Why can’t you understand the New Testament? By Alan Ballou
Jesus is our understanding (1 John 5:20). That is correct. However, what most people do not know is that when we speak against the faith, we can fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
1 Timothy 6:20-21
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. NKJV
So, let’s say that you do not understand something, but instead of looking to Jesus for your understanding through God the Word (John 1:1), you turn to a person who does not speak in accordance with God the Word (the Word of God). Now what?
As soon as you give the amen (let it be so for me and my house) to philosophy and human wisdom you are taken captive by it. Saying “amen” to a false doctrine is the same as saying it yourself. In doing so, you can be swindled (cheated) out of the faith you once had. Check the verses below.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. NKJV
Here we have instructions to stay rooted in Christ and sound in the faith which we have been taught, and growing in it (verse 6 above). Then we are warned that even though we are in Christ, someone can cheat us with philosophy and deceptive words, which we should recognize as man-made (according to the ways of men and principles of this world).
Why don’t we recognize things like that? Because we do not test what we hear out of respect for the speaker. It is considered rude to question someone who is considered the authority in what they are speaking on according to the world’s standards, but God’s standard requires us to test “everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are even supposed to be testing our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ and the Word of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Everything we need is already in Christ. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him, and we are complete in Him (verse 9-10 above). What does that mean? That means everything any Christian (Christ follower, Acts 11:26) would ever need is already in his hands (a Bible) because Christ Jesus is the Word (John 1:14)! All any of us needs to be concerned with is continuing in Him.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He (the Word) was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2). That’s right, the Word is a person; “He,” and every bit a part of the Godhead. He is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), and He works all by Himself on the inside of those who believe Him (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Word is also Spirit (John 6:63) and He is Jesus (John 1:14). He is truth (John 17:17), and He can set us free from sin (John 8:31-39, Romans 1:28-32). He (the Word) was left out of the so-called trinity. Trinity is not in your Bible, regardless of what it means, it is still a man-made philosophy. Therefore, make sure that no one takes you captive by it. Always speak according to what is written in the Word (2 Corinthians 4:13, Proverbs 30:6)!
He, the Word, preached the Gospel in advance to Abraham (Galatians 3:8). Check it! This is the same Word that can save our soul if it is planted on the inside of us (James 1:21). He is the same Word by which we can be born again (1 Peter 1:22-25), and He saves those who hear Him and believe. He, the Word, is able to build us up and give us an inheritance among those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32).
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. NKJV
32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. NKJV
So how can we understand the Word? Those who obey the commands and precepts (instructions) will have a good understanding (Psalm 111:10, 119:97-105).
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. NKJV
You don’t need to go and get a watered down Bible to have an understanding. As long as you can read the words you are fine. After that, look to Jesus, Who will give you an understanding according to 1 John 5:20. He is our understanding and everything else we need. Start by doing what Jesus tells you to do as you read it and learn it. Then cry out to Him.
Jesus opened the disciples understanding after they had walked with Him for years (Luke 24:45). So it’s not a matter of understanding everything now, but just accept, believe, and follow Jesus.
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. NKJV
As you read our new agreement with God (New Testament), you will be able to see things that you need to put into practice, such as forgiving others (Matthew 6:14-15), helping God’s people who are in need according to John’s baptism (Luke 3:7-14), loving other disciples (John 13:34-35), and the like. Accept and believe those things, and then put them into practice.
If you hear the Word, but fail to put it into practice, destruction is in your near future (Luke 6:46-49).
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” NKJV
Understanding is just a matter of time for those who accept Jesus as Lord of their life, but for those who only declare Jesus as Lord, without putting His teachings into practice, they will not only experience destruction without being rescued (Proverbs 1:22-33, Hosea 7:12), but they will also not have a good understanding (Ephesians 4:17-19).
They won’t be able to figure out what’s happening to them, but it will be simple for those who follow the teachings; they disobey the message (1 Peter 2:8). There are two different people in the passage of scripture below (Ephesians 4:17-24). One lives like they used to live, refusing to change, and so they become blind, and ignorant of God’s ways, and give themselves back over to the ways of this world. The second (verses 20-24), learned Christ the right way according to truth, and put off his old self, renewed his mind with the truth, and put on the new person. Which one do you want to be?
