Faithlife Sermons

5 39-47 When Is The Bible Dangerous

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

                                                  liberty bible church          4/20/08 a.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“when is the bible dangerous?”

John 5:39-47


Illus. of gun jokes. It’s because of this last one that I don’t hunt. Actually, guns are no laughing matter. They are very dangerous and need to be used properly. Remember, guns don’t kill people, people do. That’s why there are hunter safety classes offered. The Bible is similar to a gun. If used by the wrong person or by an untrained person, it can be a dangerous weapon. It is called a two-edged sword in Scripture. It can cut to the heart of a man and convict him of sin and lead him to salvation; but, it can also lead a person away from Christ if used improperly. That’s when it is dangerous. How can this be? What does it look like? How can we tell if a Bible is being used in a dangerous way?

OPEN to the passage.

Prop. In this passage, we see when the Bible can be dangerous.   

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Jesus here concludes His discourse with the religious leaders who did not believe who He was. He has demonstrated His unity with the Father, the fact that the Father has given Him the power of life and judgment, and last week we saw four witnesses that testify to His validity, yet with all this, the religious leaders failed to believe in Him. READ 31-38 Last here is the witness of the Word of God. In this section, we see how the Word can be so dangerous. First, the Bible is dangerous…

  i. when knowledge is worshipped over holiness vs. 39-42

Illus. of those that would study the Bible just to know more than the next person, but they don’t study it to know God better to be holy and more like Him. The study becomes the end in itself, rather than a means to an end, becoming more like Christ. The religious leaders were the same way in Jesus’ day.

a. knowing the bible saves no one

V 39a   1. The religious leaders studied the OT a great deal. They believed that if someone could understand them, they would gain life. They believed those that did not know the Law were cursed. Cf. 7:49

            2. To a certain extent, they were right. The Scriptures do contain the way to life. But, knowing them is not the key. It’s applying them that is key and it is here that they failed.

V 39b  3. If they truly understood the Word, they would have recognized the Messiah as the way to life. Jesus fulfills the OT sacrificial system. He is the coming Prophet, the Son of Man, the great High Priest. But they missed all this. Why? Cf. 2 Cor. 3:15 Their hearts were veiled, because they failed to believe.

V 40    4. They were “unwilling.” It was a choice that they made to reject Christ. Cf. 3:19-20 The result was that they did not have life, even though they were sincere. Sincerity saves no one. They knew the OT, but that knowledge did not, could not save them from an eternity separated from God. 

b. god knows if we know him                                                                  

V 41    1. The religious leaders thought that He was angry because they had not endorsed Him. Nothing could be further from the truth. He didn’t need their endorsement. They thought that they knew what He was thinking. In reality, He knew what they were thinking. Cf. 2:24-25

V 42    2. They did not have the love of God in them because they did not have Christ in them. They did not love God. This is the first and great commandment. Unfortunately, they rejected God by rejecting His Son. God knew that. He can’t be fooled by all our religion. Illus. of the Pope in the US this week. A lot of religion. But I wonder how much relationship is there. God knows for sure.   

Trans. The Bible is dangerous WHEN KNOWLEDGE IS WORSHIPPED OVER HOLINESS. Second, it is dangerous…

 ii. when man’s teachings are accepted over christ’s vs. 43-44

Illus. of how a man wins the love of a woman. He has to demonstrate that love. He courts her with flowers, dates, attention, my space notes, etc. Every girl is different. You ask any woman and she will tell you what makes her feel loved. The man demonstrates his love by fulfilling these needs. The same is true with our relationship for God. If you really love Him, that will be demonstrated in the way you relate to Him.  

a. How do you not love me, let me count the ways      

V 43a   1. Jesus had come in His Father’s name. He was His representative in the flesh. He fulfilled all of the OT prophecies…yet they did not receive Him. One cannot love God if they do not receive Christ as Savior and Lord. GOSPEL They not only rejected Jesus…

V 43b  2. They accepted the false teachings of men. This shows how little understanding they had of the Truth, even though the searched the Scriptures. Just because we know a lot of the Bible doesn’t mean we understand it. That’s why there are so many false teachings and improper applications of God’s Word. Our world is full of them. By rejecting Jesus and accepting false teachers, they demonstrated their lack of love for God.

b. don’t love the approval of men over the approval of god

V 44    1. The religious leaders loved the approval of sinful men more than the approval of God. We see that in the way that they prayed, looking for the approval of men.

