“What is the best safe-guard against false teaching?”

Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The man who reads it alright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility. May we all bear in mind our Lord’s warning! The world, the devil, and the flesh, are not the only dangers in the way of the Christian. There remains another yet, and that is the “false prophet,” the wolf “in sheep’s clothing.” Happy is he who prays over his Bible and knows the difference between truth and error in religion! There is a difference, and we are meant to know it, and use our knowledge.

– J.C. Ryle, quoted in Counsel Your Flock: Fulfilling Your Role as a Teaching Shepherd by Paul Tautges, p. 17

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