Proverbs 30:5-6 (ESV): “Do not add to His words”
5 Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Every time I read through Proverbs chapter 30 today, these two verses seemed to jump right off the page. To be perfectly honest, verse 6 jumped off the page and necessarily verse 5 came along for the ride. Anyone who spends only a minimal amount of time interacting in Christian social media groups understands why the Lord hit me in the face with “Do not add to His words” several times today; Internet teachers, preachers, and prophets make the “televangelists of old” blush when it comes to the additions and subtractions they make to the Word DAILY.
Why does it even matter? Who really cares what a bunch of half-baked Jesus freaks with trigger happy fingers blasts out over the wide-open expanse of the World Wide Web? Obviously, this fully-baked Jesus freak cares because I am writing about it, but that itself is pretty irrelevant. More importantly, God REALLY CARES about the nature and condition of His Word. After all, He sent the Word to become flesh and dwell among us (John 1:14). Adding and subtracting to the Word MATTERS enough to God that He addresses the issue throughout scripture, from the earliest books of the Hebrew Torah to the final chapter of the final book of the New Testament:
Deuteronomy 4:2 – You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 – Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 – I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
God, in both the Old and New Testaments, provides specific warnings to those who prophesied falsely by either addition or subtraction:
Deuteronomy 18:20 – But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.
Revelation 22:18,19 – 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Clearly this is an important issue to the Lord and thus it should be to us, which brings us to the point. Gods Word is the foundation of the Christian life. Its message was made manifest in flesh, as Christ Jesus, the Son of Man. Every “word” recorded in text or spoken by Jesus is TRUE, RELIABLE, and TRUSTWORTHY – the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God. Human knowledge and understanding on the other hand is limited and poisoned. The wisest among us recognize human ignorance, that truth is found only in the word of God, and that the wisdom that God has already given cannot be enhanced by man.
None of this is to say that there are not amazing and anointed teachers, preachers, and prophets valuable to be seen, heard, and/or read all across the internet, and for that matter on TV/radio and in your local churches. I am confident that not every instance of “adding to” or “taking from” the word of God is intended to be an act of heresy or false teaching. But because only God can know one’s “intent,” we must be constant in our own study of the Word, vigilant in our practice of discernment, and watchful for those using “addition to” and “subtraction from” the Word of God to provide AFFIRMATION rather than allowing the inerrant Word of God to work a TRANSFORMATION.