Occasionally, when you read the Bible, it will become apparent that what you were taught is not what the Bible says.
What to do when the Bible disagrees with your doctrine?
Usually you start by asking your teacher, “Hey, how comes this here verse don’t say what you done told me?”
Your teacher will more than likely explain the verse away, or list 14 other verses that distract the issue, and let you know that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. They will tell you that the problem, of course, lies with you and your uneducatedness. Good thing you have such a wise teacher!
You will then go back and read the Bible some more and you will come across the same question. You will remember what your teacher told you. You will look up the 14 verses that were listed, which you are now also more familiar with. Sometimes your understanding really was off and the teacher was right.
But other times you will figure out that the answers you were given don’t quite seem to jive with Scripture. In fact, often times, they conflict with verse after verse.
For many years I, along with just about every evangelical, was taught that we are saved by faith alone. I assumed the Bible said this. There are 14 verses people will list to prove that we are saved by faith alone. None of those 14 verses says we are saved by faith alone.
In fact, the only time the Bible mentions being justified by faith only is in James 2, where it clearly says we ARE NOT justified by faith only.
There are volumes written to explain why we are justified by faith alone and how you just don’t understand James, or you don’t understand why you don’t have to listen to James, or some other explanation you don’t understand.
You can hear the answers and have it explained to you 4,000 times and still not be able to get around James saying we are not justified by faith only.
So, at a certain point you have to decide: will I go with the doctrinal gymnastics of my group, or will I simply take the plain language of the Bible and go with that?
Most go with the group.
Some go with the Bible. I recommend going with the Bible.
Take the simplest explanation of each passage, which can only be seen by the context. Pretend that every verse means exactly what it says, stop trying to cancel out one verse with another one, and you’ll be amazed at how much more easy the Bible is to understand.
Stick with that simple message and act as though it were true.
If the simple message of the verses disagrees with your doctrine, make appropriate adjustments to your doctrine. Do not adjust the verses to your doctrine!
Everyone knew what James was talking about until Martin Luther invented justification by faith alone. Ever since then people have been trying to reconcile man’s ideas with James’ inspired message. And this is one example of about 5,000 where our man-made doctrine disagrees with Scripture.
Everything is simplified if you just drop man’s ideas and stick with the God-breathed words of Scripture.
You will be amazed at how consistent and simple the Bible is once you decide to stop defending your doctrinal camp. It’s truly beautiful and I highly recommend it.
Act as though the Bible is true. Do the work to find out what it means based on the context. Put those words into action. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word. If you are following man’s doctrine and not God’s Word, then faith is not what you are doing.
God’s Word is what has life. Don’t let man’s ideas keep you from the living Word of God.