How To Share Biblical Correction And Guidance
It’s not that hard to do.
Most Christians, like me, probably don’t particularly like to give biblical correction and guidance. It often seems too confrontational, too holier-than-thou, and too dangerous to a relationship. Yet biblical correction doesn’t have to be any of these. In fact, it can be a blessing to both the recipient and the giver.
Some time ago I found myself in a situation where I needed to give correction. I prayed a lot, sought counsel and somewhat nervously approached the person needing help. To my amazement and relief that person thanked me afterwards!
Another time, in a similar situation, the loving correction I shared was rejected outright. However, over time that Christian realized the folly of disobeying the Bible. That individual has become one of my greatest supporters in ministry!
All Christians are called to a ministry of biblical correction and guidance from time to time. Matthew 18:15-18 describes a process of correction which begins by going personally to help another Christian. Going to other people first is the sin of gossip.
But before proceeding, we must make sure we’re going with the right attitude and approach.
So, here are three Scriptural guidelines for how to share biblical correction and guidance:
1. Examine yourself first.
Jesus was clear about this. He said, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5 ESV)
We should take the speck out by examining our own life for sin. Ironically, often the sins that we see in others are sins that irritate us about our own behavior.
Thus, we must also make sure our motives are right. We must approach biblical correction with humility and a sincere desire to help and not just provoke.
Then, as Ephesians 4:25 says, Christians are to “speak the truth in love.”
2. Be sure your guidance is biblical correction, not personal bias.
The Bible must be our guide. We must not be motivated just by personal preferences.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (1 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
Sometimes I want to correct, but I have to recognize that my “correction” is simply my own bias. At that point, I remind myself to back off.
Other times, when I think it is appropriate, I give personal advice. But I am careful to make clear that it is my own opinion, not biblical correction. Thus, my advisee can take it or leave it. I might think they’re foolish not to follow my advice, but it’s their choice.
However, when Scripture is clear about an issue, then I speak lovingly yet boldly about what God is clear on. For example, see my articles on What Scripture Says About Homosexuality: Uncut, Uncensored and Unedited and The Abortion Issue Made Easy.
3. Make sure you have the right goal: not to “win” but to “win over”
The goal of biblical correction is never to win an argument, or to prove you’re right, or to get a leg up on a fellow believer. The goal is the help a fellow Christian understand and abide by God’s Word.
In Acts 18 and 19, there are two great examples of this. In Acts 18:23-28 we read how Priscilla and Aquila, a husband and wife ministry team, instructed Apollos. He knew of Jesus’ baptism by John, but was not aware of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection, His ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit. Apollos gladly received their biblical correction and guidance.
In the next chapter, Acts 19:1-7, we read how the Apostle Paul connected with twelve disciples of John the Baptist. They had received John’s baptism of repentance, but had never heard of Jesus the Messiah. Thus, they had never had a chance to put their faith in Christ. So, Paul lovingly instructed them about Jesus. After receiving the Good News of Jesus, they gladly became His followers.
In both these cases, the approach was gentle and loving. In both cases, the correction was graciously received. This should be our goal as well.
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” (2 Timothy 2:24 NLT)
In summary, biblical correction is the responsibility of all Christians. When it is done as described in this article, it can be very profitable.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Video vlog: Twisting Scripture
Video vlog: Have You Been Pecked At?