Chewing up the meat and spitting out the bones- is that biblical?

In the Discernment department, I hear people frequently say they realize that so and so teaches some things that are bad, but some things they teach are good, so they will just take the good and throw out the bad. They call this method of learning the word of God “Chewing up the meat and spitting out the bones.” But is this how teachers should be followed or how scripture should be learned? No.

In Matthew 7:15 we read,

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

It’s a scripture we are familiar with, maybe too overly familiar. Let’s dig down into it again with a fresh eye.

Matthew 7 is the third of three chapters that comprise the Sermon on the Mount, arguably the most important sermon in the entire bible. Jesus is warning, exhorting, and teaching. By Chapter 7, He focuses on judgment/wrath, the broad and narrow road, and judging/discernment. Jesus spends a good deal of time teaching about judging wisely with good discernment. It is here in verse 7 He mentions false prophets.

He opens with the word “Beware.” When a command like this appears, we perk up to an even greater degree than usual. It’s like the word “woe”, indicating the need for special attention to what is being said.

The word “beware” refers to our Lord telling us specifically to be wary of a false prophet. He says they will be numerous and they will be hard to spot. But what is particularly dangerous about false prophets of which we should be aware?
So “Beware” it says – now, that word alone ought to let you know they’re dangerous. “Beware.” Literally, in the Greek it means, hold your mind back from. Don’t ever expose your mind to the influence of a false prophet. Don’t pay attention to, give heed to, follow, notice, devote yourself, don’t even put your mind in his vicinity. They’re dangerous, they pervert the mind, they poison the soul. (source)
People's Temple cult leader Jim Jones
Beware means warning, danger! It tells us that extreme caution is to be employed. The action we
should be taking is not to give any quarter to any part of a false teacher's teachings. To "hold your mind back from" ... that is an interesting phrase. We know the scriptures transform us by the renewing of our mind. The mind is the first battlefield. Not the heart. See the scripture in Romans, it dovetails nicely with Matthew 7:15

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

It once again illustrates that there is a severe dichotomy. Either/or. You are either being conformed to the world, OR you are being transformed by the renewal of the mind. There is no chewing meat AND bones and then spitting out bones. Your mind will either be conformed or not. It will be transformed or not. False teaching will poison your mind or not.

And secondly, the verse says we should seek that which is good. We should seek that which is acceptable. We should seek that which is perfect.

The Matthew 7:15 warning and the Romans verse say nothing about ingesting poison just so we can get to some nugget we believe is good. It says nothing about allowing poison into our mind just so we can strain out what we deem as bad. We in our pride think we can chew meat and spit bones even though we are told to seek what is good and acceptable and perfect by the One who is Good and Acceptable and Perfect? We are not to seek what is imperfect and full of bones! We are then choosing not to be careful. This is setting ourselves to be smarter than Jesus! WE are too smart for Jesus? Let it not be so!
You see, we see the results of what they [false teachers] do in 2 Peter 2:2, “Many people follow their pernicious ways.” (source)

Many will follow the false prophets. Do we think we are so strong that we will not be one of the many? Do we think we are so strong that we will be able to ingest poison and spit it out before it affects us?
The subtly of that false prophet can even singe your garment. MacArthur

The second reason, after pride, not to follow false prophets altogether and avoid chewing on meat to spit on bones, is destruction.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

If we believe we can withstand all the warnings about false prophets, be able to detect to the smallest degree what is good and acceptable and perfect in their teachings, and to in effect be smarter than Jesus and ignore His warnings, then we are proud. And pride sets us up for falling into destruction.

In Maine where I lived for many years, there are sea urchins in the intertidal zone. These marine animals have spikes. If you step on them, they hurt. Some are poisonous. What people say who claim they can "chew the meat" of a false teacher's teachings, and "spit out the bones" is that they have confidence in walking on kelp-covered, slick rocks in bare feet with tide and current pushing them off, and be able to perfectly balance and make progress without slipping and stepping on one of the spines. Or swallowing a bone. Pride. No, eventually they will slip in due time and they will step on a spike and they will be destroyed by the poison the urchin holds for them.

