Sunday, April 17, 2011

Correctly Handling the Word of Truth

I was disappointed today by a favorite author. I have enjoyed this man’s writing and teaching for years. Perhaps I identified with him because he has challenged the old guard in some of their outdated ideas of what constitutes appropriate Christian behavior. Perhaps because he brought a fresh understanding to Scripture passages.

But to day I found a glaring flaw in his writing and I have to say that it pointed out several important truths that I have learned over the years. The most important is that all leaders are flawed and are sinners. As such they all have weaknesses and sins that they struggle with. Being tempted to ignore these flaws has been the ruin of many leaders and their flocks.

As a leader of God’s flock we are commanded to correctly explain God’s word to those who have been entrusted in our care. Woe to the pastor who wrongly teaches their flock incorrectly.

It is tempting to interpret passages through the lenses of our own pet system or our hobby horse. But our job is to correctly handle the Word of Truth.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

This means that we can’t take verses out of context, neither can we chose to misrepresent the original language words to suit to “prove” a point. We need to carefully look at the text and correctly exegete the passage. At times this will mean that we will have to change our views on a particular subject rather then do harm to the text or the context.

I’ve had to do that over the years – change my views on a particular subject (or even two). You see that is correctly handling the Bible. It’s called being conformed to His image and transformed by the renewing of our minds. To put it more simply it is living in obedience.

I’m sure that you are wondering what I was reading and what did I find wrong with it. Well let’s just say that isn’t the issue of this blog. There have been plenty of people banging on this guy over his book, some for good reasons and some for wrong reasons.

The more important issue is that we need to be careful with choosing teachers who are honest with the Word of God and for those of us who teach we must be honest with our flock, with ourselves, our study and our God.

With fear and trembling

Pastor Val

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