I received the following question:

On many instances it seems like when I’m in church or at crusade here it seems like I can count many contradictions in the pastor/speaker’s message and many of the times it seems like I have a better grasp on the idea that they do, or have considered things more in depth.  Sometimes it really gets me down to think about the Word of God being so manipulated.  In II Timothy 4 it talks about people not conforming to sound doctrine.  Is this just something we are suppose to put up with?  Do you ever get down because of situations like this?  Maybe I’m being a little critical on words but still many times the message portrayed is wrong as well.

I know what you mean.  I rarely agree with everything a person says in a message, and sometimes agree with almost none of it.  I know what you mean about feeling like I have a better grasp of the passage than the speaker.  The fact is that pastors are so busy with all their duties that they often have little time to do their own Bible study, even if they want to.  Four years in college is probably the most study they get, and that is not any too great a time to spend on study.  Then, much of that time can be taken up with other things, like studying “church history” and things of that sort that really have nothing to do with learning the Bible and what it says.  Thus, I suppose it’s not too surprising when speakers don’t know as much as we might wish they did about the Scriptures they are preaching.  On top of this, of course, is the fact that they are usually not taught how to interpret things dispensationally, which means that they are missing a key truth before they even begin to interpret a passage.

It is depressing that those whom people rely on to teach them the truth often know so little themselves.  It can get you down, certainly.  We can also look at it from the more positive angle, though, of how much God has blessed us by allowing us to know the truth.  You are right, I think, to quote II Timothy 4 in this regard.  I believe that we are living in those “last days” that Paul was talking about there, and it can be expected that we will find much more error out there than truth.  I do not believe that this is the way God wants things, but it certainly is the way that our enemy Satan wants things, and I cannot help but look at the situation and conclude that “an enemy has done this.”

I do know what you mean about being overly critical.  Yet if there is anything I should be a perfectionist about, isn’t the Bible at the top of the list?  And you are right, it is often not just a misunderstanding of words, but that leads into a complete misunderstanding of the entire message and meaning of a passage.  This is unfortunate, but there is often little we can do about it.  Sometimes we do just have to “put up with it,” as you say.  Our duty is to see to it that we set forth the truth in our own teaching, and try to help people understand both what these words and these passages truly mean.  That is all we can do, and I believe all that God expects of us.

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