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Why do pastors stray from the Bible and teach their own ideas and opinions?

In John 7:16, 17 we read, “Jesus answered them, and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’” 

Jesus felt a deep obligation to make sure he was teaching the Word of God and not his own thoughts. Every Christian should feel the same. A pastor has a special obligation, not only to God, but to the congregation he leads. But there are many reasons a pastor may not be teaching the Bible correctly. Assuming that the individual is sincere and not intentionally misleading anyone, it may simply be that the Bible is difficult to understand and there are many different interpretations available to him.

When Jesus spoke to the multitudes he always spoke in parables. But when speaking to his disciples he taught more clearly (See Mark 4:34). On one occasion, his disciples asked him why he spoke to the crowds in parables and made it difficult for people to understand. Jesus answered,

“…I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

Matthew 13:13

In other words, most people will not understand his words because they are not truly open to them.

Before God will reveal His truth, whether to a pastor or to anyone else, there must be a deep desire to know and understand His word. Church is not meant to be merely a social gathering, but a place of worship and learning. We are currently living in an age when God is selecting a bride for Christ (See Revelation 21:2). This is a special calling. In Philippians 3:14 it is termed a “high calling.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:26, 27).

Once the bride is complete and the call has ended, Christ will inaugurate his earthly kingdom. It is referred to in the Book of Revelation as a period of 1,000 years (Revelation 20:6). The church will share in the “first resurrection.” But then, the second resurrection will begin and God’s plan will be clearly revealed to all mankind.

The Bible tells us that in our day most people will not understand the Bible. But in Christ’s earthly kingdom, the “knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah: 11:9).

Prophecies such as Isaiah 2:3 will then be fulfilled. “And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.’”

If a believer feels they are being called to be part of the bride of Christ, he or she has a personal responsibility to study God’s word for themselves. If the pastor is not teaching the Word correctly, it should be addressed with kindness. But if not corrected in time, the believer has an obligation to find a place where understanding the Bible is the focus. It is important to remember that a pastor’s work should never take the place of individual responsibility to study and serve God.

To learn more about spiritual leaders listen to,

“Have You Lost Faith in Your Spiritual Leaders?”