Kids love to play hide-and-go-seek. Even as adults, we enjoy making discoveries or being the first in our circle to learn new information. But what happens when that discovery is related to the Bible? Is new information always a good thing?
The apostle Peter spent much of his second letter in the Bible detailing the dangers of false teachers and how to recognize them. Yet, two thousand years later, we’re still often fooled. Perhaps it’s because false teachers and false teaching are not always easy to identify. If they were, Peter would not have needed to give us this information.
Often the easiest way to get people to believe a lie is to mix it with a little bit of truth. A blatant lie might be easily discernible. But a lie mixed with truth is more difficult to detect.
It’s even more difficult to evaluate teaching that involves prophecy – things that haven’t happened yet. If they haven’t happened, how do we know who is correct?
With our society becoming more and more post-Christian, interest in end-time events and timelines is growing among believers in Jesus Christ. Some of the most popular studies these days are studies of the Old Testament book of Daniel and the New Testament book of Revelation, both of which have a strong focus on prophecy.
I recently became aware of a book written about Revelation. The author claims to open the secrets of the book of Revelation by revealing information hidden for generations and now being made manifest. He goes on to say the book of Revelation has been reserved for an end-time generation of apostles and prophets who will explain the language that has veiled all previous studies.
Claims of secret knowledge are not new; they’ve been around for more than 2,000 years. The early church dealt with a heresy called Gnosticism. Gnostics believed matter was evil and knowledge was the path to freedom from the limitations of the physical world. Gnostics searched for – and claimed to have – special spiritual knowledge that surpassed what everyone else knew. They taught that for true salvation, people needed to come to them for the special, mystical knowledge they possessed.
So when I hear someone claim to have a special revelation that no one else has, you may understand my concern. Philippians 1:9-10 tells us to grow in knowledge and discernment. And James 1:5 (ESV) reminds us that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
God will give us what we need to understand and apply His Word; we don’t have to seek out someone with secret knowledge or revelation.
Have you read something in the Bible that you don’t comprehend? Ask the Author to open your understanding of His Word. That’s a request He delights in answering! Study together with other Christians. But if someone claims knowledge no one else has…run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!