“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard modern “apostles” and “prophets” quote this verse in reference to their own teachings.
They claim Christians are being destroyed because they don’t embrace the “apostles’” and “prophets’” teachings. See an example here (from Jill Austin, founder of “Master Potter Ministries” in Laguna Hills, Calif.).
I also heard this verse used the other night on Kenneth Copeland’s (pictured here) television program, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” that aired on Daystar network. Don Colbert, a guest on Copeland’s show, was explaining the importance of eating all-natural foods. Colbert said that Christians are being destroyed (having health problems) because they don’t know the health risks of processed foods. Watch the Feb. 1 program here.
Using this verse to refer to healthy foods is ridiculous. And so is using it to refer to modern-day “apostles” and “prophets.” Yet, when a verse is ripped out of its context, it can be used to support any teaching.
Hosea 4:6 In Context
When we look at this verse in context, we see what specific “lack of knowledge” is being referred to. It wasn’t knowledge about modern-day “apostles” and “prophets” or about unhealthy foods. It was knowledge of God’s law (i.e., His Word). This is made clear in the latter part of the same verse.
The reason God’s people didn’t know His Word — according to the surrounding verses — is because the religious leaders (the priests and “prophets”) weren’t teaching it to them. See Hosea 4:4-9.
Today’s ‘Bible’ Teachers
Sound familiar? It should. Many of today’s religious leaders are busy teaching anything besides God’s Word. Of course, they claim their teachings are based on Scripture, and they hold and wave their Bibles — like Copeland does in his photo above — but that doesn’t mean they’re teaching the Bible. The verses they cite are often used out of context and, thus, have nothing to do with their teachings.
The real reason God’s people are destroyed today — as in Hosea’s time — is because they don’t know God’s Word. Thus, they are seduced into false and idolatrous beliefs. This breaks God’s heart, which is the point of the book of Hosea — to show how much God loves His wayward people and wants them to be faithful to Him.
On my blog, I try to show that the teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement are based on Scriptures used out of context, like the teaching about Joel’s Army, which I wrote about in an earlier post. Read it here.
In fact, all false, heretical and cultic teachings are based on Scriptures that are misinterpreted and used out of context. That’s why it’s important for every Christian to know how to correctly interpret the Bible, especially those who teach the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 says that someone who teaches the Bible must know how to correctly handle it.
Correctly Interpreting the Bible
Bible scholars use a big, fancy word to refer to the study of biblical interpretation: “hermeneutics” (pronounced, in English, like “her men new ticks”). Don’t let that word scare you away: the principles aren’t too hard to learn. It’s a shame that they are usually taught only in seminaries or Bible colleges. They should be taught in all churches, Bible studies and Sunday school classes — even to children.
But, sadly, they’re not. As a result, many Christians don’t know God’s Word and are being led into the erroneous teachings of the apostolic-prophetic movement and other unbiblical movements.
Here are some resources to help you learn basic principles of Bible interpretation.
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart: This classic book is used in many seminaries, but it’s written for laypeople to understand. See it at Amazon.com.
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: This Web page offers a brief overview of the principles.