Why “Religious” is Not a Bad Word Unless it's the Kind Described in 2 Tim. 3:1-5

This 1-minute devotion asks us to consider ways we might be "religious" in the wrong ways.

The word 
“religious” can be a bit confusing. It means doing things according to ones beliefs. But it can also mean what is described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 

This outward godliness is fake, all talk, empty ritual, just for show.

Cain was the first example. His outward actions didn't flow from a love for God. He didn't want to be good. He simply wanted to look good.

You could say that he committed the first “outwardly religious murder.

In the New Testament, the Pharisees also had an outward form of godliness, flaunting their public prayers and petty rituals while ignoring aspects of genuine faith (Matthew 5:21-30; Matthew 15:7-9).

Below are some questions we should ask ourselves to make sure that our religion is inward as well as outward:

  • Do we simply talk about the importance of prayer and Bible study or do we pray and study the Bible?
  • Do we remain silent in order to fit in with culture or do we stand up for unpopular teachings in God's Word?
  • Do we excuse and justify our sins or do we honestly and humbly repent?
  • Do we pick which of God's commands to obey or do we seek to obey them all?

If we genuinely have a relationship with Christ, His love will motivate us to live what we believe and believe what we live.

For more on this subject see What We Can Learn from Gnat-Strainers and I'm a Recovering Pharisee.


This 1-minute devotion asks us to consider ways we might be "religious" in the wrong ways.


  1. Ouch! You are so right.
    I need a relationship with Jesus and not a religion.