Reflections on Mark 12:24

“Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”

The word for “error” in the above passage is the Greek word “planao”.  According to my lexicon, planao is defined in the following ways:

  • To lead astray,
  • To deceive
  • To lead into error,
  • To sin
  • To fall away from the truth with the result of becoming a heretic

Jesus says it is planao (error,sin,heresy) to not know and live out the Scriptures. Jesus says it is equally planao (error,sin,heresy) to not know and live out the power of God. Those are strong words and cut to the core of the Church today.

We are well aware of our need for the Scriptures. They are the words of God, the foundation of our faith, useful for correction, encouragement and living in ways that please God.  To ignore them, or wander too far away from them, is to be led into error and sin, planao in Jesus’ words. Churches and people who do not preach, proclaim and live out the words of God as revealed in the Scriptures cannot claim to be His representatives in this world. We must hold fast to the Gospel as revealed by God Himself.

We are less aware of our need for God’s power, especially as it pertains to the proclamation of the Gospel. This is not an either/or option, it is both/and. We need the Scriptures and the power of God if we are going to honestly proclaim the same Gospel that Jesus did. The Gospel of Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament church was accompanied with signs and wonders. If the Gospel we preach is not accompanied by those same things, then we cannot claim to be God’s representatives in this world. We must hold fast to the Gospel as revealed by God Himself.

Self appointed “watch dog” groups that have no power but impeccable doctrine are as much in error as the people they criticize for their excesses. The neglect of either the Scriptures or the power or God leads to planao, sin/heresy. Groups that have only become and no Scriptural grounding become cults of excess. Groups that have only Scriptural knowledge but no knowledge of God’s power become Pharisees, to whom Jesus said,

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,yet you refuse to come tobe to have life.”

To be clear, my intent is not to criticize or berate a group or individual. My purpose is to awaken us to the need for both in-depth Scriptural knowledge  AND regular manifestations of God’s power if we are going to claim to be followers of Jesus. We must proclaim the message of Jesus the same way He did: with truth, authority and power.

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