Do Not Go Beyond What Is Written
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
1 Corinthians 4:6
The warning is clear in both Old and New Testaments. Proverbs teaches do not add to his words. Paul teaches not to go beyond what is written.
God’s word is perfect in need of nothing and absolutely sufficient for all we need. Paul practices what you would expect from an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He commends and encourages the church to test, confirm and check by the scriptures his own teaching. He holds himself accountable to the authoritative sufficient word of God. He bids the believer to follow him as he follows Christ. He speaks, writes and teaches in a way that is not beyond testing. A common practice of those who claim “God told me” as well as the “apostles”, “prophets”, and false teachers who routinely go beyond what is written. This practice makes them almost irrefutable and unfortunately a popular Bible teacher.
When you say “God told me” and proceed to speak outside the boundaries of what God actually said in the scriptures your words technically rise to the level of command and must be challenged. But most people never challenge the claim “God told me” because imbedded in the claim is an implied threat and warning that what’s being said is from God. People accumulate teachers like this because they will not endure or be subject to the scrutiny of sound doctrine. Instead they sit on the edge of their seats in eager expectation thinking the teacher has special knowledge or profound insight into the text that nobody else has. But upon further reading and testing of these things such claims and interpretations are not consistent with what scripture teaches and often contradicts. It opposes and goes well beyond what is written therefore disregarding the command not to add to His words.
Beware of men who can’t be checked, challenged or corrected.
Beware of men who reject those who respectfully point out error and inconsistencies.
Rejoice in men who refuse to make a name for themselves but instead faithfully makes much of Christ.
Rejoice in men who explain the word rather than entertain the world.
Rejoice in those who refuse to do what is popular or “what works” and resist their own way by replacing the preached word for Sunday self-help-pep talks and psychological therapeutic sessions celebrating self worth.
Rejoice that men of God will remain faithful in the proclamation of the gospel.
To go beyond what is written is both pride and arrogance. We can never exhaust the scriptures because what is written is from the mind of God and to understand this is to respond like Paul,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Pastor Mark Hamilton