Apprenticeship for rightly dividing the Word of Truth begins when God chooses you.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 1:3-4
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
Salvation means apprenticeship to everything Christ teaches: “… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20) It means growing in our knowledge and understanding of Christ: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)
Every Christian is an apprentice to Jesus Christ. Learning how to rightly divide the Word of Truth is foundational to our training. “I have given them Your word … Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14,17) The verb “sanctify” (hagioson) means “to set apart for holy use, sacred service.” Jesus knew that what would set His disciples apart from everything worldly and unholy would be the Holy Spirit using the Holy Word in their lives.
What does it mean to be a committed follower of Jesus Christ who rightly divides the Word of Truth? Jesus called His disciples personally and they followed Him and learned of Him. The Apostle Paul preached God’s Word and told those who believed that they followed both him and the Lord: “And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7) Paul even went so far as to say that believers should follow his teachings and his life: “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured.” (2 Timothy 3:10-11) That’s what a master craftsman should be able to say to apprentices and journeymen.
The first lesson we learn as followers of Christ is the importance of God’s Word to our apprenticeship. It is vital, central, and foundational to everything we believe and do. What did Jesus do when Satan tempted Him in the desert? He quoted the Word. Here are the Lord’s responses from Matthew 4.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
“You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”
“You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”
When I first read that years ago, I remember thinking that if the Son of God relied on His Word to deal with Satan, I needed to rely on it even more. That means knowing it. I can’t use something I don’t know and I can’t use it correctly unless I learn how to rightly divide it. Think of the Word of God as a Holy Tool in our hands. God gave us His Spirit and His Word to make a difference in our world. Learning how to divide the Bible correctly is important to our ability to do that.
Right division begins with a simple step: read and study the Bible in context. In the next part of our study, we’ll learn what that means and how to do it consistently in our study of God’s Word.
Also, read the companion apologetics study – Can I Trust the Bible?
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”