Understanding Confusion – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Understanding Confusion

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Intro: I don’t know if it is just me, but I cannot remember when confusion was so rampant as it is now.

It seems that everybody is confused about everything.

  • We are constantly confused by conflicting messages coming from experts and people in high places.
  • We are seeing an entire generation of youth confused about their gender, creation, roles in the family, etc.
  • We are witnessing confusion in every aspect of society.

I. The Carnality of Confusion

The Bible is clear in both the Old Testament and the New Testament; confusion is wrong.

Our text ties it in with “every evil work.”

  • James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

There is nothing remotely positive or spiritual about a person that is confused.

In fact, I was greatly shocked to discover the first several mentions of the word CONFUSION.

  • Leviticus 18:23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
  • Leviticus 20:12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

In both the first and second mention of the word confusion, it clearly involves perversion and immorality.

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines CONFUSION with several meanings. I don’t have time to look at all of them.

The first one; the primary definition is To mix or blend things, so that they cannot be distinguished.

  • The root word of CONFUSE is fus.
  • The Latin root fus means “pour.”.
  • When two types of metal are fused, they are “poured” together so as to form one.
  • When there is an abundance of pouring out, we say profusely.
  • When something poured in, we say infused.
  • When someone offers you something and you refuse, you are pouring it back to them.
  • When something is poured out of one person into another person, we call it a transfusion.
  • Confusion is when different, incompatible things are mixed or poured out and blended together

People get “mixed up” because the message they are hearing is “mixed up.”

This meaning is consistent throughout Scripture; both in the words that are used and the examples that are given.

The greatest way to confuse is to blend facts with error; the known with the unknown; lies with truth.

In other words, Satan blurs the lines. He is pouring out lies, deception and half-truths and it is causing confusion.

The first example we have in the Bible of confusion that doesn’t actually use the word is Genesis 3:1.

  • Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Three things I see in this verse that still stands today.

               1. The source of the confusion was the serpent, or the devil

  • John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

               2. The approach was the subtilty – subtilshrewd, crafty, sly,

They put a question mark where God put a period.

The same word is used to describe the seductive of the harlot.

  • Proverbs 7:10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

They don’t come right out and tell you what they believe; they are sneaky and tricky.

  • Galatians 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

               3. The target was the weakest one in the crowd

1 Timothy 2

  • 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
  • 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
  • 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Satan inserted just enough of a lie to make her second-guess what God actually said and what He meant.

Satan created enough confusion to tilt the scales in his favor.

We cannot look at all of the, but let’s look at several words in the Bible that mean the same thing as CONFUSION.


  • Genesis 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
  • Genesis 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

The primary meaning of the word CONFOUND is to mix, mingle, confuse

Confusion was the result of God “mixing up; mingling” the languages.

Put a person speaking Chinese, another speaking Italian, another speaking Navajo, another speaking hillbilly all in one room and watch what happens!


Context: I Corinthians 14 – unknown tongues in the church

  • 7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
  • 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

UNCERTAIN: indistinct, uncertain, obscure

This is the context of where we find our text verse.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The Greek word for CONFUSION in 1 Corinthians 14:33 is

Meaning instability, a state of disorder, disturbance,

Corinth was a carnal church. No wonder they celebrated and pursued a form of worship that was confusing.

God is not the author of confusion in the church.

II. The Cause for Confusion

A. The Ignorance of Scripture

We understand that many people are confused simply because they have never been exposed to the truth.

1. Ignorance is a common characteristic of the UNSAVED.

We were all confused until we met the Answer – the Answer is Jesus Christ!

Ephesians 4

  • 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
  • 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Romans 10:2, 3

  • 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
  • 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

2. Ignorance is a common characteristic of the UNGROUNDED.

Having access to the truth and the word of God and still being confused and ignorant is shameful.

Many, many times, the Bible equates confusion and being confounded with shame and reproach.

Here are just a few:

  • Job 6:20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.
  • Psalms 35:4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
  • Psalms 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
  • Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
  • Micah 3:7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.

Paul told Timothy to study the Word of God in order not to be ashamed.

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

B. The Ignoring of Scripture

Once a person has heard the truth and rejects it, their vulnerability to deception increases dramatically.

I dealt with this in detail in my series The Anatomy of Apostasy, but I need to repeat this one point.

2 Timothy 4

  • 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
  • 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Ignoring truth desensitizes the heart and mind to truth.

Jesus used the Pharisees as an object lesson of what happens when you ignore truth.

Mark 7

  • 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
  • 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
  • 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
  • 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
  • 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
  • 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
  • 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

III. The Cure for Confusion

The cure for confusion is so simple that it is overlooked by millions of people every day.

The cure is NOT:

A. More Secular Education

  • 2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  • Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
  • 1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

B. More Scholarly Elitism

What we DO NOT need is people telling us that we cannot understand the Bible without them.

That we have to go to THEIR college or read THEIR books or listen to THEIR lectures.

God didn’t see fit to use the wise and the learned to expound truth.

God actually chose in His sovereignty to use the weak and the foolish to confound the wise and the mighty.

1 Corinthians 1

  • 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  • 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
  • 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
  • 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

I have said this from day one – if you’re saved, you have a Bible and the Holy Spirit.

Use them!

               C. More Sensual Experiences

I Peter

  • 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
  • 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
  • 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
  • 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

The solution and the cure for confusion is:

               D. More Scriptural Exploration

The cure is found solely within the pages of God’s Word.

One of the oldest characters found in the Bible was a man by the name of Job.

Notice his conclusion:

  • Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

The Psalmist said:

  • Psalms 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

One reason that confusion abounds is the overall lack of studying and aversion to time-consuming research.

Our attention span as a society has been greatly impeded by memes, cartoons, videos and flashes of entertainment.

YouTube and Instagram and Facebook and others now have “shorts”.

It is for people that cannot sit still long enough to watch the whole thing.

If you are too lazy to explore the Scriptures, but rather rely on the abbreviated version of someone else’s research, you are opening yourself up to confusion and deception.

If you have a Bible, you have the answers. You hold the inspired, infallible and inerrant TRUTH in your hand.

You have no excuse for being confused. Just admit you’re too lazy to study your Bible.

               E. More Spiritual Enlightenment

  • John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

1 John 2

  • 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
  • 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
  • 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
  • 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

               F. More Separated Exclusion

Mark down what I’m telling you. If you hang out with liars, deceivers and carnal people, they will turn you.

If you company with people that are ignorant of Scripture or ignore Scripture, confusion will follow.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul wrote an entire chapter addressing the confusion about the resurrection.

His warning to the church of Corinth?

Stop listening to the people who don’t know what they’re talking about!

1 Corinthians 15

  • 33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

You say, “But what if they’re saved? What if they are my brother in Christ?”

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

1 Timothy 6

  • 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
  • 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
  • 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Romans 16

  • 17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
  • 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

If you hang around confused people, you will become confused.

If you listen to people that mix and mingle truth and error, you will be confused.