God’s Benchmark: The Truth of the Bible

With so many conflicting beliefs in established Christianity, do you wonder how the churches can be so contrary to one another and still be proclaiming “the truth”?

You never see a single church proclaiming, “We tell you lies.” After all, God tells us that we must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). But how can all these church organizations be telling the truth? Each of them claims to have the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Benchmark of truth

What if a church decided to bring in new and unheard of doctrines? How should its membership react? Is there a benchmark to determine whether a doctrine is the truth of God or a man-made fabrication?

There is a benchmark that can help us avoid deception, if we take the opportunity to study it. It is our own God-given Bible. The Bible is God’s benchmark for truth in a deceived world—“Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Are we prepared to use this benchmark as our standard? For example, are we prepared to look back into history and see two of the many examples when the Bible—God’s benchmark—was disregarded? The two examples are closely related.

Stolen identity

One of the most powerful examples of how God’s benchmark was ignored concerns the veneration of the young woman who gave birth to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Mary was robbed of her true biblical identity and has been venerated ever since as if she were a goddess. According to human traditions, she is supposed to have gone to heaven and become the “Queen of Heaven.”

Perpetual virgin?

The above example is closely related to the second: the premise that Mary was never a wife in the normal sense, never having children other than her Firstborn Son. In the Bible, God’s benchmark for us, we see something very different from the false notion of the permanent virginity of Christ’s mother.

The New Testament shows that Mary did go on to have other children.

Jesus’ brothers and sisters

What does the Bible say? In one passage Jesus had been away from the place where He grew up, and the local people were discussing Him on His return home. “When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us?’” (Matthew 13:54-56).

Our dependable Bibles show plainly that Jesus had a family of a stepfather, mother, brothers and sisters. For more proof of the genuine flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, please turn to the previous chapter of Matthew. There again, the New Testament is very clear and mentions Mary with her other sons seeking to speak with the older Brother. Here again, Jesus’ mother is mentioned along with His brothers simply because they were all one family (Matthew 12:46-49).

Is Mary the “Queen of Heaven”?

The false premise of the perpetual “Virgin Mary” led to another false premise. One of the world’s biggest deceptions is directly related to the plain biblical fact that Joseph and Mary went on to have other sons and daughters.

Also, the Bible clearly shows that we are only to worship and pray to God (Matthew 6:9; Luke 4:8; 11:2-3; Revelation 19:10).

Once these truths from the Bible are understood, there is no room in the Christian mind-set for the nonbiblical teachings about praying to the “Virgin Mary” or the “Queen of Heaven.”

Pagan origins

Actually, the “queen of heaven” is featured in the Bible, but it’s as a warning to rebellious Israel (Jeremiah 7:18). Paying homage to her is said to provoke God to anger. See also Jeremiah 44:25-27.

How this pagan queen of heaven and other pagan traditions made their way into mainstream Christianity is a long and strange story. But we can avoid such ungodly teachings by simply using our Bibles as our doctrinal benchmark. If we do this, we will avoid the false doctrines that this world has to offer and instead do the things that please God.

The Bible says that true followers of Christ will be changed or resurrected at the return of Jesus Christ and given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Like the many thousands after her, Mary awaits that glorious time in her grave.

That’s what the Bible teaches.

For more about Jesus’ birth and childhood, see our section on “Who Is Jesus?” For more about the future resurrection, see “Resurrections: What Are They?”

About the Author

Eddie Johnson

Eddie and Sandra Johnson serve the membership in the Tonbridge, England, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He is an ordained elder.