Monday, June 23, 2008

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 Timothy 2:14-19

The Bible has been a source of hope and inspiration through the ages. Yet sadly, throughout history the Scriptures have also been misquoted, misunderstood, misconstrued, and misapplied. So-called "proof texts" have justified many atrocities, been foundational to false doctrine, and have abused many believers and would be believers, all in the name of Christ. Some writers have even misused scripture to meet their own ends.

It is critical not to misuse scripture by taking verses out of context to support what we have written. We must be cautious not to take creative license with our ideas and then randomly find scripture to support it in an effort to justify our own opinions. Rather, we should incorporate the Biblical principles to our work and let our ideas form and flow from them. Then we can be assured that the work is supported by scripture. How do we do this? By becoming intimately acquainted with God's Word and thinking on His precepts continually.

The ability to correctly handle the word of truth is important for every follower of Christ, both in understanding God's Word and communicating it to others. As Christian writers we have a particular responsibility to administer the truth of God's Word correctly and appropriately as we convey those truths to our readers.

Imagine developing a plot using the theme "Money is the root of all evil." This misquoted Bible verse implies that all money is bad, which it is not. It is a useful tool of which we are instructed to be good stewards. How might the story change if the correct verse is applied to the plot, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Now we are talking about greedy people and the consequences of that greed. Clarity is everything.

Yes, we need to have a good handle of the Bible ourselves. We need to spend time in the Word devotionally, in study, and in life application. It is good to be equipped with the proper tools to handle the Bible. Concordances, reliable commentaries, lexicons, and most importantly prayer. The Holy Spirit will help illuminate the truth to us if we seek his guidance throughout the writing process.

Our characters need also to handle the Word correctly. Recently I was reading from Molly Noble Bull's book Sanctuary. A non-believer came right out and asked what the sited Bible verse meant (Psalm 91:1). She was on her road to discovering faith and had honest questions about it. Another character had invited her questions and responded with a correct answer, although it was mentioned that even as a devote believer he still was growing in his faith and knowledge of the Bible. The key concept continued to be reinforced throughout the novel. The truth was presented with such authenticity and accuracy that it would surely bless a seeker as well as a committed Christian.

I cannot tell you the countless times that I have been touched, challenged, and grown in my faith walk as a result of reading a book written by a Christian. I hope we can all rise to the task and handle God's Word with skill and sensitivity. The Bible is an essential and effective tool in the hands of a writer. As we continue to polish our skills, let us remember that as Christian writers the ability to properly handle the word of truth is vital


To Consider:

Am I growing in my understanding of God's Word? Am I accurately able to handle the Word of Truth?

Bible study tips: prayer is essential for discernment, scripture interprets scripture, context is key, obtain proper definitions of words and idioms, seek the full counsel of God's Word on topics, and again pray for correct application.

Key principles:
Examine the truth in content, context and concept. Confirm the truth, consider the truth, confess the truth, care for the truth, correctly apply the truth, and accurately convey the truth.

"Studying the Word of God
is something that demands diligence

It is a craft that calls for craftsmanship."
~ John MacArthur


Audra Marie said...

This is such important advice. We really have a responsibility to know Truth and pass it on to our readers. Thanks for the reminder.

Carla Gade said...

Your welcome! First things first. :)