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. NKJV
Those who refuse to change (hardened blind heart) will have a darkened understanding (Ephesians 4:17-19). It’s that simple. We have to accept, believe, and trust Jesus, Who is the Word (John 1:14), before we can fully understand the Christian life. It is only hard if we want to keep our flesh alive. God’s ways are easy, but hard on the flesh.
You may understand a few things right now, but read the verses below to see the type of understanding we can have.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. 101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. 102 I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. NKJV
That’s not something that you can get in school. Attending seminary doesn’t mean that you will have one ounce of that type of understanding when you get out, since wisdom is hidden from the wise and learned (Matthew 11:25), and the danger in saying that you can see when you are blind, is that your blindness can remain (John 9:39-41).
The type of understanding, mentioned above, only comes through obedience and mind-set. Therefore, as soon as someone says that they do not understand the scriptures, the first thing to do is to make sure that they are not full of philosophy and worldly wisdom. Second, make sure that they are living up to what they have been given already (Philippians 3:16). That could be different for each of us depending on where we are in the faith, and what we have been given.
However, every Christian’s first order of business is to stop conforming to the ways of this world, and to renew our minds with the truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2). Refuse to do one of those and a darkened understanding is what you will have, among a few other things mentioned above (Ephesians 4:17-19).
That’s when we run into the church requesting that someone pray the devil off of us. No, submit to God’s ways, resist the devil and he will leave (James 4:7). That’s our instructions. Do not be in a hurry in laying hands on anyone (1 Timothy 5:22). Why? The demon you cast out will come back with friends, if the person being prayed for has made a place for them to stay (Luke 11:24-26).
Nothing is optional in our instructions. We’ve got to stop doing what the world is doing, and read our Bible out loud (faith comes by hearing, Romans 10:17). Hanging out with the world keeps our flesh alive and not reading the Word to the point of retaining it keeps us from growing spiritually (1 Corinthians 15:33, 1 Peter 2:2) and in sin (John 8:31-37, Romans 1:28-32). I would say that is the number one cause of a darkened understanding among Christians today.
Does that mean that we only pay attention to the red words in our Bibles (Words of Christ)? That would be a great start, since Kingdom teaching is only found in the New Testament (Luke 16:16), but when you can see Who Christ is, and what He said, then you will focus on all of the New Testament (new agreement) which is a better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
Christ Jesus, Who is our understanding, is the life-giving Spirit that has come to live on the inside of those who obey Him.
1 Corinthians 15:45
45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life giving spirit. NKJV
Jesus became a life-giving Spirit, and it takes time for Him (life-giving Spirit) to be formed on the inside of us according to God the Word written in Galatians 4:19, below.
19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, 20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you. NKJV
After the Galatians were saved, they turned away to a different Gospel (Galatians 1:6). The Apostle Paul was working with them and had doubts that Christ would ever be formed in their hearts. So it is today.
That’s because we are seated with Christ in His Kingdom when we were saved, but Christ making His home on the inside of us only happens through faith, and faith always includes the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We have evidence written in John 14:15-23 below that Jesus Christ will make His home on the inside of us after we obey Him.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. NKJV
According to the doctrine of Jesus above, He will make His home on the inside of us after we obey Him. Those who have Jesus living on the inside of them, obey His teachings. Jesus tells us exactly when He will make His home on the inside of us in the verses above. If you have heard differently, now you know it was philosophy which came through someone with a darkened understanding, regardless if they have a title in front of their name or not.
This is why it is so important to make disciples rather than just getting people saved. We make disciples of Jesus by baptizing them and teaching them to obey (Matthew 28:19-20). If we haven’t taught anyone to obey Jesus then we haven’t made the first disciple.
