During His time on earth, Jesus was critical of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were legalistic and are noted for their many books of laws. It is said that they had fifty books of instruction on how to keep the Sabbath holy. A major difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was that the Sadducees used only the Word of God, while the Pharisees had many books and followed the teachings of men. That is why the people were astonished at the teaching of Jesus, because He spoke as one having authority, and not quoting various rabbis as did the Pharisees1.

But there is nothing new under the sun2. We have the Holy and inerrant Word of God, but it is not enough. Rare is the Sunday School class that teaches from the Word. Is this because Church members do not know the Bible? We have lesson quarterlies or we use someone’s book on “How to be a better Christian.” We probably have more than fifty books on how to be a better Christian. Why is it necessary to use such a book when the Bible is the source of how to be a better Christian?

Several years after Jesus, the Apostle Paul had to deal with another group; the Gnostics. These were people who thought they had “special knowledge”, much like professors today. If you do not think this is true, try having a conversation with a professor of religion. Many of them follow the “higher criticism”, which means they do not believe the Bible to be entirely true. Their faith in the Word may be limited, but they can quote the works of other professors of which we ordinary Christians are unaware. We do not have the “special knowledge.”

Did you know that Harvard University and Princeton University had their beginnings as schools to teach young men to be ministers? What we see today is the result of modern gnostics who have that “special knowledge.”

Another group that Paul dealt with were the “Judaizers” who taught that Gentile Christians had to first become Jews. Today, we have modern Judaizers who teach that the Church is now the replacement for the Jews. So, we have all become Jews? Oy vey!

Someone said that history may not repeat itself , but it certainly does rhyme.

1 - Mark 1:22

2 - Ecclesiastes 1:9

BACK to Lesson Archive.