"Common Sense" Rules For
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
By Pastor F. M. Riley
September 25, 2018
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15.
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come."
The Bible is the Holy Word of God, given as God raised up true "men of God" to receive it on behalf of all mankind. Every word in the Bible as given by God in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and the Greek text of the New Testament is absolutely true, inerrant, and infallible.
I cannot say the same for the translations of the Bible into the various languages of mankind. Translators, even those with the best of intentions, do make mistakes in translating, simply because they are human with a fallen "sin nature." This is why every true believer needs a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, or Hebrew and Greek Lexicons, in order to study the translated words in their Bible, to see if the words have been translated correctly. No true believer has to be a Hebrew or Greek "scholar," or able to read or even speak the Hebrew and Greek languages, in order to do this. The Concordance or Lexicon makes it possible for any reader to check out the translated words in any version of the English Bible, to find the true meaning of a word, or an entire expression, as originally given by God. .
So now let's get started with the rules for.......
"Rightly dividing the Word of truth," 2 Timothy 2:15.
1. Never engage in "selective" reading of God's Word.
By "selective reading," I mean picking out Scriptures one chooses to believe are God's Word, and rejecting other Scriptures.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2 Timothy 3:16. See also 1 Peter 1:19-20.
Since "all Scripture" has been inspired of God, then the reader must believe that every word and statement in the entire Bible is the truth of God, and must literally accept it as such. There may be Scriptures in God's Word a reader doesn't understand, but that gives no right to reject them. No choosing those parts one wants to believe and ignoring or rejecting those parts one does not want to believe. Whether some readers like my saying so or not, one either receives the whole Bible as God's Word, or they really don't believe any of it is God's Word.
2. Never engage in "adjusting" the Scriptures.
And by "adjusting," I mean changing the wording of a Scripture to make it say what one wants it to say, rather than the actual statement of the Scripture.
Yes, there are "professing Christians" who rearrange the wording in Scriptures, in order to make them say what they want them to say. By this means they try to justify their belief or teaching, even if it isn't really in harmony with what is actually stated in God's Word.
3. Never read into any Scripture what the Scripture actually does not say.
Sadly, we are living in a time when many "professing Christians" engage in such wickedness. They may be motivated by their own opinion, or by some theory they have heard or read, or by some false teacher presenting a so-called "new revelation." But stay true to what the Word of God actually and literally says, and one will never have to regret it.
4. Always take the Word of God at face value for what it actually and literally says.
There are many in the churches and the ranks of Christianity today, who simply try to explain away what the Word says, because it doesn't harmonize with their own opinion or theory, so they just attempt to explain it away. Never be guilty of such wicked dealing with God's Word. God, in inspiring His Word said what He meant, and meant what He says. Believe it! Romans 3:4.
5. Always intensively "STUDY" the Word.
Any old infidel or religionist can "read the Bible," and it profits them nothing. Years ago I ran across a man who boasted that he had read the Bible through forty times, yet he was devoutly involved in a false religious cult. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells God's people to "STUDY." If this involves purchasing, or even borrowing, a good Concordance or Lexicon to help you study, then do it! If a reader truly desires in their heart to study God's Word, our gracious Lord will make a way for it to happen.
6. Always pay attention to the context in which a Scripture occurs.
In other words read the Scriptures which come before, and those which come after, the particular Scripture you are concerned about. If one truly wants to "rightly divide" God's Word, then it is absolutely necessary to identify the subject under consideration in the context.
7. Always identify who is speaking.
Some Bible readers have the idea that, since the Bible is God's Word, every statement in the Bible sets forth absolute truth. This is simply not so! There are Scriptures in the Bible which set forth what Satan says, or what some wicked men say. True believers certainly do not want to give heed to their statements. Such statements are obviously recorded in the Scriptures as WARNINGS for true believers.
8. Always identify who is being spoken to.
No, every statement in the Bible does not apply to true believers. Some statements were for individual men or women. Some statements were made to and about ancient Israel. Some statements were addressed to specific countries or rulers of countries which may or may not still be in existence today. Some statements are specifically for the Lord's Church and the Lord's people. Some statements are made as warnings to the unbelieving wicked. It is very important in right division of God's Word to know who it is that the Word is speaking to in any Scripture and context.
