Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Yesterday I wrote that to rightly handle the word of truth we first needed to read God’s Word. But after that what should we do? First we need to understand God’s Word. We need to apply God’s Word to our own life. We need to share God’s word with others. But we need to avoid taking God’s Word out of context and we need to remember that God is not hiding special messages for each of us. Finally we need to know that the Bible does not hold secrete knowledge available for only the chosen few or codes that require special knowledge to understand.
First while God’s Word is there for each of us to understand and the Sprite will illuminate the Word for us, we need to take advantage of the more mature believer and the many resources available to us written by scholars over the last two thousand years. We need to find a good Bible teaching church to help us with those parts that are difficult to understand or parts that at first glance might seem contradictory. God does not contradict Himself. But it is these difficult parts, such as the Trinity, that scoffers will use against us.
God’s Word does us no good as long as it remains intellectual. We need to apply it to our lives. If we don’t live it how can we expect others to embrace it? If those around us do not see how God has changed us then how can they hope He will change them? Each of us makes His Word come alive to the rest of the world.
We need to share God’s word. The Good News is too good to keep to ourselves. I have found that the more I share and explain God’s Word to other the more I understand and learn. I know that when I get the opportunity to teach God’s Word I always end up learning so much more than I am ever able to get across in my lesson.
How not to rightly handle God’s Word. When God’s word is taken out of context we do a great disservice to God. There has been so much hurt down through the years by cherry picking God’s Word. Just one example is how the Bible was used to justify slavery. In fact, if you choose your verse carefully you can justify almost any action. We have God’s completed Word and we need to read it as such
God is unchanging and His Word is unchanging, but when we decide that God has planted a verse that means something to me alone that is different in meaning from everyone else we are on dangerous ground. God’s Word has to have the same meaning to me and to you because if it has a different meaning based on the reader then how can we ever know who has the correct meaning? Now I am not saying that at different times in our lives that certain verses will speak to us as never before. But this is a timing issue of when the Sprite will draw us to a verse not an issue of what the verse says to all of us.
Finally, the Church has been dealing with those who claim that the Bible has knowledge available to only the select few. These are the Gnostics and they are still around today. They would have us believe that only the elect can truly understand God’s Word and the rest of us are to be left wanting. But Jesus came to save the whole world and not just a select few with the intellect to understand. Understanding of His Word is available to all of us. And don’t waste your time with Bible codes. You can find the same type of revelation in “Gone With the Wind” or Stephen King’s “The Stand”. In fact any writing with enough words can have a “secret code”.
Paul tells Timothy to be a workman approved by God to rightly handle the word of truth. But in telling Timothy he is also telling each of us to handle God’s Word truthfully and correctly. It is my hope that is what I am doing when I write these daily missives and that in a small way they help each of you. Each of us should continuously strive to be better handlers of God’s truth.
Have a blessed day,