Forgetting the Whole Counsel of God

An Important Stop

As the Apostle Paul was journeying back to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey, he stopped in Miletus so that he could have the opportunity to speak to the elders of Ephesus one last time. His words were one of encouragement and of challenge, specifically to “shepherd the church of God” (Acts 20:28, NASU). As an example of how to accomplish this, he reminded those gathered of his own boldness in preaching not just what people wanted to hear, but instead the entire message God had given him: The “whole counsel of God” (20:27) as translated in the KJV.

Paul’s Fear

This admonition is a curious one, as most would expect Paul to worry that these elders remember the “most important” things pertaining to the church. However, the truth is that all that God has taught is of importance, and Paul’s greatest fear was that they might neglect certain teachings in favor of others.

This admonition applies just as well today as it did in first century Miletus and Ephesus. It is a necessary challenge, because there are some who fail to teach the “whole counsel of God,” to the detriment of the congregations where they serve. Possible reasons for this include:


There are certain truths of the Bible that are not popular, especially among post-modern culture. Are subjects such as divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, fornication and adultery, etc. avoided entirely because they are “too controversial” in some congregations?

The “Lowest Common Denominator”

In our sound-bite, fast food, get it in 30 minutes or less world, the idea of deep and involved Bible study has become less popular. For many, even those in the church, they want what God has taught to be condensed down to its simplest and easiest to accept form. What happens when the Gospel and discipleship are both condensed down into a “12-point” style system?

Hobby Horses

This reason may be dying out with the passing of time, but there still exist congregations where particular issues hold the greatest of importance. This is not to suggest that a stance on a particular issue is wrong, per se. However, what happens when all that is taught, week by week, only pertains to a fraction of the Bible?

The Same Responsibility

The truth is that, just as Paul warned church leaders in the past, church leaders today have a responsibility to teach, and Christians have a responsibility to study, everything that God has given to us.

More Reading
Newer// Groundhog Day
Older// Better Off Dead
comments powered by Disqus