Congratulations! You’ve done a great job interpreting Scripture. You are well on your way to “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” So, what’s next?
Evaluate the value of your interpretation, Apply it to your life, and Correlate it properly with other portions of the Word of Truth.
In our last study we saw that some of the subjective methods of Bible study include spiritual sense, common sense, and human experience. This is where many Christians stop in their study of God’s Word and one of the reasons we find so many different interpretations of the same verses within the Church. Continue reading
The first course I studied in Bible college was hermeneutics (Methodical Bible Study). It was a mandatory course that lasted two semesters and had to be completed before students could proceed to other study areas – a wise decision by the college. It prepared students for everything else that would come during their education. I was a relatively young Christian, having recently come out of atheism, so I needed to understand the hard work that would be necessary to spend the rest of my life rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Methodical-inductive Bible study takes a tremendous amount of time and discipline, but the results are beyond explanation. It’s so important that we know why we believe something and be able to explain that to someone else so they can understand it and apply the Truth of God’s Word to their life.
The Church began to have problems with interpretation early in its history. The Apostle Paul wrote several letters to individual churches during the middle of the 1st century AD to address wrong interpretation and disobedience to God’s revealed Truth. Jesus told the Apostle John to write letters to seven churches at the end of the 1st century AD to address wrong interpretation and disobedience to God’s revealed Truth. Major disagreements about interpreting the Bible eventually divided the Church into many splinter pieces during the early centuries of Christianity until we now have thousands of divisions (denominations) and most Christians struggle to understand how to do something God told us was vital to our spiritual health – rightly divide the Word of Truth.
Who inspired the Apostle Paul to write the Letters included as Scripture in the New Testament? That’s right – the Holy Spirit did. When Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” he was writing what the Holy Spirit told him to write (2 Timothy 2:15). It is the Holy Spirit saying to us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The Spirit of God wants us to be diligent to present ourself approved to God. He wants us to present ourself to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed. The Spirit of God wants us to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Simple and direct. That’s God’s Will for us.
Contextual Study Techniques
Here’s a quick review of what we looked at in our last study.
1. Pray that God will guide your mind and heart as you study His Word.
2. Start at the beginning.
3. Look at each word in every sentence, carefully.
4. Write down all your observations before trying to interpret what you’re reading.
Now, to the interpretation of what you’ve read using Romans 1:1-4 as an example.
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