I remember a fellow once using the phrase "Right tool, wrong way." This was probably his response to me using a hammer to break rocks or a screwdriver to scrape dried paint off a table. For a tool to be useful, it should be used as it was designed.
This week, our Bible Study looked at 2 Timothy 2:15: "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." These words were penned by the Apostle Paul who was warning his young disciple to use the tool of God's Word in a way it was intended. Included in this verse are several coordinate truths.
First, there is an incorrect way to handle God's Word. It is possible for me to read, study and use my Bible the wrong way. While it might sound strange [don't we all get credit for simply opening our Bibles up this morning?!], I must remember that the worst of heresies were forged by people with the best of intentions. They just didn't handle the Word correctly.
Second, to be cavalier in the way I handle God's Word may lead to my shame. The word literally means "accusation." Flippant interpretation and application of spiritual truth makes me guilty. When life doesn't "work," I've got no one to blame but myself.
Third, I am accountable before God in the way I wield His weapon [the Bible is called a "sword in Ephesians 6:17]. Because the Bible is God's Word[s], I want to make sure I represent God accurately. A seminary professor once told our class, "You better not say 'Thus sayeth the Lord unless the Lord thus sayeth'!"
In the coming posts, I will spend a little time writing about how to study the Bible well. A few great resources for those who want to go deeper include Dr. Howard Hendrick's Living By The Book and Fee and Stuart's How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth. I hope you'll follow the next few posts to learn how to use the right tool the right way.