I'm a student at heart and probably more of a skeptic than I like to admit so I always want to check whether the latest book, teacher, or ministry being talked about in Christian circles is based on the truth of scripture, just as the Bereans did with Paul in Acts 17:11. Sadly, there is a lot out there that isn't - not according to my opinion but according to what God's word says versus what they say.
I want to encourage us all to test what we read or hear against what the Bible teaches and not automatically assume something is ok or let our guard down because it comes from a Christian publisher or best-selling author, a mega-church pastor, a popular conference or t.v. speaker, a ladies' Bible study at church, or the latest feel-good book written in the first person voice of Jesus as if he is speaking a special message to us through the author.
Seek discernment from the Holy Spirit because there is deception coming from the most surprising sources.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers."
1 Timothy 4:16
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:21
"Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness."
“But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.
...And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
2 Corinthians 11:3-4,14-15
"Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! ...They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the LORD,’ when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. ...Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you," declares the Lord GOD."
"Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance."
"For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
...If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them."
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."
1 John 4:1-3
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"
Matthew 7:13-15, 21-23
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths."
2 Timothy 4:1-4
"Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! ...For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News — and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God."
1 Corinthians 1:12-18