Sure, one waters and another one plants, but what happens if the one who plants starts teaching new converts that they don’t need to worry about anything outside of teaching people to say a sinner’s prayer? You will have what we see today. Churches are filled with people who reject the living water because they believed the lies of the planter. Only an enemy plants tares, but a disciple of Jesus, makes disciples of Jesus (Matthew 13:28, 28:19-20). If you are leading people away from obeying Jesus, then you are working for the enemy.
If you can see the verses above, then you now realize how many have been taken captive by philosophy, and in doing so they have fallen away from the faith. Once they believed the doctrines of men such as “once saved always saved,” they reject God the Word in speaking against Him, and so they ship wrecked their faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21, 1:18-20). It only takes one verse to break that “once saved always saved” false doctrine.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. NKJV
Notice that God the Word says, “saved if” in verse 2 above. That means that there is a condition. Regardless of the condition, if it is conditional then it cannot be unconditional. There is something that we must do after we are saved, part of which I am discussing now. Either way, the term “saved if” is enough to tell anyone that “once saved always saved” is philosophy. There are many more verses that prove this, but only one is needed to show it to be a false doctrine.
This has been happening for so long now that obedience has been taken out of the Gospel message to the point that the church is filled with people who willingly remain in darkness. I doubt most have even experienced being delivered from darkness because they are just quoting a sinner’s prayer, which has boiled down to say “this,” and you are going to Heaven. If that were true, then we would have a very short New Testament. I am expecting many more changes soon in the newer Bibles, even to the point of excluding some of the books from the New Testament.
Take a look at what really happens to a person who is saved into the Kingdom of Christ according to Colossians 1:12-14 below.
12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. NKJV
We all know about redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (verse 14 above). However, verse 13 above shows that those who are saved into the Kingdom of Christ have also been delivered from the power of darkness.
Well if we were delivered from the power of darkness when we got saved, how is it that the church is full of people who remain under the power of darkness and even preach that it is okay to remain under the power darkness? Were they really saved or have they been taken captive by philosophy, which made it okay to remain in darkness?
What happened? Instead of remaining in God the Word, we have allowed philosophy and human wisdom to take us captive. Our instructions were to “have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11, 2 Corinthians 7:1), but through being a friend of the world with a darkened understanding, we have ignored those instructions.
The only way that we can have fellowship with our past is to live like we lived in the past. That means we will continue conforming to this world, which means we will continue in our darkened understanding, since we refuse to serve God acceptably in giving Him what He wants from us (Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 12:28).
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. NKJV
Who can say that they have fellowship with God without lying according to those verses? Does the Spirit of God dwell inside of anyone who is “in the flesh” according to Romans 8:9? Does anyone who really belongs to Christ refuse to put to death their old nature according to Galatians 5:24? Let’s get the Word right even if we do not live up to it yet.
Yes we should seek and save the lost, but we should not change the message in order to do it. Jesus ate with sinners, but His message didn’t change. A friend of this world will become God’s enemy (James 4:4).
Jesus ate with sinners, but He didn’t become a friend of sinners. He told His disciples and I am sure that He wouldn’t have any problem telling us today that He is only our friend if we obey Him (John 15:14).
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. NKJV
You are My friends “if!” That’s conditional. Why would Jesus not have a problem telling us that today? It is because Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).
9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. NKJV
Grab hold of that! That’s another reason why obedience is so important. It’s a part of the Christian life. Those who do not obey the Gospel will not make it according to 1 Peter 4:17-19 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9. Check it and test what I am saying for yourself. I am also available for questions if you do not understand the difference between being saved and eternal salvation.
Do not get your Gospel from a song on the radio unless you want to be taken captive by philosophy and deceptive words. If they cut all of the bad songs out, over half of the songs on the radio would be trashed. Very few artist have entire albums filled with songs that do not violate scripture.
In keeping with 2 Timothy 4:3-4, I predict that in the coming years, the most popular songs and the most popular preaching will be totally against what is written in the Bible. It has already started. Why? It’s because God the Word has said that it will happen and so it will happen just as it is written (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Soon, they will not just stop listening to the Word, but they “will not put up with sound doctrine” at all (will not endure it, suffer through it, or tolerate it).
2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV
I’m Alan Ballou; a servant. If I may be of service to you, please contact me.