Don't Add or Subtract

Roger Meyer (guest columnist)
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Various Christian denominations have dozens of doctrines often conflicting with one another, and even with God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Are your beliefs in harmony with the Bible? Do your beliefs “add to” or “take away from” God’s instructions?

God gave clear instructions about many subjects, including marriage, sex, child rearing, family relations, human relations, food, health, how and when to worship Him and how to live righteously. The Bible defines what sin is—and it also describes our destiny, and answers the big and important questions.

Having had supervisory positions most of my work life, when I gave instructions to those I supervised, I did not want someone adding to or subtracting from my instructions. Those who were over me expected me to carry out their instructions. I had no right to add or subtract from their instructions. In our role as parents, we give instructions to our children with the expectation that our instructions will not be altered.

The ancient Israelites received God’s instructions: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

God repeated His warning in Deuteronomy 12:32: “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” In Deuteronomy 28, Israel is told of the blessings that will come from carefully observing God’s commandments, and is again warned, “So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them” (v. 14).

Continuing in Deuteronomy 28, the curses for disobedience are explained and a further warning issued: “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you” (v. 45).

Proverbs tells us: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5–6). That is very good advice from the book of Wisdom.

Too many who call Jesus their Lord and Master have added their own ideas to His instructions, or have subtracted part or all of God’s instructions regarding marriage, sex, childrearing, holy day observance, etc. Jesus Christ clearly stated, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). The earth is still here and all is not yet accomplished—God’s law remains in effect.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). No human has the right to change God’s words.

The last chapter of the last book of the Bible gives a final warning: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18–19). This is the revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.

Find out what God’s instructions really are. Read our free booklet: Do You Believe the True Gospel? and enroll in the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course. Also don’t forget to read the Tomorrow’s World magazine article, “A Wake Up Call to Protestants!” today!