Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Handling the word of Truth

2 Tim. 2:14-16 (ESV)
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. [15] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [16] But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,

Not to quarrel about words. Sometimes I read sections of scripture that cut me straight to the heart. I wonder how many times have I quarreled about words. Theology makes a living quarreling about words. Words convey meaning. Sometimes I think you have to quarrel a bit about them. It is good to be clear in what you say. But sometimes there is time for restraint. I think about Priscilla and Apollos. Apollos was preaching the Gospel, and Priscilla rightly understood that he didn’t have it all. He was just a bit wrong in a couple areas. She bided her time, pulled him aside and instructed, and corrected him privately. Sometimes a person is generally right, and it doesn’t do to have a public debate with him over a couple words. Sometimes it is different, sometimes you have to rebuke, and even do it publicly. Sometimes, it isn’t easy to determine which one is called for.
But we should do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, rightly handling the word of truth. Law, gospel is not a one size fits all. Sometimes you need to apply law and let it sit before you can apply gospel. Sometimes you have to apply gospel so as not to snuff out a smoldering wick. I’m sure no one has ever been able to do this properly a hundred percent of the time. But neither should it be an excuse not to try.

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