Don’t add to the Bible, nor subtract from it

The Bible has severe warnings against adding to it. And against subtracting from it. Yet we do those things all the time.

 


 

DON’T ADD TO THE BIBLE

 

Consider this verse:

Revelation 22:18. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.

That is a severe warning. It warns us against adding anything. And the penalty is severe. You will be struck with plagues.

But add to what?

We need to pay close attention to this warning. To what, precisely, are we to avoid adding? Here are the most obvious answers:

The Book of Revelation? However, over the centuries, nobody has added anything to it.

The entire Bible? Some people say the Catholic church added the Apocryphal (Deuterocanonical) books. Other people say the Mormons added the Book of Mormon.

However, neither the Catholics nor the Mormons have been struck with plagues. So whatever they’ve done has not merited the wrath of this verse.

Christians add to the Bible all the time

It happens every day. In every place. Christians add to the Bible all the time. Here are a few examples:

  • Denominations add their own commands that are not in the Bible. They speak of them as of equal authority to the Bible.
  • Christians add their own man-made rules and superstitions, and abide by them more than by the Bible.
  • Christians add their own fanciful explanations that are not congruent with the Bible.
  • Christians add mythological explanations that contradict the Bible.
  • Most Christians interpret the Bible in a way that supports their own political viewpoint.
  • Christian TV personalities assert their own viewpoints as if they are equal to the Bible.
  • People give more weight to biblical commentaries and study aids than to the Bible itself.

See also

Deuteronomy 4:2. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32. Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it.

Proverbs 30:6. Don’t you add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.

 

DON’T SUBTRACT FROM THE BIBLE

Consider this verse:

Revelation 22:19. If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

That is a severe warning. It warns us against subtracting anything. And the penalty is severe. You will lose the tree of life. And citizenship in the Holy City.

But subtract from what?

We need to pay close attention to this warning. From what, precisely, are we to avoid subtracting? Here are the most obvious answers:

The Book of Revelation? However, over the centuries, nobody has subtracted anything from it.

The entire Bible? However, over the centuries, nobody has subtracted anything from it.

Christians subtract from the Bible all the time

It happens every day. In every place. Christians subtract from the Bible all the time. Here are a few examples:

  • Preachers ignore the difficult portions of the Bible.
  • Most Christians disregard the Commands of Jesus Christ in their entirety.
  • Most Christians disregard biblical commands they don’t like.
  • Most Christians disregard anything in the Bible that contradicts their own political viewpoint.
  • Many Christians explain away the Bible as myth. Their interpretation is incongruent with the Book of Revelation itself. And they make the Book of Revelation powerless.
  • Christians allow biblical commentaries and study aids to explain away any unsavory elements in the Bible.

See also

Deuteronomy 4:2. You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32. Whatever thing I command you, that you shall observe to do. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it.

 


Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.