Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published: March 19, 2021
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Welcome back to HBS.
I thank God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope for y’all and for the opportunity to help you understand what the written Word of God actually says. So thanks for being here today and keep up the good work.
Please open your Bible at 1 Timothy 1:1-4.
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
In these verses Paul not only introduced himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God” he reveals this letter’s purpose and its significance. In four of his letters to the grace churches he writes as “an apostle by the will of God,” but here he wrote it’s “by the commandment of God.” Why the change? Perhaps he’s emphasizing the fact that Timothy is no longer an junior pastor in training. He, like Paul, has been invested with authority though admittedly not to the same degree which Paul was commissioned (Acts 9). That being said, as Paul “charged” (commanded) him (1:18), he in turn is to “charge” his hearers (1:3) to be sound in the faith, and to rebuke those who are not, so that together they might “stand” their ground against their adversary “the devil and his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The other thing I want to point out is in the opening verse Paul refers to God as “our Savior,” and to the “Lord Jesus Christ” as “our hope.” Paul’s affirming the nature of this present dispensation, in which God is manifested as “our Savior” through the Lord Jesus Christ: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24).
That’s not to say God’s grace didn’t exist before or that He didn’t save people in the previous dispensations, but both the significance and the emphasis were entirely different. In O.T. writings we note it was God’s holiness, righteousness, power and majesty, and His love, that were most strongly emphasized. What’s more salvation in those days more often than not was spoken of as “deliverance from worldly adversity or calamity” due to sin rather than from sin itself and God’s just and eternal punishment upon those who delight in it.
But the message we are “commissioned” to proclaim today (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) is salvation from sin and it’s dire results and that by grace through faith in Christ (alone) (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is the message Satan bitterly opposed both then and now.
The phrase, “God our Savior” is used again in 1 Timothy 2:3 and carries the same connotation. It’s here that Believers are instructed to pray for “all men,” especially those in authority, that peace may prevail 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I exhort therefore, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
We find Paul repeating this phrase again in verse 1 Timothy 4:10-11 saying, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach.”
What’s missing, again, is how long God’s present attitude toward mankind will continue, thus, “Now is the accepted time… now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2), for the predicted time of God’s wrath will surely come, “as a thief in the night” (1Thessalonians 5:2). In this dispensation, God assumes the position of “Savior,” but in the next He will be the “Judge,” also through Christ (John 5:22-27).
For now, God’s attitude toward mankind is revealed to be that of grace. In fact, Paul identified this present age as “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), explaining in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 that God has “reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (v 18), Since “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;” (v 19); “…For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”(v 21).
Thus we learn God has already atoned for man’s sin, including the hateful murder of His Son, i.e., He has atoned for it Himself, “by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). And thus it is that, in a world at enmity with God Himself, “…God hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation and hath committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
It is indeed an honor to be commissioned to proclaim to a world at enmity with God, “the word of reconciliation,” i.e., the blessed amnesty, the gracious offer of “reconciliation” through Christ’s death on the cross with no strings attached (Romans 5:8-9). Having said that, I sincerely doubt that most Christians know this passage of Scripture exists let alone know that God has commissioned every member of the Body of Christ as “…ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: (ergo) we pray you in Christ’s stead, by ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (v 20-21).
The other thing most Christians fail to observe is there is a vast difference between this, our God-given commission in this dispensation, and that which our Lord gave to the eleven, before His ascension to heaven, erroneously called, “The Great Commission.”
The passage above from 2 Corinthians informs us that God has already “reconciled” the lost world to Himself, as far as His attitude toward them is concerned. He has “slain the enmity” that once existed by the cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16), and sees nothing left to be upset about, if man will but now accept His offer of “reconciliation.”
But what has been mankind’s response to God’s benevolent grace and love? One would think there would be dancing in the streets and people would literally be running from house to house proclaiming this good news, in light of God’s free gift of “grace.” But this isn’t the case. Instead, the world continues on as before, as though nothing had happened to alter their lost state. In short, the world does not care that God’s beloved Son suffered in agony and disgrace and died a death that was not His to die for all our sin (Romans 8:1; Colossians 1:12-14, 19-20, 21-23, 2:8-15; Hebrews 10:14).
