and deliverance to name but a few.
My intent is NOT to address any of these subjects in particular but to provide an overview of some of the common mistakes Christians make when subjecting themselves to teachings on these controversial subjects, especially by controversial or questionable authors. If you stop to think about it, the reason why these subjects are controversial is because there are different schools of thought on these given subjects and in the vast majority of cases, especially when one over riding principle is expounded upon, to the exclusion of all others, enviably you will find that differing aspects of the subject or topic are being ignored.
The Bible tells us certain things that we need to do to learn the Bible itself. In John 5:39 the Lord Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures.” That word “search” means to examine very thoroughly, investigate, trace out; it implies a good deal of diligence and effort in finding the truth that is there. In the audience that was there, there were Jews who were no doubt proud of their knowledge of Scripture. They had indeed searched the Scriptures, but they had astigmatism, spiritually speaking. They were selective in what they were seeing there. They were seeing certain things and were refusing to see other things. Christ reminded them that the Scriptures testified of Him. They had shut off that part of Scripture. It was not penetrating them at all. They didn’t come to Scripture to learn what was there; they came to confirm what they wished to see there.
The Lord Jesus, in this context, urged them to start with Moses and to search the Scriptures. That’s a big order. Go through the whole Bible. Look for it. Have an open mind. Be teachable. Let the Spirit of God tell you what is there. Don’t come with your mind made up and say, “I’m looking for this.” That’s imposing your interpretation upon what Scripture is saying.
For example, consider the word “holiness.” There are approximately 600 references to that word in the Bible. Go through those 600 references, and you find out what the Bible really teaches about holiness – being set apart for God – and all the ramifications of that doctrine. All of a sudden, you have found something; it’s what Scripture says, not just what you want to say about that doctrine. That’s why a concordance is valuable. Of course, I don’t mean the concordance in the back of your Bible. That doesn’t give you 600 references for the word “holiness.” You’ll need an exhaustive concordance like Strong’s or Young’s.
When you realize that what you are doing in studying Scripture is finding out, examining, and tracing out what the Scripture really says on a subject, you have gained a tremendous organizational principle in your use of Scripture. In I Corinthians 2:13, Paul says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Compare what is in Scripture. Too many times an author will have a certain doctrine in his mind, which is formulated by some proof texts, and he has certain verses that to him epitomize that doctrine. But the doctrine itself (going back to holiness) may have 600 parts to it, and he’s looking at some selected verses and saying, “Now, this is the truth.” Whereas in reality, he is giving a small fragment of what is in Scripture on that point. We should compare one passage with another and compare all those different verses to find out what the doctrine really holds.
This is what it means to have balance. It means that you are aware of what Scripture is teaching on these points, and you are not pulling isolated verses out. It’s learning what the Scripture really says on these points so that when you speak of these things, you come with a background that is aware of all the different facets of these doctrines.
Isaiah 28:10 KJV “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”
If you do NOT have a good working knowledge of the totality of the Holy Scriptures (that would mean from Genesis to Revelation), you are not going to be able to have anything to compare with what you are reading. When for example you are studying the topic of healing in the Bible, the principles you arrive at must include all of the scriptures that speak on this subject, not just the verses that support the principle that God physically heals every believer, always.
And when you see scripture verses quoted in a book authored by an individual who is expounding upon his understanding of healing, again as an example, one also has to ensure that the verses that are being quoted are being used in the correct context and applicable, such as does this verse apply exclusively to the nation of Israel or is it applicable to everyone, which would obviously include the Gentiles.
For example, when Israel wandered in the wilderness, their sandals and clothes did not wear out. Does that mean that “real Christians” should not, if they are really believing God, need to buy new shoes or clothes?
It also vitally important to understand the covenants and blessings that were originated by God to and with Israel do not necessarily apply to Gentiles who are no longer under The Law but are now under the New Covenant that Jesus made available to us by His death and resurrection.
The biggest danger that I see is that Christians have not taken it to heart to study the Holy Scriptures. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
2 Timothy 4:3 NIV “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
There are no short cuts to studying the Holy Scriptures, yet time and time again we think that we can circumvent this requirement and just focus on a given subject by following the teachings of another “enlightened” Christian who has found what most others have supposedly missed. Instead of acknowledging our need TO FIRST become grounded in the Holy Scriptures, too often we’re looking for that fast track that feeds the aspect of Christianity we’re looking to experience. I liken it to entering a 26 mile marathon race when you haven’t taken the time to prepare your body for running a long distance or placing a five course meal in front of a baby that is still feeding on milk. Sounds ludicrous doesn’t it, yet that is what our own minds encourage ourselves to do.
Romans 12:2 NIV “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I can think of do other scripture that better epitomizes the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit than the Apostle Paul’s admonition to us as given in Ephesians 6:13-17 NIV:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!