Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Probably a good many of us, including me, believe we are right when it comes to spiritual things, including our understanding of the Bible, or the particular faith group to which we belong or with which we associate. Of course, if others disagree with us, they must be wrong!
Some believe there is just one true Christian Church, and it was founded upon Peter, for example. At least, he was their first pope. Some from that faith group have argued in online discussions with me that I am clearly wrong, for my position agrees with the error described in Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The same statement occurs in Judges 21:25, and is generally the reference they appeal to. It would appear to me that their position is entirely mistaken, because I am not arguing for the correctness of any particular church or denomination.
My position is that for anyone to be correct, what they believe must be in accord with what the Bible itself teaches.
How can you be sure your way is right unless you have carefully checked it against the content and teaching of the Bible itself? The answer to that is, you cannot be sure your way is right if you simply accept what someone else has told you is the truth about spiritual things.
Another group has come to my door with literature to share. They have confronted me personally with Romans 14:12, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” They carefully explained that I need to check what my religion teaches and see if it agrees with the Bible. I explained I don’t have a religion. What I have is an ongoing personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I said I believe in going by the Bible alone and in its entirety. I suggested that they, too, ought to read the Bible for themselves as if they were alone on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island for a long enough period independently of any group’s religious literature so they can give the Bible a fair chance to speak to them by itself. Then, having done that, check their religion against what they found in the Bible.
The advice to read the Bible for yourself to determine the truth is contrary to the teaching of any religious group that is a false cult. False religions and false cults generally want you to go only by what they teach. They want to restrict your study to only their literature. They argue that no one has the right to their own “private interpretation” of the Bible.
As it happens, those groups that teach contrary to the Bible, including any group or church or denomination that teaches it is the only way, or the one true church, such groups are examples of what Proverbs 14:12 is warning against: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Others live a carefree life, and spend more time watching television or participating in sports than they ever give to spiritual things. The next verse, Proverbs 14:13, “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness,” may well apply to them. They may think that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, the Lord will let them into heaven. If they continue on that path, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14).
Are you absolutely sure you have found the right way, that you are on the right path, the one Jesus has called “the narrow way”? The only way to be sure, the only way to find out, is get far better acquainted with your Bible!
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 665 for Proverbs 14:12.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 706 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Proverbs 14:12.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them further given below:
Proverbs 14:12. is a way. Pr 12:15. 15:24. 16:12, 17, *#25. 30:12. Ps +*119:104. Is 53:6. Mt **7:13, 14. Lk 13:24. Ro 6:21. Ga 6:3. Ep *5:6. Ja *1:22. seemeth right. Pr 3:7. 25:8. Jg 17:6, 13. 21:25. 1 K 12:27-33. 14:7-11. 2 Ch 35:20-24. Lk *8:18. Jn 16:2. Ac 13:50. Ph 3:4-7. 1 T 1:13. Ja **1:26. the end. ver. 13. Pr 5:4, 11. 16:25. ways of death. Pr 16:25. Ps +*1:6. Je 21:8. Ro *6:21.