In life, Reconciliation (mutual good-will) must be achieved between all parties involved in the dispute, but man, who committed the atrocious crime, who caused the enmity in the first place, continues to hold a grudge against God and His Son (Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21). And that’s the thing, you see, for God, so terribly wronged, so deeply aggrieved, should still “beseech” (beg) mankind through us (his ambassadors on earth) to be “reconciled,” and that “Christ,” so brutally mistreated and publicly shamed and crucified, should send us, “in His stead” to pray, to literally beg them that are lost, “Be ye reconciled to God.” This is grace indeed, lavishly proffered by “God our Savior,” through the Lord Jesus Christ, “…our hope;”
“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
Here we’re going to do something I’ve been thinking about since we came across the subject of Pauline Doctrine in our study of his letters to the Thessalonian saints. We’re going to take on this task because the majority Christendom isn’t aware of them, and although some may know of them, most don’t understand them; to them they are merely words on paper.
Let’s begin by looking at Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 4:16. Here he’s calling the saints in Corinth, Greece to be “followers,” i.e., imitators of him: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Paul repeats this “charge” (command) in 1 Corinthians 11:1a saying, “Be ye followers of me…” The word “followers” in Koine Greek is mimetes, and it means: to imitate or mimic. Thus, Paul commands every Believer to imitate or “follow” his example in everything he did both in word and action. It ought to go without saying Paul is not trying to get Believers to focus their attention on him, instead of the Lord Jesus Christ, as some teach. We know this because of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1b, “…even as I also am of Christ.” Those that teach Paul was trying to grab the glory from our Lord, knowingly omit the second half of this verse. So let’s be clear, Paul’s saying were to follow him, as “he follows Christ.”
This reminds me of a game we often played as children called follow the leader. The idea of this contest was to pick one leader and the rest of the children would imitate their actions and words. As I recall, there were a couple of tongue-twisters that caused more than a few children to drop out of the game. But that’s how that game was played. If you failed to imitate the leader, at any time, you soon found yourself sitting on the sidelines until the game played out.
In Paul’s case the idea is that true Believers are to carefully note Paul’s example and then “follow him,” i.e., they are to imitate and reproduce the life of Christ ( or Christ-likeness) in them by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Said differently, Believers are to be “conformed” (Romans 12:1) into the image and likeness of Christ in every aspect of their lives. They are to seek to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ just as the apostle Paul sought to imitate, follow, and reproduce the Lord Jesus Christ in his life.
Now let’s look at 1 Corinthians 11:2:
After Paul commanded the Corinthian saints to “follow him, as he follows Christ,” he exhorts them to “…remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances (traditions), as I delivered them to you.”
Here Paul is not referring to or describing “the ordinances” (traditions) as a religious, ritual or tradition being practiced today which are nothing more than repetitive actions or merely going through the motions with little, if any, thought behind them. Permit me to illustrate: every Christmas morning a young girl watched her mother begin to prepare for the celebratory meal by slicing off one end of the ham before placing it in the pan and sliding it into the oven. The child couldn’t understand why she did this every year so she asked her, “Why do you cut off one end of the ham before you cook it? Her mother replied, “That’s the way my mother, your grand-mother, did it so I’m imitating them… I suppose it enhances the flavor of the meat.” Not completely satisfied with that response she approached her grand-mother in the living room with the same question. She laughingly replied, “My child, I cut one end of the ham off before cooking it because it wouldn’t fit into the baking dish otherwise…”
So there you have it. This describes most of the rituals and/or church traditions people imitate on a regular basis without really knowing why they are doing it. So, let’s be clear. The Greek word in 1 Corinthians 11:2 “ordinances” (traditions) is paradosis, which signifies the apostolic teachings or instructions handed down to the Believers. What Paul is speaking of in this verse are the apostolic, doctrinal teachings, or instructions he had received by divine revelation and personally delivered to the grace churches both in word (verbally) and by epistle (letter).
