- As a Christian, I must be abiding in the doctrine of the text.
- If passage (text) says this is what one must do to: a) Become a Christian b) Remain a Christian – I MUST follow that passage (text) and its doctrine to be blameless.
- I must regularly examine myself in the context of that passage and text.
- Without showing any form of hypocrisy (clearly believing one thing and teaching another).
- I must know and be able to teach the context of the argument.
- I must be extremely careful if I am not in the habit of studying God’s Word.
- I must be extremely careful if I tend to go to extremes in voicing opinion or doctrine, when trying to teach God’s Word.
- I must always strive to have a Christ-like attitude: FOR I AM A CHRISTIAN.
Proof-text – Noun – A passage of the Bible to which appeal is made in support of an argument or position in theology.
Proof-text in consideration – 2 John 9-10 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.
As a Christian, the principle stands and the Gospel accounts and the Epistles reinforce the text of “transgressing and abiding not in the doctrine of Christ.” The inspired writers tell us time and time again what a Christian must not do to transgress or go beyond the doctrine of Christ. (Matthew 7:26; 13:19-22; Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 8:38; 16:16 – But he that believeth not shall be damned; Luke 16:18; 19:26-27; John 3:19-20; 8:24; 12:47-48; 15:6; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 10:5-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 2:18; 3:5-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 6:3-5, 9-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:3-4, 10; Titus 1:10-16; 3:1, 9-11; Hebrews 3:7-4:2; 10:25-29; 12:25-29; James 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2; 3:16; Jude; Revelation 21:8)
As a Christian, the principle stands and the Gospel accounts and the Epistles reinforce the text of “abiding in the doctrine of Christ.” The inspired writers tell us time and time again what a Christian must do to abide in the doctrine of Christ. (Matthew 7:24-25; 10:32-33; 12:50; 13:23; 25:34-40; Mark 8:34-37; 16:16 – He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; Luke 10:33-37; John 3:21; 4:23-24, 34-38; 5:24; 7:16-17; 8:12, 31-32; 12:44-46; 13:34-35; 15:7-10; 17:20-21; Romans 6:3-4, 17; 8:10; 12:1-2, 9-21; 13:1; 16:17-18; Corinthians 11:23-28; 13:4-8; 15:1-2, 58; 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; 9:6-7; Galatians 5:1, 22-26; Ephesians 4:1-3, 15, 21-24; 5:1-2, 19-33; 6:10-18; Philippians 2:5-8; 4:4-8; Colossians 3:1-4, 10-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-15; 2 Timothy 2:15, 21-26; 3:12; Titus 1:7-9; 2:1-15; 3:8-11; Hebrews 11:6; 12:1-2; 13:1-9, 17, 20-21; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 2 Peter 1:4-8; 1 John 1:7; 2:3-6; Jude 20-21; Revelation 22:12-14, 17-19)
In all of the above mentioned verses we must not forget that there are those verses we seem to label for the worldly, then there are verses we tend to label for those who have turned from the doctrine of Christ and have transgressed in doing so. Then there are those for whom we put blinders on and we focus no attention or take no disciplinary action toward. These are the ones in our own congregation of the Lord’s church. I ask that you look at some of the above verses and see that abiding in Christ is more than we may consider many times. There are examples of many individuals that walk disorderly or “out of step” whom we should discipline in our very midst. Those that habitually forsake the assembly, those living in unscriptural marriages, those who are habitually late with showing no remorse or care of the time set by the elders. These are individuals that consistently go against the very doctrine that saved them and should continue saving them if they would only “abide” in Christ. Elders are not above reproach when steps are not taken in restoring those that are walking out of step. (1 Timothy 5:17-20) Then there are those in the brotherhood that the Bible demands that we discipline. Even when discipline demands we reprove, mark, and avoid those that have not kept or falsely taught the doctrine of Christ. (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Titus 3:8-11)
As individuals we MUST examine ourselves in the faith on a regular basis so we can set the appropriate example and teach with confidence as one being blameless. Blameless does not mean perfect, but it leads us to always take into consideration our words, our thoughts, and our actions. Why such a strictness of “code?” Because we abide in Christ. As Christians people of the world may set us as the standard. Paul writes to those in Corinth, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Notice the words, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” This is the system of faith! The Gospel! If you are in the faith, then Christ is in you! If you are lacking Christ in you then the doctrine of Christ does not abide in you and you are a reprobate. This is one that calls himself a Christian, yet he or she is the very one that is transgressing the doctrine of Christ and is being spoken of in 2 John 9-10. I have a question. How many brethren in the local congregations actually teach the Gospel of Christ to others? Isn’t that the whole purpose and will of the Father is to teach the gospel and to seek and save the lost? If we are not teaching Christ, are we abiding in His doctrine? When we examine ourselves we can know if we walk in truth. John hits over and over again the importance of walking in truth so that we can plainly teach and not show ourselves to be hypocrites. “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth.” (2 John 4)
I believe in using proof-text, but without showing any form of hypocrisy. Why do I say this? Hypocrisy can be a matter of judgment and opinion. As a Christian one must have purged out the actions and characteristics of the old man and have a mindset of pleasing God. A Christian knows he or she is not perfect, but they want to please God in every way. When we teach the Gospel, we teach those things that are our very makeup. When we live of the Gospel and start teaching others, those of the world do take notice. That is a good thing. But then they start looking for our faults. Isn’t that what we do in others? Proof-texts are like bullet points that hide who we are as we give very little information to those we are around every day. When we share passages and study the Bible it opens up more than just a brief discussion full of “bullet points.” But what about hypocrisy? “For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.” (Isaiah 32:6) The religious leaders of Christ’s time were of such men, “Outwardly they appear righteous unto men, but within they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:28) The world is full of religious hypocrisy! We must be different and in doing so we must be careful with one-verse proof-texts and teach the Gospel of Christ. The stain of sin is more than one verse, the plan of salvation and the people used as examples are more than just a few quick verses. The love of Christ is a continual theme throughout the New Testament, it’s not just a few verses or the book of John. Are preachers teaching patchwork Christianity in the assembly? They better not be. When we constantly proof-text verses, many times we use more of our opinion and we use stories for filler. Teaching and preaching the Gospel is more than entertainment and huge doses of comedy and story time. We need others to trust us in our handling of the Gospel. In 2 John notice how the emphasis is “we walk after His commandments.” (2 John 6) I think we need to be very careful in using 2 John 9-10 as a tongue in cheek coverall proof-text.
