What Is Apostasy?

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What Is Apostasy?

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The word apostasy is derived from a Greek word meaning “revolt,” and has come to mean specifically, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “abandonment of a previous loyalty” and “renunciation of a religious faith.”

Readers of some New King James Version Bibles will notice that, although this word does not appear in the text of the Bible itself, the editors used the word in the headings of several sections of Scripture. These five sections (beginning in 2 Chronicles 24:15; 2 Chronicles 28:22; Hosea 8:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; and 1 Timothy 4:1) each address a “falling away” from God by an individual or a group.

The first three deal with two kings and a nation that turned their backs on God. Each is worth studying to understand the dangers of apostasy from God and what can bring it about. But even more pertinent are the last two references, both of which are titled “The Great Apostasy” in some New King James Version Bibles.

What these two scriptures describe is a time coming in the future, the “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), when “some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). The event is explained as a precursor to the coming of God’s Kingdom (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3) and something that believing Christians must be on guard against.

To be on guard against apostasy, we must be keenly aware of who God is and what He commands—a state that must be maintained by continuous Bible study and prayer. Below are some resources to help you sharpen your spiritual sword.

Please read our free Bible study aid booklet Transforming Your Life, the Process of Conversion.