Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Most good beliefs and practices are now in question. Even Christianity’s most sacred book is on the list; it is under attack in multiple ways. Even so it is still regarded as “the Word of truth.” To avoid twisting it’s messages and falsely making it say what it doesn’t say, all who use the Bible are commanded to “rightly divide” it. It is very easy to do otherwise. I suspect that most who do not rightly divide the Bible (the Scriptures) are unaware of what they’re doing.

Preachers (especially pastors) have the greatest potential for twisting and misrepresenting the Word of truth. They’re regularly and often up there in the pulpit. They’re the teachers, the pacesetters and regarded as the authorities on the Bible. They preach sermons and teach lessons on what the Bible says and means. Some of them write books. On a trip from Houston to New York one uncorrected wrong turn can get you far off course, and one wrong position on a Bible truth can lead to major falsehoods.

For example, at the time of Christ and the Apostles who followed Him, orthodoxy was regarded as what Christ and the Apostles said. The 27 books of the New Testament along with the Old Testament were known as the Scriptures. Adherence to the Scriptures was orthodoxy; positions contrary to the Scriptures were considered heresy. Within a few years Christian leaders (especially preachers) began putting their slants and interpretations on the Scriptures. For one thing they began viewing the church as all who claimed to be Christians. They forsook the position of the Scriptures that a church is a local assembly of baptized believers covenanted together to keep the ordinances and carry out the great commission. Soon the new order saw orthodoxy as what the church taught, not as what the Scriptures teach. Any beliefs contrary to the positions of the church were considered heresy and those who embraced them were viewed as heretics. Really! Those who believed exactly what Jesus and the Apostles taught were considered heretics and millions of them were persecuted, tortured and killed simply because they believed and practiced what the Scriptures teach.

A while back I heard a sermon from John 8 on the woman taken in adultery. The preacher cleverly made Pharisees out of all who believe in standards. As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking of God and His 10 Commandments. They are standards, and there are multitudes of other standards throughout the Bible. How many times have you sat in a church and heard the just as I am routine? A wonderful message on how God receives fallen, broken-down sinners just like they are! The beautiful picture of grace apart from works for salvation shines forth. It’s so appealing to those whose lives are in a hopeless mess; however, something is missing. The sinner comes forward to receive the miraculous change; but the next day he wants another drink or fix, he’s still in a financial mess and all his passions are alive and well. Somehow in church he didn’t get the true picture that God receives sinful men just like they are; but that doesn’t mean all the problems are gone, that God is going to leave you like you are or that the road ahead will be easy.

Those who do not get or give the true picture of the Word of truth miss the point. Be careful before jumping on a new bandwagon. Since Jesus Christ was here there have been many Pied Pipers, people (especially preachers) who had great new takes on what the Scriptures mean. Beware! Some of them may be right; most of them probably aren’t. Look at professing Christianity today. What a checkered, self-contradictory mix! People with every imaginable conflicting idea, all claiming they got it from the Bible! That’s especially true in this day when old Christianity is generally scorned, a witch hunt for dirty laundry among old-timers is highly popular, attack books are in vogue by those who despise bigotry and negativism (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) and old Christians and proven Bible-based beliefs are being thrown under the bus. All by the charismatic new breeds who are so much smarter than those who went before them.

Look before you leap. Beware of Pied Pipers. Stay with the Scriptures! Do not be deceived by someone with charisma, who quotes lots of Scriptures, who seems intellectual or who has come up with some great new revelation. Insist on truth rightly divided. Reject that which is twisted or skewed. Be a true Berean. Search the Scriptures to see whether or not what you hear is true. Make the Word of truth your standard of judgment for all things and people.