We live in an age where it’s as easy as ever for anyone to share information and their opinions. Anyone can call themselves an expert. Anyone can provide motivation or inspiration and call it biblical, even when it absolutely contradicts the Word of God.
That is why it’s so important for us to know God’s Word and understand it for ourselves, not just simply take someone else’s thoughts and words as truth.
God warns us many times in Scripture about false teachers. II Peter 2:1 tells us, “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves.”
There are a plethora of false teachers out there. These teachers have departed from the historical understanding of Scripture and have come up with their own “new” interpretations to prove or encourage that the Bible really does allow, or permit, sinful acts.
II Timothy 2:15 tells us to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as on approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
It’s our responsibility to know how to read, study and understand God’s Word for ourselves so that we are not deceived by false teachers.
So how do we make sure we are not deceived? How exactly do we rightly divide the Word of Truth? Let’s determine how to know you’re accurately reading God’s Word.
Here are 5 C’s to help you rightly divide the Word of Truth.
1. The Canon of Scripture.
Scripture will never contradict itself. If there is something we don’t fully understand while reading our Bible, we need to use Scripture to interpret Scripture. One simple way to do this is by cross referencing. Most Bibles have cross references in Scripture passages that show other verses in the Bible that relate to the same topic. We can also use the concordance to search for other verses about the same topic so we can get a better understanding of a certain topic in the Bible.
Scripture was not meant to be taken out of context and read alone. Attempting to understand a single verse out of context is almost guaranteed to result in distortion of the word. Each book in the Bible was written for a specific purpose at a specific time. When interpreting a single verse you must know why that verse was written and how it fits into the context of the whole book. You must read the surrounding Scriptures to find the original meaning of the verse.
Knowing what the culture was like when the text was written and not trying to make it fit our current culture is important while reading the Bible. Understanding the culture of the audience the book was being written to, or for, helps us better understand the author’s original message more clearly. Certain things we read in Scripture may sound strange to us, but were completely normal in their culture when the text was written. Trying to impose our culture onto the text is another way the word can easily get distorted.
God gives people spiritual gifts, such as teaching, to help us understand His word better. If there is something in Scripture we are having a hard time understanding it is wise of us to seek godly counsel. We can do this by asking a well grounded pastor. A well grounded pastor should help you understand the Bible in its context as we have discussed. You can also consult a commentary for godly counsel. A commentary is a book that explains the meaning of passages of Scripture. Bible commentaries can be used during personal Bible study to gain a better understanding and perspective to the meaning of the text.
5. Common Sense
Whenever we read any book, read it with common sense! So many fallacies can be traced back to a silly idea that a little bit of common sense could have taken care of. When reading, ask questions like, “Who is the author?”, “What gives them the authority to be writing about this topic?”,”What is the purpose of this book?”, and other basic questions for better understanding. We don’t read other books while trying to force our own interpretation on it. We read the book to see the authors perspective of the topic. We should do the same when reading God’s word.
Being able to study and understand the Bible for ourselves is an imperative skill that we must develop so that we will not be deceived by the false teachers that God has warned us about. When we read and study our Bibles with these tips in mind we will become great students of the Word. We will be able to confidently stand on what we believe and will not be deceived. We will not be ashamed of the truth and will be able to handle it correctly. What tips would you share about ways to accurately study God’s Word?