Perceptions of Kay Arthur and Precept Ministries International

Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley has done a stellar job of delving into the teaching of conservative evangelical Kay Arthur, who is held up as a “great Bible teacher.” Michelle begins with this clarification:

I want to be clear from the outset of this article that, while I regret that I cannot endorse Kay Arthur’s materials or conferences, I do not believe the content of her written or verbal teaching contains or promotes false doctrine, and I am not labeling her a false teacher or a heretic.


By Michelle Lesley

Kay Arthur might be considered, and deservedly so, one of the “founding mothers” of women’s Bible study. Kay and her husband Jack served as missionaries in Mexico for 3½ years before returning to the United States and founding Precept Ministries International in 1970. The teaching goal of Precept is to instruct Christians in the Bible “book by book, verse by verse, using the Inductive Bible Study method.” Now in her eighties, Kay is still going strong. She has written numerous books, teaches all over the world, and hosts Precepts for Life, a daily television, radio, and on-line Bible study program.¹

Kay seems to be a lovely person with an almost tangible passion for people to study and rightly handle the word of God. She is a fine role model for younger women, showcasing growth to godly maturity, and a solid example to older women that serving Christ is something we never retire from. Kay comports herself like a lady and exudes warmth, grace, kindness, and a sort of motherly love towards those under her teaching. She is the kind of woman I aspire to be, and I would very much like to be able to wholeheartedly endorse her.

Because of the plethora of false teachers in the women’s Bible study realm, and due to other issues in question, several readers have written to me asking if I recommend Kay Arthur as a trustworthy Bible study author and speaker. With most teachers this answer comes easily, because there is ample evidence of the teacher’s Bible twisting (or doctrinal soundness) and/or sinful (or godly) behavior. Kay’s case, however, is more complex, so I would like to address the issues which are components in whether or not I endorse a particular teacher.

In order to address these issues, on top of my usual research, I have attempted to contact Kay Arthur with some questions (at this time she has not responded). I have also interviewed a doctrinally sound, discerning source who has been a Precept leader for several years and taught many of Kay Arthur’s studies. She has sat under Kay Arthur’s teaching in person at various Precept meetings and conferences, and has interacted with many other Precept leaders. For personal reasons, my source prefers to remain anonymous, so I will refer to her as “Jill.”

When evaluating a female teacher or author to determine whether or not I will recommend her, I research her teaching and habits in three main areas: her doctrine and hermeneutics, her ministry partnerships and associations, and her behavior. Another major consideration is whether or not any problems in these three areas are current, ongoing, and unrepentant, or if there were issues of sin in these areas in the past that have since been repented of and corrected. We need to remember that even the godliest teacher is still a human being who sins as well as a Christian who learns God’s word and grows to maturity over the span of her lifetime. The issue is not whether a teacher has ever sinned in these areas, but whether a teacher knowingly persists in sin or is teachable, repents, and avoids sin when it is pointed out to her. Let’s examine Kay Arthur’s teaching and habits in these three areas.

Doctrine and Hermeneutics

Kay Arthur has been publicly teaching the Bible for nearly fifty years. That’s an extremely large body of teaching, books, and materials. Yet citations of biblical error in her doctrine and teaching from credible sources are nearly non-existent in comparison.

The one major red flag that has been raised by discerning sources about Kay’s doctrine is her endorsement of Neil Anderson’s books The Bondage Breaker  and Victory Over the Darkness. Neil Anderson teaches an unbiblical view of spiritual warfare, and Kay should not have endorsed his books. It was unwise, undiscerning, and may indicate that she, herself, holds to an unbiblical doctrine of spiritual warfare, especially if she has espoused those teachings in her own lectures and materials.

That being said, Id like to point out that Victory Over the Darkness was published in 2000. Sixteen years ago. The Bondage Breaker was originally published in 1990, and a revised, second edition of the book came out in 2000. Does the revised edition of the book still carry Kay’s endorsement? Does she currently teach the aberrant view of spiritual warfare Anderson is known for? In the last sixteen years has Kay grown in her discernment and knowledge of the Bible to the point that she would never consider endorsing Andersons books now? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I’m not seeing any accusations out there that Kay is currently teaching unbiblical doctrine concerning spiritual warfare or any other essential tenet of Christianity.

Jill comments:

“The association with Neil Anderson…I am completely unaware of that. I will say in regard to her teaching on spiritual warfare that I have led the Precept Ephesians study and read the book Lord, Is It Warfare? and I see nothing out of line in either of those. She is very clear that we are not to engage the enemy (my words, not hers). That our line of defense is the sword of the Spirit – the Bible – just like Jesus defense against Satan when tempted was the Word. She brought out passages like Jude 9 where even the archangel Michael didn’t rebuke the devil.”  Continue reading

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10 Responses to Perceptions of Kay Arthur and Precept Ministries International

  1. Beverley February 6, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. Michele Leslie handled this topic very well.

  2. Darrel February 10, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Aside from the fact that KA insists that she does no wrong while teaching men in a ‘church’ setting and her ignorant followers have no problem with that, Ms. Arthur has bigger problems with her “doctrine” which is really doctrines of demons and therefore classifies as heretical. Her five part definition of faith as found in her study on covenants tells it all, according to her faith is:

    1) : “a walk through the veil of His flesh”. She, of course gives no Scriptural reference, and expects the gullible to just believe her because she “has spoken” (not unlike every other false teacher of our day). It sounds like something she contrived after a session of prayer where she was in a self-induced trance and being lead by demons (she does indorse the “Be Still” nonsense of Beth Moore).

