Having served as a Christian Education director in a church and also having talked with people at other churches and conferences in which I taught, I would hear certain assertions about teaching that had elements of truth within them but not fully true — misconceptions with partial truth. Yet, people would cling to the truth in it as justification for doing the part that wasn’t true.
Examples of Misconceptions with Partial Truth
1) We should teach the New Testament about Jesus and God’s grace.
This could affect what we teach.
2) What really matters is that Bible teachers love Jesus.
This could affect how we teach.
3) God will work in students’ lives in spite of us.
This could affect how we live.
On the surface, these conceptions might sound good but they’re not the whole truth. Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:19 help us identify the above thoughts as misconceptions with partial truth. He said, “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” — In the next three posts we’ll look at the truth in each misconception, the problem or lack of truth within it, and how Jesus would correct it. You can subscribe to receive e-mail updates of new posts.
What Happens When We Adhere to Misconceptions with Partial Truth
When we base our ministries, or the whole of our lives, on partial truths, it’s like mixing clay into iron. The truth, like iron, stands the test of time. Clay, the part that isn’t true, can weaken and become brittle over time. These two element don’t mix. God used this illustration in the book of Daniel to describe a divided nation. — “… the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.” (Dan. 2:41-43)
A mixture of clay and iron lacks the same strength and durability of something consisting of all iron.
- A dichotomy results as the two don’t mix well together. People may go away with mixed messages, not quite sure what to believe. Or, they may buy into our same misconceptions resulting in less than optimal living of the Christian life.
- When we hold onto these conceptions with only partial truth, we might initially seem to be doing well. The effects may, however, show themselves over time as our foundation weakens due to the clay (mistruth) mixed in with the iron (truth).
Whether we’re Bible teachers or ministry leaders recruiting teachers, we need to examine our teaching philosophy or belief systems to make sure they fully align with the truth of God’s Word.