Rightly or wrongly “handling” the words of God?
(2 Timothy 2:15 ESV) 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.
We have probably all heard in some form another the following thought: “I was trying to find answers before I even knew the right questions to ask.”
Sometimes (often) in our approach to Scripture we are arm-wrestling God in our study for answers to our questions and we are not hearing God for the questions we need to be asking ourselves. Follow my thought? We pursue, sometimes demand, answers from God, and if we were listening, we would instead hear him giving us questions that we need to answer in our own lives.
Is the Bible really an answer Book?
Is that a result of what God reveals in his word or is that a result of our subculture? Part of our problem is that some of us have made the Bible into an answer Book. Been there, done that, how I was trained. If I study hard enough or well enough or long enough or take more classes, I will be able to answer every question in life, mine, yours, everbody’s.
The question is not “Does the Bible have answers?” but “Is the Bible the answer Book?”
I believe this approach — the Bible is the Answer Book — is a faulty, unbiblical paradigm that causes us to “wrongly handle” the word of truth. Think about it! Does God promise to answer every question? Is God silent, even very silent, during some of our darkest moments?
Psalms 13:1-6 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (2) How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (3) Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, (4) lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. (5) But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. (6) I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Did you see David’s answer?
David’s answer was no answer to “how long” but that David would trust in God’s love. No answer to his question, but a great, big, old “Amen” in his answer to the Person of God.
Why do we have this notion that if we study enough we can answer anything and everything?
Does the Bible have answers? Duh! But the Bible is a book of life not merely an academic, or intellectual, resource to fill in the holes in our thinking. The Word of God is living and breathing and powerful. Addressing our intellect is one part in God’s design for his word.
We need to live in the words, abide in the words, allow the words to course through our lives and bring transformation.
I believe we sometimes pride ourselves in the wisdom of Scripture but we are not immersed in a relationship with the Person of Scripture.
If our approach to Scripture is not drawing us into a closer relationship with God, then no matter how many answers we provide, no matter how much theology we are uncovering, we are wrongly handling the word of truth.
Rightly handling the word of truth draws us into deeper relationship with God and worship and service to him. Dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” but if your “handling” of Scripture is not an avenue for the life of God to overwhelm you then you are a workman who needs to see his shame.