Listen: 56 Question 3

Let’s start by looking at the wisdom of Proverbs 18:19 which says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”  When it becomes necessary to correct another Christian about their use of the Word of God, we should be very careful in how we deal with them.  Our desire should be to help this person understand and apply the scriptures in the proper way.  Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”  In dealing with someone that is in error, we should speak to them in the way we would want to be spoken to.  Make sure that you deal with this person in grace.  If someone is teaching something that is unscriptural, then it is to their advantage to know the truth.  We learn from 2 Timothy 2:15 that we are to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  To rightly divide the word of truth, we must be Bible students in dependence upon the Lord.  So, with the proper understanding, we approach our brother or sister with the desire to help them properly understand the scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  It is the Word of God that must be used to correct, so if we are to properly correct someone, we must know what the Word says about the particular subject.  Before approaching someone to correct them, make sure that you have a proper understanding so that you can properly minister the Word.

Another thing we must consider is that the person may be right in their teachings.  Perhaps it is us that is wrong in our understanding.  I suggest that in trying to correct your friend that you ask him to explain to you his understanding and reasoning about the particular topic.  At least, in this approach, you can open the lines of communication and begin a healthy dialogue with him.  Of course, you should be in prayer before trying to correct your Christian friend.  Make sure you are being led of the Lord and are moving according to His will.  Proverbs 15:10 tells us that, “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way…”  It is possible that your friend may not be open to correction, but we do have the responsibility towards our fellow believers to offer correction when and if it is necessary.

We have an incident in the scriptures where one apostle found it necessary to correct another apostle.   The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:11-13, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”  Peter’s actions were in contrast to the truth that Peter knew and his actions were causing others to be led in the same direction.  Paul “withstood him to the face” because of this.  This doesn’t mean that Paul was spiteful or disrespectful to Peter.  It simply means that instead of talking about Peter, he talked to Peter.  These were two men who dearly loved the Lord.  They both sacrificed their entire lives to the service of the Lord.  Peter needed to be corrected and Paul, being led of the Lord, went to him and spoke to him as his brother.  This is a lesson for us to learn in dealing with our brothers and sisters in Christ.