We cannot necessarily tell the difference between wheat and tares. But we should be well versed in the truth to be able to discern the counterfeit messages. However, the church has not only been taught not to watch. It has also been taught not to know, which ultimately means to not be able to discern. When I was saved, I had the privilege of being mentored by someone who knew how to study the Bible. I was introduced to the Interlinear Bible with the Greek and Hebrew alongside the English text, and I was shown the Strong’s concordance which demonstrates that God consistently uses words throughout the scripture to express the same truths.
When we studied the Bible, we did word studies and cross scripture comparisons to see the major themes of the Bible. Through this simple but diligent approach to the word, we beheld its power. Together, we led many people to the Lord because we could always back up what we said from the word. In a few months, I knew more than most Christians I met who had been saved for years. This is not because there was something special about me. It is because the key of knowledge had been withheld from them. Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day:
Luk 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
In almost 20 years as a Christian, I have never heard a sermon in a church about how to study the Bible. I’ve never seen classes on it either in a church. It is simply not taught. Yet any believer, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can easily use a couple of dictionaries and a concordance and get to the precise meaning of words and understand the Bible. But where this key of knowledge is not put in their hands, they are forced to rely upon men. As a result, very few Christians know how to study the Bible. In a silent way, the institutional Church has taught Christians to rely on men – religious professionals – for their knowledge of truth. When we don’t know how to study the Bible and search out its truths, and we hear a narrative from the pulpit that contradicts the scripture although it uses many Bible verses (although often out of context or misconstrued, misinterpreted and misapplied), the result is confusion. When the believer goes back to the Bible and discovers that he or she cannot find what the Pastor was talking about in the text they often do not question the accuracy of the Pastor, they doubt their own ability to understand the word. They give up trying.
I believe this is one of the primary reasons why Christians do not read their Bibles. They cannot find the meaning that the Pastor assigns and assume that their own understanding is faulty and they cannot understand scripture!