I believe in using proof-text, but I must know and be able to teach the context of the argument. A perfect example is in Acts chapter 8. Philip asked the eunuch, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30-35) The answer was, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” Then notice what Phillip did. He came up and sat with the eunuch and then Phillip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. Salvation followed. I can’t imagine what would have happened if Phillip just started shooting off proof-text based on what he thought he needed. The eunuch was taught more than just who Jesus was. He was taught the things that Christ commanded for one to be a disciple and more. The Philippian jailor was able to hear more than just proof-texting when Paul spoke the words of the Lord and he and all his, were baptized straightway. (Acts 16:30-34) When these men taught Christ it resulted in the salvation of others. We must believe and trust in the authority of the scriptures. In 2 John notice how, “Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. . . Look to yourselves. . . “ (2 John 7-8) Gnosticism – that is the context! Yet again, the principle of verses 9-10 apply to us today.
I believe in using proof-text, but I must be extremely careful if I am not in the habit of studying God’s Word. Yes, I could have phrased this differently, but how many times do we teach our children just single verse proof-text with no context or studying or effort behind it? When we teach our children the plan of salvation so many times they know just single verses. Yet Acts is full of men and women coming to the knowledge of our Lord and we see their whole lives change right before our eyes. How exciting! It takes a little bit of time going through Acts 2 and seeing so much played out and the end result is the birth of the church with 3000 souls being added to the Lord’s body. Turning to chapter 8 unfolds the city of Samaria having Christ preached unto them by Phillip and after many believing and being baptized there was great rejoicing in that city. The same chapter reveals that there was an individual who Philip preached Christ unto and he became a Christian. If we told these accounts in a verse or two it would be hard to understand why they were rejoicing, but studying and understanding the importance of salvation is a great help in teaching. What about Acts chapter 10 when the words of God come to a Gentile? Or the chapters concerning Paul’s conversion and how he repeats the wonderful change in his life over and over in retelling his account? Then chapter 16 where there are several that put on Christ through baptism. We must not just study verses, but also chapters, but in context of salvation and the spreading of Christianity how can one not study the whole book of Acts? Well now that I am a Christian, why not read the epistles and all that is involved in the Gospel and the Church? I mean come on, the book of Revelation is about victory in Christ and in Him alone. Christ WINS! 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. All scripture is important not just bits and pieces here and there, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) “That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” (2 John 6)
I believe in using proof-text, but I must be extremely careful if I tend to go to extremes in voicing opinion or doctrine when trying to teach God’s Word. Sometimes a proof-text alone carries us away from a simple question someone may ask concerning the Gospel. Depending on the question sometimes we tend to go to extremes in answering a very simple question. One may ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Many times we jump right on baptism and so goes the potential for losing sight of the whole plan while we argue extremes when it comes to when, where, and how baptism is to be administered. Let’s just answer their question calmly and with patience and teach the “whole” about salvation. Of course even now, some of you are going to extremes, “Well what if…and if this…The religious world at large does this concerning salvation…what if…” Possibly we have answered these “what if” questions so much, now we go to extremes. Most people are seeking an answer, just an answer to their question, yet we give them extremes or opinions. The Bible will answer all questions, it will refute all error, it will comfort, it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. Let’s just be simple Christians and teach. We may argue and be right doctrinally, but if we don’t answer in simplicity to someone sincerely asking about God’s word we may lose them through our pride. It doesn’t matter how much we know until we show how much we care about their souls. This even goes for those who are leaning toward error in our local congregations. We have a bigger influence on them than we may think. Giving more opinion than scripture, telling more stories than scripture, going to extremes in doctrine rather than letting the Bible hit the heart of the matter, these are dangerous in discussing the soul-saving power of the Gospel. Do we trust in the power of the Gospel? We do not tolerate error at all. But we must not be afraid to take a stand in our community (not the whole countryside). Those that have already gone the way of Balaam, they have gone out of our midst, but there are others that need our help. They need to know they don’t stand alone. “We have received a commandment…that we love one another.” (2 John 4-5)
I believe in using proof-text, but I must always strive to have a Christ-like attitude: FOR I AM A CHRISTIAN. For this cause if I use proof-texting to condemn others, I must remember that in 2 John there is love and there is truth. I must walk in the commandments of Christ myself. This is where truth is and the assurance of my salvation. There are those that did not believe that Christ came in the flesh. This goes against the very heart of the Gospel. How can a man or woman have any hope if deity came to this earth and did not share in the qualities and characteristics of fleshly man? Christ came in humility and made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.(Philippians 2:7-8) The world is foolish in her thoughts about God, but those that know the truth through humility and lowliness of mind have no problem walking in truth and love. John fought for the truth through letters and words maintaining his belief in Christ, knowing the things that he heard, those things that he had seen, and those things that he had handled, of the Word of life. His belief and attitude never wavered in the sight of men, to him there was overwhelming evidence that the Son of God existed here on this earth and proved himself in all things: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:30-31)