Avoid Religious Error
If a Bible teacher uses only one Bible translation all the time and never consults other Bible translations beware of their conclusions, especially when they are very dogmatic and insistent they are correct using only their one favorite Bible translation. You should consult more than one Bible translation to glean the most correct translation of any specific verse or verses. You should also consult Study Bibles, concordances and other Bible study aids to gain a clear understanding of Scripture. Don’t neglect to pray to God for clarity of understanding as you study. He will guide you to understand.
I was taught in the beginning of my walk with Jesus that God’s Grace was dependent on what I did. If I did right (kept the Law) I would be blessed. If I did wrong (didn’t keep the Law) I would be cursed by God. Later in life I saw the error of that theology. I didn’t question what I was told in the beginning. I simply accepted what Bible “scholars” told me. I had served in the US Marine Corps. Marines never question their lawful orders. Old habits are hard to break. I did not want to disobey Bible scholars. They sure seemed to know what they were telling me. Later on, I came to see the error in some of their teaching and the truth about the Grace of God that Jesus offers us.
“The truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for us had finally set me free from the burden of trying to keep the Law to be loved and blessed by God…”
I had to unlearn their wrong theology and it wasn’t easy. I struggled to reject the error I had been taught and to accept the truth as I now came to see it. In the past it was always on my mind: “Was I doing what would please God – am I doing enough?” As I began to fully embrace God’s Grace through Jesus and accept it as the way to live, my spiritual life once again became an experience of great joy. It was the same joy I briefly had in the beginning of my walk that returned to me. Now the words of the Bible came alive to me again. Scriptures that used to seem so difficult to understand and follow in my daily walk became clear to me. The truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for us had finally set me free from the burden of trying to keep the Law to be loved and blessed by God.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of Bible teachers as you seek to understand the truth. Those who are true believers are never intimidated or angered by answering your truth seeking questions. They understand Jesus is The Final Authority who is perfect in all His ways and He loves us all. There is no confusion or disagreement with Jesus who has made God’s Grace available to us as a free gift.
This Guidebook, Marines for JESUS, may sometimes seem to be in conflict with some traditional Christian theology and thought, as some believers understand it. Sometimes Scripture is clearly saying something different than what people think. Some translations may incorrectly translate a verse. So get ready to change your mind about some things in the Bible. Often in this Guidebook Marines for JESUS several verses are quoted to expound a concept in the Scriptures. Editor comments are sometimes inserted between verses for emphasis of important points and to add clarity. Different Bible translations are used to increase clarity of the truth since most, myself included, do not speak Greek or Hebrew.
I am not seeking to offend anyone who cherishes their beliefs so deeply yet encounters a different point of view in Marines for JESUS. I understand how it feels when something you deeply believe is challenged. It hurts and might even make you angry. Unfortunately, not everything we have been taught is based on Scripture even though we accept it as truth and hold on to it strongly. I speak from personal experience. I had to change what I deeply believed at times and I can tell you it wasn’t easy to change. So I personally understand how difficult it can be changing ones cherished religious beliefs when they conflict with what the Bible really says.
Always remember this. God, your Heavenly Father, loves you because He allowed His Son to die for you. Jesus willingly died for you and rose again the third day because He loves you too. In fact it was God’s plan all along to send His Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice that takes our place and provide for our redemption. That is the testimony of the Father’s personal love for you.
God admonishes us to treat others the way we want to be treated. I will do my best to honor that Godly principal and tell you the truth as God has led me to understand it. God is not interested in what denomination you belong to or what church you attend. Salvation is not earned because you can pass a written test in theology. He is only interested in having a personal relationship with you made possible through your accepting Jesus as His Son He sent to die for your sins and who rose again on the third day. If you do, God is happy with you and will guide you for the rest of your life by the Holy Spirit He gives you and all the free spiritual gifts He wants you to have. I believe this Guidebook will help you understand who you are in Jesus and the spiritual gifts He wants you to receive to fill up your closer walk with Jesus who loves you.