Guarding the Integrity of God’s Word: Connecting the Dots
Typically when I write an article for November, I begin to focus attention on the Thanksgiving Season. So in keeping with that tradition, I’ll begin this by saying that there are many different directions I could go in expressing my sincere gratitude—there’s a long list of people and things for which I’m thankful. Over the last couple months on Sunday mornings, I’ve been teaching about our ACEFC Statement of Faith and the past few weeks we’ve been looking at the importance of the Bible. This emphasis has given me an opportunity to review some biblical truths that help me realize how deeply thankful I am for all that God has revealed to us in His inspired Word. I wholeheartedly agree with the Psalmist, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, so I might observe it continually. Give me understanding that I might observe Your Law and keep with all my heart. Guide me in the path of Your instructions, for I find pure delight in them.”
My preparation for this study has opened my eyes to many things that are especially relevant for anyone who’s a faithful follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout history, the authority of the Bible has been questioned and challenged by many skeptics who are also considered to be scholars by some people. But in more recent times, these critics have become more aggressive and it seems as if many churches like ours have been impacted and influenced by this cultural trend. Please observe the four sections of 2 Timothy below:
—2 Timothy 1:12
For this reason (God called me to serve Him) I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have trusted and I am absolutely convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
—2 Timothy 2:15
Diligently make every effort to present yourself before God as an approved worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.
—2 Timothy 3:16—17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
that the person dedicated to God may be properly equipped for every good work.
—2 Timothy 4:2—4
Preach the word; be prepared and persistent whether it’s convenient or inconvenient; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound teaching; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers who will match their own desires, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths and fables.
This is a very simple summary of what Paul wrote to Timothy at a time when Timothy was facing an increasing challenge from critics who were teaching some ideas that opposed what Paul and Timothy had taught the Ephesians. We could look at this four—part—summary as a “connect the dots” exercise to help us guard the incredible integrity of God’s Word.
—Dot #1— In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul reminds us that his perseverance was a result of knowing God’s faithfulness in a personal way. Some people question God and His Word by saying they no longer believe (trust) what they were taught to believe. Trusting God involves knowing Him and literally entrusting ourselves to His care. When we take note of how many blessings and benefits we’ve received from God, that strengthens our faith.
—Dot #2— 2 Timothy 2:15 encourages and exhorts us to make every effort to understand what God’s Word says. We should meditate and memorize what it says by prayerfully asking God to teach us so we can accurately teach others.
—Dot #3— Knowing God’s Word is essential if we want to be properly equipped to serve the Lord. It’s our primary resource and anything else we read, study, or use to prepare should completely agree with the Bible!
—Dot #4— In 2 Timothy 4:2—4, we’re reminded to always be prepared to insert relevant biblical truth into conversations we have with others. It’s important to do this we a true sense of humility and gentleness. But as we try to convey Truth to others, we’re providing them with something that the Holy Spirit could use to draw them into a relationship with the Lord. In our deeply divided society, most people listen closely to things that agree with their views—it’s often difficult to hear things that contradict one’s beliefs. But God has called us to speak the Truth with love. It’s a wonderful privilege to realize that we’ve been given the Truth and we also have the special role of presenting it to others!
With prayer for God’s glory and praise for His grace … And also, with prayer for our ACEFC family, Pastor Greg