I’m excited—another fall; another Bible study.
It’s sad to say, but I am closest to God and at my best when I have a schedule that forces me into God’s Word in some depth every week. The weekly deadlines force me into a rhythm that eludes me otherwise. Yes, I read the Word, and yes I pray, but real reflection and listening generally come when it requires actual study rather daily or devotional reading.
This year the women at my church are doing Interrupted by God, focused on stories of men and women of the Bible, and it has reminded me to be careful as we study and listen to others.
Any time we use the Bible, whether for ourselves or to encourage or teach others, we’ve go to carefully handle it.
As Paul told his protege Timothy, “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately,” (2 Timothy 2:15 NET).
The NET Bible notes explain the Greek: “Accurately is a figure of speech that literally means something like ‘cutting a straight road.’ In regard to the message of truth, it means ‘correctly handling’ or ‘imparting it without deviation.’”
The Word must be carefully handled like everything precious—from china to babies to relationships. We are responsible to God when we use the Word with others as God’s worker, and it’s dangerous to mishandle it. We don’t want to believe a lie or cause others to do so.
Satan certainly twisted God’s word when tempting both Eve and Jesus. Eve believed the lie, resulting in sin. In contrast Jesus knew the Word and used it to counter Satan’s lies.
Here are a few ways cautions as we use the Word and listen to others:
- Making Bible stories all about the character and even personal application instead of primarily teaching about God.
- Taking verses out of context and applying too broadly to people or situations.
- Finding hidden meanings in stories or passages.
- Failing to take into consideration stories, verses, or passages that don’t fit what we want to believe.
- Not carefully constructing beliefs through a thorough study, but accepting what leaders teach.
- Stopping up our ears rather than listening and studying other perspectives.
I’ve been forced to change my mind a number of times on issues! None of us is immune from false belief.
Let’s be careful out there!