I recently wrote an article titled “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” for Uplook Magazine. This week’s blog post is a condensed version of that as part of our on-going look at New Testament principles.
Continued Steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine
One of these principles is that the believers continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s Doctrine. I’d like to suggest that studying the Word of God is a New Testament Principle. Now, let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:15.
Many dear saints have memorized the verse in a translation that includes the word “divide”, but a more practical and updated translation of the word can be found in the English Standard Version: ‘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.” The idea is that we ought to know how to handle the Word of Truth and that we ought to handle the word of truth responsibly and with discernment.
Whether you prefer the translation “rightly dividing,” “cutting in a straight line,” or “rightly handling”; the image is clear – correctly using the Word of Truth takes work, takes effort, takes purpose and takes discernment.
Let’s consider, in broad terms, the ways by which the Word needs to be divided – where distinctions need to be made while handling the Word of Truth.
- Recognizing that God has dealt with man differently throughout history. This concept is often called “dispensationalism.” A big word with even larger significance. Simply put it means that God has dealt differently with man in various ways over history.
- Recognize a distinction between the Church and Israel. A casual student of the Bible will recognize that Israel has a unique and special place in history. A casual student will also recognize that something changed after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and that a new body was formed, a body much different than Israel.
- Recognize that there are two times when the Lord will come to the Earth. Failing to discern the difference between the first advent of the Son of God (that happened about 2000 years ago) and the second (still future) has led many to miss the first because they were looking for the second.
- Recognize that the believer has two natures. Born again believers receive a new nature at the time of their new birth. God, in His perfect wisdom, allows the old nature to remain.
- Recognize the difference between truths that pertain to the believer’s position and to his practice.
- Recognizing the difference between faith unto salvation and service unto rewards. Salvation is a free gift offered by God to sinners, rewards are gifts given by God to believers for their faithful service to Him while here on earth. Many a misguided soul has confused the two and led many straight to eternal judgment.
There are other areas of truth that require a careful handling, rightly dividing it, but these examples should suffice to give the reader a basic understand of the necessity of heeding the Holy Spirit’s instruction to Timothy and to enable each and every believer to be a worker who need not be ashamed, but one who is approved.
Until next week, fulfill your ministry!
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