9. Always identify the time element involved.
Does the statement in the Scripture apply to us living today? Or did it apply to those living in the past? Or perhaps it is Bible prophecy, which is yet to be fulfilled in the future? Identify the time element involved.
10. Identify even the season of the year, if possible.
There are Scriptures, especially in Bible prophecy, which cl;early set forth a certain season for the fulfillment of the statement or prophecy. Flowers appear in the Spring. The grape vines and fig trees begin to put on their fruit in the Spring. Heat and very dry conditions usually come in the Summer. Snow comes in the Fall or Winter. The Lord God is quite specific in setting forth the season in which some prophetic eventds will be fulfilled. Pay attention to this truth! For example read Matthew 24:32, Songs 2:8-13, Malachi 4:1, etc.
11. Pat attention to the Holy Days.
God appointed to Israel living under the Mosiac Law certain days throughout the year as Holy Days. The Scriptures explicitly state that the Law sets forth "a shadow of things to come," Colossians 2:16-17. Then study the Holy Days of Israel to learn what they are typifying for the Lord's church and people, or even for the future of Israel.
12. Never attempt to correct the mistakes the Lord God DID NOT MAKE in giving His Word to mankind.
The Holy Bible is a perfect treasure of holy instruction from God Himself about the way of salvation for the repentant sinner, and how true believers should live to God's honor and glory, and to the blessing of others. Don't be guiltly of trying to correct, or improve, on what God has explicitly said in His Word.
13. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," 1 Thess. 5:21.
Avoid the theories and opinions of men, as one would avoid a plague or disease, regardless of how popular a theory or opinion may be, or who it is that is teaching it. Every truth set forth in God's Word can be proven by the "rightly divided" Word of God! Never settle for anything less
14. Never be dogmatic on any teaching, unless you have Scriptural proof; book, chapter, and verse, in God's Word to back up your claim. If a teaching cannot be conclusively proven by the "rightly divided" Word of God, then don't be repeating it as Bible truth!
Our Holy Bible
Every word in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts was inspired by God, and also preserved by God. We do have copies of these manuscripts today, for no other reason than God has defended and preserved His Word.
Over these past 4,000 years since Moses, there have been many attempts to destroy the manuscripts, and the Bibles printed from them.
These attempts have been made by wicked men, including some rulers and kings of nations. Well!.....it is evident that those who would wickedly destroy God's inspired Word are gone, and the Holy Word of God is still here. Praise the Lord!
The Holy Bible is the most precious and well preserved book on the face of the earth today. When you hold a Bible in your hands, you are holding a book which began to be written some 4,000 years ago, and was completed some 2,000 years ago. And it is still read today by thousands of believing people. No other book on earth can make such a claim.
The writing of the Bible began with God's prophet, Moses, being moved by the Spirit of God some 4,000 years ago, to write the first five books of the Bible; those books which God's people refer to as the Pentateuch.
These first five books of the Bible give to mankind the inspired account of the origin of all creation; the creation of the heavens and the earth, of the animals and birds and creeping things upon the earth, and of mankind upon the earth.
Only the origin of God Himself is missing, and the origin of God is a truth which mankind does not need to know. God said so! So don't waste your time trying to find out, Job 5:8-9; 11:7. Ecclesiastes 3:11.
In spite of all the railing of atheists and evolutionists, and other assorted unbelievers, against this inspired Holy book, it still stands today as the only logical and reasonable explanation for the origin of all creation. PERIOD!
After God inspired Moses to write the first five books of the Bible, the Lord God then raised up a whole line of "prophets," which He inspired to write the entire Old Testament. Then Christ Jesus came into the world. And in turn He raised up "prophets" from among His people to write the entire New Testament.