    2) “Death to all other relationships”

    3) “Death to one’s own life”

    4) “Lose life for Jesus’ sake in order to find it.”

    5) “Be crucified with Christ.”

    Sounds great doesn’t it? Even “Biblical”, which it is for someone who has already been saved, but KA makes the last four items in her definition a PREREQUISITE for salvation and not the results, the fruit of one being regenerated thus making the gospel she ‘preaches’ another gospel (of works) as per Gal 1:6-9, which makes the messenger, KA, accursed.

    She continues to hang herself with this: “Faith is ‘the idea of an unqualified committal of oneself to another.'” Known only to her is how she came up with that clap-trap, probably never read Heb. 11:1. For her, faith is required prior to regeneration which contradicts the Scriptures in that faith is a gift from God and never something innate to the human soul (Eph. 2:8 & 9). By teaching faith before regeneration she falls into the heresy of Arminianism which teaches that man has it within himself to come to God of his own accord and can choose God apart from the Divine intervention taught by Scripture that is the only prerequisite for salvation (Eph. 2:1-4), i.e. the foreknowledge and sovereign election of God to save only those He has chosen from the foundation of the world. This doctrine of election has been maligned ever since Genesis and has it’s root in Cain who tried to come to God on his own terms, but was rejected. The ‘gospel of Cain’ is rooted in the proud heart of unrepentant souls-actually everyone who ever lived-and is squashed only by the loving, gracious hand of the Savior when He reveals sin in our heart-something only He can do (Jer. 17:9).

    Another one for your consideration: does she ever define ‘repentance’ and it’s place in the heart of the born again? I can’t find it, but one would expect to see something of worth in three precept courses I took a few tears back (Ephesians, Daniel, and Romans). There is no salvation without repentance. Repentance is a gift from God just as faith is a gift from God (Rom. 2:4; Acts 11:18; 2Tim. 2:25). The effect (fruit) of repentance is found in 2 Cor. 7:9-11 which is also absent from her teaching.

    If KA is so “doctrinally sound” why did she sign the Manhattan Declaration? A document for the ecumenicals to brag over which is a slap in the face to the Savior.

    Her ‘take’ on “spiritual warfare” is straight from Neil Anderson’s nonsense. I guess she would love the movie “War Room” since it nothing more than a dominionist’s handbook to “prayer” and has nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

    • Michelle January 29, 2020 at 1:36 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time to give us your input along with the scripture references, Darrel! It’s very helpful.

  3. Rick April 7, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    Haven’t read Kay’s material but my sister really likes her. Not sure who designs her book covers but there is a lot of occultic symbolism on them. Read ” Wolves in Sheep Clothing” from http:// .Also in this same article some disturbing signs from her during her speeches. Deception has some very seemingly nice people delivering it..

  4. Greg Logan August 15, 2017 at 1:58 am #


    The real issues is that Kay is pretends to be an inductive Bible teacher when in fact her induction is shallow at best, her assumptions are significant, often baseless and even errant. Mainly she regurgitates standard evangelical pablum.

    That said – for women who have never had a sense of critical analysis and systematic study of a text she provides a few basic tools and nice context for the ladies to start the process. The issue is – they are provided the sense that they have the be all and end all – when in fact they have a starting point with a lot of dross in the pot.

  5. Mariana September 20, 2019 at 9:45 am #

    Not sure why, but when I click on ‘continue reading’ it takes me to some strange website that I’m sure if not affiliated with this one. I’ve tried multiple times and on different devices.

    • Michelle January 29, 2020 at 1:35 pm #

      Mariana, I’m having the same problem. It also brings up a box stating that I need to update something. I don’t dare touch anything in that box! Two other times I tried, it brought me to a different page with Michelle Lesley’s name, but it’s not the site with the article.

  6. Mary Varner August 4, 2021 at 6:45 pm #

    It really concerns me that we feel that we can judge the heart and intent of another Sister’s work. Kay’s life has proven what she teaches. It would just seem to me that other sisters would seek to encourage and build and tear down. We have a whole world seeking to put out the light and now we the believer are coming along beside them to help.
    Sisters let learn to build the body. You can’t by your own words find her teaching in error but we looked for something to bring an accusation. How dare you.
    Seek to bring truth and not condemnation. We have enough sinners who need the saving power of our Lord Jesus and need to hear that and not how one sister did not disagree with someone else.
    Let’s talk about Jesus, He will correct the rest if need be.

  7. Greg Logan August 5, 2021 at 9:46 am #

    Wrong, wrong, wrong

    1st Kaye is doing nothing new she’s simply grifting off the name of Jesus using real a super basic Trident routrident who study method for really any literature.

    2nd we are called to expose evil works of darkness and I don’t know enough about Kay’s rest of Kay’s staff or her ministry but we are not called to ignore that which is inappropriate or that which is false or that which is distorted but rather expose it.

  8. Mary Varner August 9, 2021 at 10:32 am #

    This sounds like people who have problems with abortions for women but have no problem with the unmerited killing of Blacks. Both wrong!

    We should never ignore false teaching or teachers, I prefer to spend my time teaching truth so false teachers will be revealed on their own.
    “and they will know my disciples by the love they have for one another.’

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