When a Preacher Misunderstands a Bible Subject

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

How we handle a misunderstanding on the part of a preacher or teacher will depend upon the nature of the misunderstanding. In every case it should be dealt with appropriately and in love.

Growing in Knowledge

  • Growth is a continual process — even for a preacher/teacher of the gospel
  • It is expected that a preacher/teacher will grow & mature in his understanding (1 Timothy 4:15; 2 Timothy 2:15)
  • If one waited to preach until he had a perfect understanding of every Bible subject, he would never preach
  • Is every misunderstanding automatic grounds for us labeling him as a false teacher, or does the type of misunderstanding play a part in this?

Three Types of Misunderstandings

  • Shallow understanding — often manifested in an oversimplification of a Bible subject; he just scratches the surface instead of delving deeply into an issue
  • Incomplete understanding — he knows part of the truth on a particular topic, but doesn’t have a complete picture
  • Incorrect understanding — this is “contrary to the teaching” of the Bible (Romans 16:17); to teach this type of misunderstanding would be teaching error

Our Responsibility

  • To the preacher with a shallow understanding — help him to reach a deeper understanding (Proverbs 27:17)
  • To the preacher with an incomplete understanding — show him what he is missing (Acts 18:24-26)
  • To the preacher with an incorrect understanding — have no fellowship (2 John 10-11), call attention to him (3 John 9-10)

Responsibility of the Preacher

  • If he is going to preach, he must strive to understand the Scriptures (1 Timothy 1:6-7) — must be able to teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)
  • If he has a shallow understanding — strive to obtain a deeper understanding (2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 4:11)
  • If he has an incomplete understanding — learn the whole picture; don’t be content with a partial understanding (Acts 20:27)
  • If he has an incorrect understanding — be willing to admit error & correct it (1 Timothy 1:11-17)

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