Rightly Dividing the Word

The Bible says that “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). In a day and age when it is all too common for people to pass the opinion plate concerning their impression of what any given verse of the Bible means, it is necessary that we, from time to time, remind ourselves that the Bible was given to us from a loving God.

There once existed a time in the world (not too long ago) when people who lived any distance apart communicated via the written letter. To write a letter was considered both a skill to be learned and an art form to be cultivated. Words were carefully chosen to convey ideas and feelings. Today, we live in an instant communication society where the written word has become nothing more than graffiti with punctuation. We quickly send-off emails, texts, and tweets without giving thought to the importance that words play in our communication. I suspect if people were reduced to the written letter to communicate with loved ones today, they would give careful consideration to the words they use.

When God wrote the greatest love letter every written, the Bible, He was very careful in the words that He chose. And he was careful because He wanted to communicate some very important, and specific truths to those He loves. When we open that love letter our Job is to seek to understand the heart of God.

Too often when we read the Bible today we approach the Bible with ourselves as the subject. Often we make considerations about passages of scripture based on how it makes us feel. We really like the feel good passages – those that give comfort and assurances. While we all need those things from time to time, the important part of reading the Bible is not the emotional impact it makes on me, but the spiritual transformation it causes within me.

This is the point Peter was making when he wrote to the church. He was telling the church to watch out for false teachers who will lead the church astray, if they are not discerning about what God has said. And that’s the point: know what God has communicated. I may have different impressions of any given passage of Scripture, depending on how I feel at the time; but how I feel has no impact on what is actually communicated by God.

If I had lived in a day when the written letter was the only way to communicate with loved ones, upon receiving a letter I would read slowly, drinking in every word, trying to really understand what my loved one was saying to me. We need to read the Bible in the same way. We need to put our opinions, impressions, and feelings aside, and simply allow God to speak as He intended when He inspired the writers of the Bible to communicate His thoughts to us.

God’s thoughts and Words are the stuff of life. When God spoke in the beginning, the worlds were made. When we set aside our personal desires and opinions, we may discover that some of God’s thoughts make us nervous and uncomfortable, but also create in us new realities that bring greater awareness of who God is and what He is doing both in the world and in our life.

God wrote the Bible because He loves us with an everlasting love. We will know that love only to the proportion that we allow His words to sink down deep into our heart, mind, soul, and spirit.

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