2 Timothy 2:14 – 16 “How to use the Bible correctly”
I. What does it say?
A. There is a duty to us regarding the Bible.
1. We must “correctly handle the word of truth.”
a. This is important because something is at stake.
b. We will see this when we expand the context (unit of thought).
2. This duty is enforced by a test.
a. Paul tells Timothy, “as one approved.”
b. The image is one who has passed a test… become competent.
B. The is a duty toward others.
1. Context: (larger unity of thought)… Is the reminding and warning of God’s people.
a. AGAINST quarreling about words [v 14]
b. AVOID godless chatter [v 16]
2. Why is this important?
a. Avoid what is of no value (saves time).
b. Avoid what ruins us (saves the soul).
c. Avoid becoming more and more ungodly (saves our character and behavior). (In verse 17 it uses the image of gangrene.)
II. How do you do this?
A. Start with the tools:
1. A clear translation (many fail because the translation they use is difficult for them to read… it’s foggy).
2. Find a concordance… “an alphabetical index of the principal words” [dictionary.com] Generally found in the back of a Bible.
[Useful alternative: cross references… generally found in the “center column.” Concordance has short sentence so you can scan it quickly.]
3. Paper and pen (or pencil)… Some has said that a pen is the best set of eyes you have. [Idea: keep this as a journal… it shows your thought process.]
B. Follow the path….
1. Lots of ideas and models available….
2. Here’s how I do this…
III. I use a three step process: Observe, Interpret, Application
A. Observe… Start with one unit (small then expand to larger… CAUTION a unit of thought must not lose focus).
1. Common sense… what does the text say?
a. Start with the natural reading and understanding of what you are looking at.
b. Remember that words find meaning in relationship to others.
[Ill. Printer, road, glossy, bold, folded…. (Did I just make sense?) Of a Deep Space 9 show where a virus hit the victims’ brain… they spoke words but because the words were out not connected then there was not meaning.]
c. Context: the relationship of one word to another… sentence… paragraph.
a. What kind of literature is it?
1.) 2 Timothy is an “Epistle” (letter)… both personal and instruction.
2.) Epistles are straight forward in linear logic… one idea leads to the next. (More on types of literature tonight.)
a. Historical context…
1.) Paul is writing to Timothy a very personal letter on how to do ministry.
2.) The principles are good for all to follow even if you are not in the formal ministry.)
3.) At this point… admit to an underlying belief: “priesthood of the believers.” EVERY believer is in ministry (one why or another).
1.) “Do your best…” KJV starts with “study” (word picture). Literally carries ideas of “hungry” or “diligent” and “obedient.”
[Image of someone who is preparing for something that is very important… getting a driver’s license.]
2.) “correctly handles” Gr… word picture of cutting straight.
[Image of Paul, who was a tent maker… the straighter the cut of the fabric the less waist, the easier to use, the better the final product is going to look.]
4. Paper and pen observation:
a. Outline the unit of thought… make the connections.
1.) Look for repeating words, phrases, or ideas.
2.) Highlight the “little words.” [I capitalize them]
a.) But, even though… PURPOSE
b.) As, for, so… CORRELATION
c.) To, also, like… COMPARISON
d.) So then, therefore… RESULTS
e.) Until, now, then… TIIME
b. Look for a key word (or two… if the passage is longer)
B. Interpret (Not that you know what it says, it’s time to understand what it says!)
1. Write out the timeless truth(s) [depending on how long the unit is].
a. Idea: What is the principle that applies to everyone at all times.
b. Stick with the obvious. Keep the “face value.”
c. Be aware of and honestly admit when you impose another idea on the text.
d. FALSE TEACHERS love to use the word “context” to misdirect the obvious, plain, and simple meaning of the text. (Almost always the “context” of the wider message of the Bible will mean a theological grid…. Key to pick up on this is when the “context” disagrees with what you are reading…. Or is used to explain away the meaning.)
2. Using the concordance (or cross reference) see if there are other passages that address the same truth. RULE: “Scripture interprets Scripture.”
a. What we are doing is “connecting the dots.”
b. Example: we will notice 2 Timothy 3:14 – 17
1.) Observe the Bible will make us “wise for salvation.”
2.) Observe the Bible is useful for four things…
3.) Observe the Bible is used for a final goal “thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” [Ephesians 2:10]
3. How does this connect with Jesus?
a. Maybe it has something to do with our fallen condition.
b. Maybe it has something to do with God’s grace
c. Maybe it has something to do with salvation or justification.
d. Maybe it has something to do with holiness.
C. Application… what does God want?
1. Categories of what God may want:
a. What do I need to believe?
b. What do I need to see?
c. What do I need to feel?
d. What do I need to want?
e. What do I need to do?
2. Clues in the text:
a. Pay attention to the verbs!
b. Adjectives and Adverbs are commentary.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” [v 15 NIV2011]