A recent survey of evangelical Christians found that many hold unbiblical beliefs. Thirty percent thought Jesus was a great teacher, but not God. Forty-two percent thought God accepts worship from any religion. Forty-six percent thought the Holy Spirit is a force not a Person. Eighteen percent even thought the Spirit can tell a person to do something forbidden in the Bible.
These wrong beliefs probably come from a failure to properly interpret God’s Word. One of the most significant purposes of godly learning is to become a person “who correctly handles the word of truth” (v. 15). For Christians, the center of godly learning in our everyday lives must be Scripture.
The Bible is God’s revelation— inerrant, infallible, perfect. It was inspired by the Holy Spirit. As a book it’s in a category all by itself and must be studied in an attitude of submission and obedience. This is the reverse of how we normally read: Typically, we judge books (see any Amazon review!), but with Scripture the Book judges the reader (Heb. 4:12).
In context, Paul was warning against a gnostic heresy that devalued material reality (v. 14). In the Incarnation, the Word was made flesh (John 1:14). The gnostics wanted to change things to be compatible with human wisdom. Their teaching was like a disease in the Body of Christ (vv. 16–18).
The church—both then and now—can best defend itself against such false teachers by learning to handle Scripture accurately and faithfully (v. 15). Interpreting the Bible is in fact the responsibility of every Christian. One day, we want to stand before God as unashamed workers in this area. In any case, “God’s solid foundation” will stand firm to the end (v. 19; see Eph. 1:13).
>> We hope Today in the Word helps you become more faithful and mature Bible interpreters. If studying the Word with us has been helpful to you, why not share this devotional with a friend or family member?
Interpreting Your Word is a weighty responsibility, but You do not expect us to do this without help. Thank You for filling us with the Spirit to discern Your truth.