Expect False Teaching

Have you noticed a lot of complaining, judging, pointing fingers, and arguing going on these days? One group is right about a particular issue, while those that oppose them are perceived to be evil, vile, or the source of everything wrong in the world. It goes both ways depending on what your view is in most cases. As Christians, we should expect this. It should not be a surprise to us. The Apostle Paul spoke of this very thing in his charge to Timothy.

“For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NLT)

I can confidently assume that at least one out of every five people can cite an example of someone misteaching the Bible. I have seen people bend the scriptures to the breaking point to fit a particular cultural or political narrative.

Let’s look at some scripture commonly cited in the anti-firearm position. For this context, we will use the term anti-weapon.

“Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

Matthew 26:52 (NLT) in part

Those who teach this narrative purport that Jesus was anti-weapon; if you read the entire context, this sheds more light on the actual meaning of Jesus’s words.

“Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.”

Matthew 26:50-56 (NLT)

Jesus was not making a political statement about weapons here. Instead, Jesus was talking metaphorically about the sword. Peter is identified as the sword handler in John 18:10 (NLT) and scolded for his hasty action. Jesus is identifying Peter’s quick-fired temper as the sword. It is a lesson on letting our hasty human decisions and tempers interfere with God’s plan. Peter’s impulsive human actions could have caused a conflict contrary to the course of events Jesus knew needed to transpire and prophesied about in the scriptures.

I’m sure you can see now that Jesus is not commenting about not using weapons. Jesus even stated he could call upon heavenly help, but doing so was not in the plan. Incidentally, Jesus healed the servant’s ear according to Luke 22:51 (NLT) before being hauled away for questioning.

Let’s dig deeper into how this is poor teaching in the context of weapons. First, if Jesus were anti-weapon, I would ask why Peter had one in the first place. If Jesus was anti-weapon, would it not be reasonable to assume he would not allow his disciples to carry them? Finally, if Jesus was anti-weapon, why would he fabricate one himself in John 2:15 (NLT)?

Though I make no secret that I am a supporter of gun rights, this blog article is not about my position on the issue but an example of misquoting and misrepresenting scripture.

As Paul is cautioning Timothy, however, we should expect that this misteaching will happen. We should not be afraid to stand up against poor teaching and share God’s word for what it means, not its literary structure. Instead, we should face the fact that we will take heat and face judgment from those around us who believe in this poor education for doing so. But, in the end, we will be rewarded for our conviction and fortitude.

Rev. Steven D. Hofmeister
Rev. Steven D. HofmeisterFounder, Senior Pastor, & President
Diakonos Independent Ministries of Maryland