Thursday, July 5, 2018

Guiding Principles For Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Personal Bible Studies and Group Bible Studies are wonderful ways to grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christians need to be careful however that they have done the hard work of bible study before sharing (note 2 Timothy 2:15; James 3).  Too many "bible studies" turn into a well intentioned but biblically misguided "this is what this text means to me" share fest.  Wrong interpretations can lead to wrong applications- some errors are more damaging then others.

Every believer is a theologian and every Christian employs biblical interpretation principles when reading, studying, and/or teaching the inerrant Word of God.  So here is the important question: Do Your Hermeneutics Hold to Sola Scriptura


How does Christ build His church? Arguably, He builds His church by His Word (Eph 4:11-142 Tim 4:1-2). To have a ministry that pleases God, we must be all about His Word—it is central to true ministry.  We could sum it up this way: Scripture is the beginning, middle, and end of ministry.

Beginning-  Ephesians 2:20, “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone . . .”

Scripture is foundational for the church. The book of Acts establishes the church’s origins (Acts 2) and its mission (Acts 1:8). The epistles articulate its role (Eph 1-3) and operations (1 Tim 4:13Tit 2:1-15). Thus, you can’t even define the church apart from the Bible. We can see this in the American church today. We have left the standard of Scripture and pursued every distraction. The resulting chaos illustrates how central God’s Word is—without it, we are confused, dysfunctional, and purposeless. You can’t have church or ministry apart from the authority of Scripture.

MiddleJohn17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

The Word of God drives the ministry of the church. As our Lord prayed, sanctification revolves around Scripture. However, people may wonder, “There are so many ways I can become a better and nicer person. Why do I need the Scriptures?” But, God is not just interested in making you a better and nicer person—He wants to make you like Christ. He doesn’t want you just to change so you please the world, but that you would please Him. That is our true destiny.There is no human manipulation on the planet that can transform you to fulfill your destiny

We can see this from the very beginning. In Genesis 1, we note that we are created in the image of God.  However, because of Adam and the fall, we observe that image is tarnished (cf. Gen 5:3). But there is hope because of the second Adam. Daniel 7 teaches that there will be one like a son of man, the true son of Adam.  He is like a son of man in that He is a man, but He is only like a son of man in that He is more than that. He is God.

For this very reason, Jesus is called the Son of Man in the Gospels.  In Romans 5, He’s called the second Adam. In Colossians 1:15, Paul proclaims He is the image of God.  And in Romans 8:29, we were predestined be conformed to His image.

At this point, Scripture ultimately reveals that the image of God in Genesis 1 is the image of Christ in Romans 8. When God made us in His image, He always meant for us to be like Christ. That is our destiny.

So yes, there are lots of human manipulations that can make you nicer. But there is no human manipulation on the planet that can transform you to fulfill your destiny. That belongs to the Word of God alone.

End-  1Timothy 3:15, “…the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
God’s Word is not only the beginning and middle of the Church, but also its end. As the support of the truth, it is up to us to preserve and uphold the truth for the next generation. That is our role in the plan of God and our legacy. Championing Scripture is mission critical for the church.

So the Scripture is the beginning, middle, and end of the church. For that reason, we hold to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura means Scripture alone is authoritative for faith and practice. Scripture alone determines if your ministry is effective or not."

Are You Handling God's Word With Extreme Care?  Article to be continued.

This article was first published by Dr. Abner Chou.  Chou is a foremost authority on hermeneutics.  Dr. Chou is a professor at the Master's University and the Master's Seminary.