A third and most important consideration is this: if a teacher has shown themselves false by their fruit, and by God-given discernment you've realized this, then nothing they offer will be meat. It may look like meat, just as their garment may look like a sheep's. But that "meat" the prideful ones claim they can chew happily will have worms, e coli, and ground glass in it. For nothing a false teacher has to say is healthy. Nothing. It might sound might think it is helpful, but it is not.

A false prophet has neither a divine commission nor a divine message. He neither speaks for God or from God. He stands in his own authority speaking his own message, and it is utterly false. (source)

Utterly. False.

In the above linked source, the example is given about the horrific and tragic events in 1978 in Jonestown Guyana, where 908 people drank cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and died in the jungle. These people had followed Jim Jones into his cult. Jones, that false teacher, brought them in a long slow descent from Christianity to Jones personally claiming to be Jesus, and when he said so, killed themselves.

There was a man named Tim Stoen. As John MacArthur described,
Here was this fellow attending the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley and at People’s Temple at the same time. Raised in a G.A.R.B. background – a Fundamentalist, Bible-believing, Christ-honoring people – but exposing his mind to that instead of holding back his mind.  
Jonestown, Guyana, Nov. 1978.
This mass suicide (304 were children) resulted in the greatest single loss of American
civilian life in a deliberate act until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
Tim Stoen was married with a son, and the Stoens followed Jones from California to Guyana to the compound Jones had created. Eventually Grace Stoen left the cult and her husband, she defected. She battled for her son from the States. Tim left the cult year later. They battled for their son, hard, but the suicides occurred before they could get him out of the cult. John's 6-year-old body was discovered in Jones' cabin when the story broke.

Tim Stoen started out well. He had a large ministry in his church, he was regarded as an elder, was seen as mature and solid. However when Jones came to popularity, Stoen divided his mind. He ingested some bones with his meat. The bones will get you every time.

Stoen sadly discovered the hard way what happens when you do not hold your mind back from false teachers. He lost his marriage, his wife, and his son- all destroyed. He lost many years of valuable time he could have been working for the Lord- destroyed. He'd aided and abetted this cult leader in deceiving many- they were destroyed. Aside from the children, when the adults woke up, they were in hell.

False teaching destroys. Do not be so prideful that you think you can detect meat from bones, or even more foolishly believe that any part of a false teacher's food is healthy for the body. It isn't. Beware.


  1. Matthew 16 is rich with information about these days. It starts with talk of bread and warning about the leaven of the Pharisees. It gives the account of Peter having blurted out who Christ was and was commended and seemingly the very next thing out of him was from satan, to which the Lord rebuked him.
    You are right about not allowing anything that raises itself against the Word and will of God. In the days we live in we must rebuke that which as it is revealed, is contrary to the will of God.

  2. Thank you for this. You have prevented me from making an error in judgment and sinful pride. My church is offering not one, but 2 Beth Moore Bible studies this summer; I have previously spoken with one of the women in Women's Ministry as well as our pastor about Ms. Moore's false teaching, and was rebuffed. I was thinking that enrolling in one of her studies would "smooth ruffled feathers" and that I would be able to "spit out the bones" of false teaching when necessary. I had not seen it as being prideful, but you are right. Thanks so much for these words of wisdom. I will either find a study led by a sound teacher or I will study on my own perhaps with a John MacArthur study guide.

    1. Aw Mitzi, thank YOU. I have tears in my eyes when I read something like this. Thank you for your humble and teachable spirit. Too many women do exactly what you were about to do, because we're nurturers and want smooth relationships, but we have to hold our minds back from any contact with the false. We were deceived and are the weaker vessel, so satan comes after us first. When we stay close to the Word with the Spirit as guide and we cannot go wrong. Bless you Mitzi and when you stay away from the Moore studies at church, it'll make a big statement for Jesus and an impression on the women. And pray for them.

