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Bible Study: Avoiding deception

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.

Bible Passage: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Discussion Questions:

  • What promises of a salesperson appeal to you the most?
  • How does a person’s rejection of Jesus open the door for them to be deceived by lies?

Food for thought:

Most of us have been duped by a salesperson, wanting for their promises to be true. We hope the product or program will solve the problem we are facing, only to find out we bought a promise instead of a solution.

Paul warned the Thessalonians not to allow anyone to deceive them in any way (2 Thessalonians l 2:3). In so doing, he addressed a major teaching found throughout the Scriptures: the deception of humanity. Jesus calls Satan “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Therefore, deception is both the character and offspring of Satan.

The Bible also warns of our own role in being deceived, as the human “heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable” (Jeremiah 17:9). James warns against self-deception three times in his letter to believers (James 1:16, 22, 26). Believers thus have an adversary who seeks to deceive us, and our human nature tends to lean toward allowing deception to take place.

Deception is an attempt to lead believers away from a truth to change our behavior. As Paul noted in 2 Thessalonians 2:5, believers may avoid being deceived by remembering the teachings of Scripture. By hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), we can know the truths and promises of the Scriptures as a reliable and sure guide to measure what we are hearing so that we may recognize false or misleading teachings.

We must also acknowledge the potential for our being deceived by smooth talk, flattering words and reason (See Romans 16:18 and Colossians 2:4). In the Thessalonian church, the deceivers may have been those who meant well but still guided the congregation in false or misleading ways (Romans 16:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 3:18). Deception might be introduced into a church through a variety of ways. The church then and today must remember to exercise discernment and compare all teachings to God’s Word (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Explore the Bible

Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources