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The Best Defense


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Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

—Hebrews 13:9

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Just as Satan, in the beginning, deceived Adam and Eve, he would continue to send deceivers. The worst of these will not come from the outside, declaring their opposition to God. They will come in disguise, from among us (Acts 20:30; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 3, 4). But we are not left without a defense.

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Does any one ask me, What is the best safe-guard against false doctrine?—I answer in one word, ‘The Bible: the Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied.’ We must go back to the old prescription of our Master: ‘Search the Scriptures’ (John 5:39). If we want a weapon to wield against the devices of Satan, there is nothing like ‘the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.’ But to wield it successfully, we must read it habitually, diligently, intelligently, and prayerfully. This is a point on which, I fear, many fail. In an age of hurry and bustle, few read their Bibles as much as they should. More books perhaps are read than ever, but less of the one Book which makes man wise unto salvation. . . . A Bible-reading laity is the strength of a church.

‘Search the Scriptures’. Mark how the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles continually refer to the Old Testament, as a document just as authoritative as the New. Mark how they quote texts from the Old Testament, as the voice of God, as if every word was given by inspiration. Mark how the greatest miracles in the Old Testament are all referred to in the New, as unquestioned and unquestionable facts. Mark how all the leading events in the Pentateuch are incessantly named as historical events, whose reality admits of no dispute. Mark how the atonement, and substitution, and sacrifice, run through the whole Bible from first to last, as essential doctrines of revelation. Mark how the resurrection of Christ, the greatest of all miracles, is proved by such an overwhelming mass of evidence, that he who disbelieves it may as well say he will believe no evidence at all. . . .

If we would not be carried about by ‘divers and strange doctrines’, we must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Search the Scriptures’. Ignorance of the Bible is the root of all error. Knowledge of the Bible is the best antidote against modern heresies.

—J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied (Banner of Truth, 2016), 392–394.



Posted 2017·07·11 by David Kjos
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