            2. If you want to please men more than God, you can’t be saved. To love God is to deny self and sinful men. God wants us to love Him and desire His approval, to seek holiness and truth. The Bible should never be used or abused to try to get the acceptance of men.

Trans. The Bible is dangerous WHEN KNOWLEDGE IS WORSHIPPED OVER HOLINESS. Second, it is dangerous WHEN MAN’S TEACHINGS ARE ACCEPTED OVER CHRIST’S. Finally here, the Bible is dangerous…

iii. when legalism reigns over love vs. 45-47

Illus. of there is probably not a better example of this than what we have seen in this sect of fundamental Mormons in West Texas. They believe their hair, clothes, and number of children make them more spiritual…and they would use Scripture to defend their positions. The Bible is dangerous when it is used to promote either a legalistic or licentious lifestyle. Of course, the religious leaders leaned more to the legalism side. Jesus warns them of the dangers here.

a. no one is good enough to be saved by works

V 45a   1. Jesus was not there to judge yet. That judgment He spoke of earlier in this passage will come at His Second Coming. His first coming was about saving the world. Cf. 3:17 Their judge right now was the Law.

V 45b  2. It was the Law of Moses that they claimed to follow and it was this covenant that they had broken. No one could keep the Law perfectly, yet it was this very failure that they were trusting in for their salvation. “in whom you trust” shows that they thought that their salvation would come through their good works. But this simply was not true. They were trusting in the wrong thing. Legalism could not save them.

b. only god’s love could save them

V 46    1. If they really believed Moses, they would accept Jesus, because Moses wrote of Him. Jesus sites no specific passages. He knew that they knew what He was talking about. The passages were understood, they refused to believe that Jesus was the fulfillment.

V 47    2. It’s really no shock then that they would reject the words of Jesus. They had rejected the words of Moses as well. They could not accept the love that Jesus demonstrated because they were all wrapped up in legalism and were held captive by it. And all of their teachings they would defend with the Bible.


The Bible is dangerous WHEN KNOWLEDGE IS WORSHIPPED OVER HOLINESS, it is dangerous WHEN MAN’S TEACHINGS ARE ACCEPTED OVER CHRIST’S, and finally, the Bible is dangerous WHEN LEGALISM REIGNS OVER LOVE. So, having multiple copies of the Bible could be like having loaded guns laying around. How do we avoid using it dangerously?

1.      2 Tim. 3:15- Be a good student of the Word. Make sure we rightly divide it. Use the literal, grammatical, historical, contextual approach. Then apply it. Knowledge without application is dangerous. Knowledge makes us proud. 1 Cor. 8:1

2.      Acts 17:11- Be like the Bereans. Don’t accept the word of any preacher if it is not in the Bible.

3.      Be careful in small groups. Opinions or what one thinks is right is not the best way to discern truth.

Illus. of the kid that got hit in the head with a butter knife this past week. He was fortunate, it only stuck in his scalp. A seemingly innocuous item almost injured him severely.

Heb. 4:12- Use the Bible correctly and save yourself and many others. Use it wrongly and it is very dangerous.

Eph. 6:17- The Bible is our sword to defend ourselves and attack the enemy. Wield it carefully and bless the world around you.


“when is the bible dangerous?”

John 5:39-47


The Bible is similar to a gun. If used by the wrong person or by an untrained person, it can be a dangerous weapon.

  i. when                          is worshipped over                   vs. 39-42

a. knowing the bible saves ______________________

                Cf. John 7:49; 2 Cor. 3:15; John 3:19-20

b. god knows if we ___________________________

                Cf. 2:24-25

 ii. when                                       are accepted over christ’s vs. 43-44

a. How do you _______________love me, let me count the ways      

b. don’t love the approval of ________________ over the approval of god

iii. when                                     reigns over             vs. 45-47

a. no one is good enough to be saved by _______

                Cf. John 3:17

b. only god’s _________________ could save them


How do we avoid using the Bible dangerously?

1.       2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Cor. 8:1

2.       Acts 17:11-


Cf. Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17

Related Media
Related Sermons