Week 52 Getting the Facts Straight About Jesus

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 52

Scripture Readings: Jude

Key Scripture Verses: Jude 1:4 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

Jude, the brother of James and the half-brother of Jesus, who refers to himself in this book as “a servant of Jesus Christ,” wrote the book of Jude with the intention of warning Christians against those who distort the truth.

He writes that he felt “compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” He wrote with a warning against apostasy—falling away from the truth that Jesus taught and following false teachers. The NIV Life Application Bible suggests that even in his day there were people distorting Christianity and teaching heresy and that perhaps he was referring to the Gnostics who did not believe that Jesus was God incarnate and that there were certain Christian ethics to uphold with regard to personal conduct.

Jude warns Christians that there are false teachers who will “pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality” in order to justify their own behaviors.

Because Jude saw the truth being distorted and those who professed to be Christians teaching altered versions of Christianity, he was concerned that it would be easy to mistake their teachings for truth. This is why Christians need to know their Bibles. Today, popular movies or books may distort the message of the Good News and, even though they claim to be fiction, some people in society get that confused and myths and stories from the popular culture get mixed with the truth and are passed on as truth. This occurs mostly by mistake, but when individuals don’t check the facts, they believe something a friend told them.

This has happened through art, through music, through all kinds of creative media. Sometimes what we believe to be true that trusted friends or family have told us may actually be something that they believe because they found it on the internet or it was passed down in the culture as truth.

The best way to know the truth of the Scriptures is through prayer and reading the Bible for ourselves, asking God to reveal the truth to us. Bible study with other Christians who also approach the truth this way can help us to make better discernments of what is the truth or not, and that way we have some checks and balances, so that we don’t misunderstand something we read and pass it on as truth mistakenly.

May we study the Word so that it becomes a part of us, so that when we need it, we have it readily at hand. May we strengthen our faith through our understanding of the scriptures that we may understand the truth and be able to help others to know the truth of Jesus Christ. May we spread the truth of the Word out into the world, as we were commissioned to do.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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