January 03, 2017

Rightly Dividing the Word

I attended a Christian Science Society service where they read the opening scripted statement, “The Bible and the Christian Science textbook are our only preachers. We shall now read Scriptural text, and their correlative passages from our denominational textbook; these comprise our sermon.” As a group “we” didn’t read the Bible, or the denominational text. Rather both were read to us by two women known as Reader One and Reader Two. I was the only one to use my Bible and with almost 40 different passages of Scriptures I followed along as best I could with the biblical text. However, the speed of the reading and the lack of a hard copy of the denominational text made it, in my mind, impossible for a listener to be confident of the parallel being drawn. Paul reminds us that we have an individual responsibility in handling the Word of Truth, “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” (2 Tim 2:15 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----What might “correctly handling the word of truth” be? I thought everyone was entitled to his own opinion. If there is a correct way of handling scripture, that means there must be multitudes of false ways. And then, before men, who are all false, everyone might have a right to their own opinion. But in God‘s presence there is no right to anything but the truth. That isn’t to say there is no right to your own opinion at all. It is just to say that we have our choice, our own opinions without God, or the truth with God. And that is why God is being neurotically booted from our public life.
-----Scripture is very plain, “I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.” (I Cor 4:6) So is reality. Not only the Christian Science Society runs afoul of that scripture, but so does the Presbyterian church with its little book of procedures, and so does almost every other denomination for pressing any point of belief differentiating itself from the rest. Christ’s body is not about distinguishing particular ways of looking at the scripture. Like Paul said, it is about allowing the scripture to simply speak for itself.
-----Christmas evening, my granddaughter, Rhianon, brought me a jigsaw puzzle she had been putting together. She had all but three pieces in place, and in spite of the three very distinct holes now left in the puzzle, and in spite of the very completed picture indicating the color patterns necessary for each piece, she could not get those last three pieces to fit. I thought it would be easy as pie.
-----But I was wrong. It only took me half a minute to determine that something was not as it should be. And my mind first went to the possibility of the puzzle being defective from the factory. I couldn’t see how that would be possible though. None of the colors patterns on the remaining three pieces were foreign to the emerging picture.
-----Looking more closely, I noticed the slightest gap along one edge of a piece central to the three vacancies remaining. Zeroing in on that, I then noticed the slightest inconsistency around the edge of a tab on that piece and its slot, and the bottom corner didn’t line up by about a 32nd of an inch. As soon as I lifted that piece off the board, its proper space became apparent, and then all the rest of the pieces fell into place.
-----Rightly handling the Word of God is very like a jigsaw puzzle. Its themes and concepts emerge from how its scattered information interrelate. If you get a relationship wrong, the rest of the puzzle doesn’t work. And the more wrong you get it, the worse mess it becomes. The Bible will show the fit of all its various pieces. So even misfitting a piece of it is going beyond what is written.

Love you all,
Steve Corey