The Holy Bible is a living book, which sets forth spiritual truth, and gives spiritual life to all who will believe it's message, John 5:24; 6:63. God gave mankind His Word, because He is a loving God, and takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel 18:23; 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9. Therefore, in His Word, God set forth "the way" of salvation for fallen mankind, John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-10. It is also the inspired Word that makes a true believer spiritually clean and keeps us that way, John 15:3. If a true believer gets to feeling contaminated by the things of the flesh or the world, just dive into God's Word and let it wash you from the lust of the flesh, and from contamination by the world. Glory to God!
The inspired Word is then for all of mankind, and for His believing people, and for lost seeking souls. Those who totally refuse to read or study it, do so to their own hurt during this present time, and to their loss for eternity to come. .
This leaves unbelieving mankind without any excuse for their ignorance of God, and for God's inspired Word, for the Word of God has been available to mankind all of these centuries, telling mankind what God our Creator requires of those living upon the earth. Read it for yourself in Micah 6:8.
But being a loving and merciful God, and knowing that mankind in his fallen condition [Romans 5:12], could never measure up to His requirements without some help, God sent His own Son into the world as a sacrifice [Isaiah 53] for the sins of all of Adam's race. As a result, now God's only requirement to be accepted by Him is to be sorry for our sins [repentance] and place our faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for salvation. And yet many today won't even believe that simple truth of God's Word, John 3:16-18; Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:3-7.
However, our merciful, loving, God is well prepared for those who hate Him and despise His Word. Read it for yourself,
"Therefore Hell hath enlarged herself, And opened her mouth without measure: And their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, And he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it," Isaiah 5:14.
After the Bible had been completely given to mankind by the Holy Spirit of our living God, then God closed His book with this warning to mankind.......
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book," Revelation
I used the words, "common sense," in the title of this study, because I am often made to wonder today if there is much "common sense" left in this present evil world [Galatians 1:4]? This is no where more evident than in listening to, or reading, some of the so-called "preaching and teaching of the Word" being proclaimed from the pulpits of many of America's churches today.
By "common sense," I mean the degree of intelligence necessary to read any book. It is pathetic to me, that this degree of intelligence is applied to every book , magazine, or newspaper, people read today, other than God's Word. When it comes to reading God's Word, the "common sense" of many people today just vanishes. Could this be due to prejudice against the Lord God and His Word? Well...??
If we believe the line being fed to the people, that today we have the greatest, most educated, most enlightened ministry, pastoring the churches, in all of Christian history. Is that so? Then why are most of those "professing" to be God's people today, Scripturally illiterate? Why are the churches today only half full, or less, in nearly every church service? Why is the apostasy [falling away; 2 Thess. 2:3] prophesied for this very time, taking place even as I write today? Why has the ministry become a "profession," rather than a calling from God? Well...??
Dear readers, there is much more that could be said about "rightly dividing" God's Word. The subject is practically inexhaustible. But I feel that I have wrote enough to stir the interest of any reader who is serious about studying the Word, and desires to correctly understand it, and be able to "rightly divide" it. May our gracious Lord God add His blessings to this study is my prayer.
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Please feel free to reproduce this brief study and share it with others as the Lord leads.
I hope every reader of this study had a wonderful Christmas with their family and friends. And I hope every believer took the opportunity to witness to your lost loved ones and friends. I truly believe this will be the last Christmas on this earth for those who are true believers, for our Lord is soon coming to take His people home to glory.
A Personal Prayer Request.......Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my 84 year old eyes are growing very dim, and it seems like it is worse every day. I fear that soon, I will have to stop writing out the great truths of God's Word, simply because I will not be able to see what I am writing. Therefore I am asking every reader to please pray that, if it be the Lord's will, my eyes will be healed, and my eyesight will be restored.
I also want to thank those readers who graciously sent me a super large print Bible and a large print Strong's Concordance. They are such a help to me in studying the Word and writing. Thank you!
Folks, I am already physically unable to do much more than just get around with the use of my cane. I literally live to study God's Word, and write out the great truths of it for His people, and for lost seeking souls. Will you dear folks please remember me in prayer when you go to our Father's throne of Grace? I will appreciate it so much.
My personal contact information.......
POSTAL.......Pastor F. M. Riley, 14275 Co. Rd. 8120, Rolla, MO 65401
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