    2. God Bless you Mitzi for making a stand and not going to a Beth Moore false teaching class. When my Church was encouraging us to go to a Beth Moore Conference, I gathered all I could on her studies that opposed the Word of God and carried them with me to Church. I am glad the Pastors wife listened to what I said and didn't get all defensive like most do. It is so sad that most who follow false teachers do not want to really do the leg work to search out the scriptures themselves to find out if what they are saying is true or not. Instead they see it labeled as Christian and follow along blindly.
      Praying for you and your church family.

  3. Elizabeth and Deby, thank you both for your words of encouragement. And please do pray for me and my church. Discernment among the women is sorely lacking; in addition to the Beth Moore studies that are offered without fail every term, I often hear women speak in glowing terms regarding things like "Jesus Calling" or Ann Voskamp's book.

    My husband and I are kind of new at this church; we've only been in this town about 16 months and members of this church for the last 7 months or so, although we have been attending it exclusively for about a year. Generally the preaching and teaching from the pulpit is sound, but there is a "soft spot" for Beth Moore due to one of the staff also being a touring musician with Beth Moore's ministry. Maybe after I've been here a while longer and more of the women know me and appreciate my desire for truth, I will be braver about taking a stand, but for right now, I will tell someone why I don't do Beth Moore if they ask me, but I probably won't initiate the conversation.

    I would be grateful for any suggestions you have for sound Bible teachers who have written studies; every new term when studies are offered, I never know if the teacher is Biblically sound or not, and a lot of times there is not a lot of material available to research them. Thanks again and may God bless you!

    1. Hi Mitzi,

      Here are some recommendations for sound bible teachers.

      Banner of Truth trust is solid. Pretty much anything you get from there will be edifying.

      John MacArthur., he has several series he has written. You can go to and click on products FMI

      Pretty much anything you find at Westminster Bookstore (A branch of Westminister Theological Seminary) will be solid. If you click on the link it takes you to their home page which features many good studies, books, and devotionals.

      I researched good women teachers and some websites with solid book and study reviews, here

      Bless you for asking! I hope you'll find something that you click with and can dig into :)

  4. Wow, i didn't know that healing and miracles have ceased. We depend on God daily for miracles and healing. Can you point out an actual verse from the Bible that says miracles and healing have ceased? I haven't found any.

    1. Hi Unknown,

      Thanks for asking for verse to support the statement that the sign gifts have ceased, that's always a good thing. However, there isn't always a single verse to support a biblical truth. Sometimes it's a concept, or a series of verses knit together like a tapestry. For example, can you point to a verse that says God is trinity? There isn't one. However, that does not mean God ISN'T Trinity. He is.

      The sign gifts such as tongues (which were actual languages), interpretation of tongues, healing, and miracles were given to authenticate the apostles who were bringing the message of Jesus. Now that we have the Bible completed, we do not need personal signs to authenicate the messengers (pastors and teachers).

      The true power is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not in the temporary sign gift of being able to speak in different languages. That is the problem with signs, people get caught up in looking to the sign rather than the giver of the sign. "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed." Mt 16:4.

      Here is some information to refute the NEW notion that sign gifts have continued (which history does not support, nor the Bible). It's from Sword & Trowel:

      "We believe, however, that the ceasing of revelatory and sign-gifts in the time of the apostles is very plainly taught in God’s Word, so plainly, in fact, that the opposite view has only seriously appeared in the last 100 years or so. Not only has revelation been completed and ceased, but so have the signs that revelation is in progress. Here is a brief summary of six biblical proofs that the revelatory gifts have ceased (visions, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and prophecies), and also the sign-gifts (healings and speaking in tongues)..."

      read more here,

  5. Thank you for this, Elizabeth. This is a sobering warning to humble myself and be urgent when pleading with others who are dabbling with deceivers. N


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