When I was growing up in the church I would always hear my dad as well as other preachers in our church talk about “rightly dividing the Word of God”. This always meant understanding what the Bible said about a specific subject and not only take just one Bible verse to base an opinion on.
In later years I learned that we weren’t exactly “rightly dividing” anything but more like slanting it in the direction of how we felt about something. One example was our church teaching on wearing jewelry. Throughout most of my life we were taught that the Bible was against the wearing of any jewelry – even wedding rings. However, in the 1990s there was a change in that “understanding” about jewelry. When that happened the crap hit the fan and even caused a split in the organization over it. When the church changed its stance on the jewelry my local pastor at the time refused to accept it and was against it. So you had preachers who would slant the jewelry issue in the way that they felt about it personally – not rightly dividing the Word as they liked to say.
Over the years, I have seen how people will slant their interpretations about what the Bible says about various subjects. People will totally astound you with these opinions they have from divorce and remarriage to the Sabbath. It gets a little crazy. I have known preachers who have been rigid against divorce and condemning people to hell over it but when their child got a divorce they changed their slant and were more “enlightened” about the subject. So does God change? Does the Bible change?
That’s why it is so important that we don’t simply accept every word a preacher or teacher at church tells us without studying it for ourselves. Anyone will slant a subject according to their belief but the only true way to rightly divide the Word is to keep an open – not an empty – mind and balance everything out. God doesn’t expect us not to use our brains. That’s what He gave us to use.
I’ve had people who didn’t agree with me to say that I was being deceived. People who don’t agree with you and will say all kinds of junk to sway you to agree with them. You have to be disciplined and level-headed about knowing what God’s Word is saying to you.
People always use 2 Timothy 2:15 that says “Study to show yourself approved” but they always stop there. It continues by telling us to be approved by God. Not a church or preacher. God is the ultimate approval we seek not the personal slant of others.
You can never just take one Bible verse and make a doctrine or religious rule about it. You have to read all the verses before it and verses after it as well as how it was interpreted from its original language. The customs of the times and the people of the time it was written.
It always amazes me about people who will quote the Bible yet they don’t read the Bible or have any understanding of it. You can’t be an expert about God if you don’t know Him or know what He has written in His book.
We all have our unique experiences, frames of reference and education. We have to be careful how we represent what God has said in His Word. We must work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12) seriously so use caution about so-called experts about the Bible.
Ephesians 4:14 warns us about the slant. We shouldn’t be babies about God’s Word and not be swayed by every teaching or how people can scheme us with their craftiness and deceit in their scheming. No, not everyone is trying to scam us but always consider the source of the teaching. There are some smart and educated people out there teaching God’s Word but having degrees in Theology doesn’t make someone an expert if they don’t have a relationship with God themselves.