This same Greek word is found in two Scripture passages we recently studied, namely, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2:15).
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (3:6).
Again, the “ordinances,” i.e., the traditions, “which (they) have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle,” concern the apostolic doctrines, teachings, or instructions that were handed down or given to Believers by Paul, God’s called apostle. Furthermore, the doctrines, teachings, or instructions that Paul gave to the Corinthians and the Thessalonian Believers are the same truths Paul taught everywhere. It is also why Paul could send Timothy to a church to remind them of Paul’s example because he had taught the same things in every church (1 Corinthians 4:17). It is also the reason why Paul instructed Timothy concerning the things he had heard from him and was to commit these same teachings to faithful men who would be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2; Romans 6:17; Jude 3).
Thus, we determine that many sincere Believers have a vague idea about church traditions. Some folks think they are wrong and contrary to God’s Word, while others lean more heavily on tradition than the Bible itself.
Is it possible the churches in existence today are wrong? To answer that question we need look no further than God’s covenant people, i.e., the nation of Israel’s sad history. Can we rightfully claim the churches in the dispensation of God’s grace have done a better job than the Jews under the Law? The short answer is “No.” The similarities are striking. The history of the church in the Age of Grace does not make any better reading than the history of Israel as recorded in the O.T. Scriptures. Whatever may be the virtues or vices of tradition, let us put it down as a fixed principle never to depend solely on man; not even the church. We can and must depend only upon the written Word of God, or “Thus saith the Lord.”
Traditions True or False
The word tradition merely means that which is handed down from one to another. It is not necessarily false. Let’s re-visit a few pertinent Bible verses starting with 1 Corinthians 11:2: “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances (paradosis, traditions), as I delivered them to you.”
In this instance what Paul had handed down to the Corinthians was most assuredly true, for he had received it from the glorified and ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the Lord’s supper he said: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you…” (1 Corinthians 11:23a), and a few chapters later said again, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,” (1 Corinthians 15:3a).
Twice in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians he emphasizes the importance of these traditions or teachings:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (3:6).
For those who are unaware and lest others forget Paul was chosen of God to proclaim a particular message, a brand new message and that of grace through faith in what God has said, dispensationally speaking, many years before the Scriptures were completed. Then note carefully that he does not instruct his readers to follow paradosis (tradition) in general, nor even the traditions of any particular group. He speaks only of that which he had himself received by divine revelation. In short, if you hear it from Paul, it’s the same as hearing it from the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 14:37).
Thus, those traditions were, of course, absolutely true, and dependable, but the Scriptures have since been completed. No man today can say “Thus saith the Lord,” unless he quotes the written Word of God. Therefore human traditions, as such, are wholly unreliable, which means, they might be true, or they might be false.
The Dangers of Traditions
Because some traditions are true people soon confuse tradition with revelation and begin to depend on it. Since God uses people to proclaim His Word we are prone to confuse the words of men with the Word of God. Thus, tradition becomes more dangerous because it is not necessarily false. Every good lie has a bit of truth in it. Thus, error when mixed with truth is more difficult to discern. Furthermore, our adversary the devil often uses personalities as “ministers of unrighteousness” to lead sincere Believers into error (2 Corinthians 11:15), having themselves been misled. People may recognize their minister, pastor, etc. as a godly man, and they cannot believe he would preach anything but the truth, therefore, they accept everything he says in simple faith. But this can be a perilous mistake on their part. It has been said the very best of men are only men at the very best. So, even the most godly men fail.
One area in which they fail is “handing down” the unadulterated Word of God to their audience, and so God’s truth is corrupted. Permit me to illustrate: let’s suppose my computer printer is down and I decide to type out twelve copies of the eighth chapter of Romans on my manual typewriter. How should I go about it? Suppose I make the first copy, then copy the second from the first, the third from the second, the fourth from the third and so on to the twelfth? Does anyone see the danger? If I should make an error in the second copy there is the danger of repeating that error in every successive copy and the more such an error may seem to be correct, the greater the danger. If I make two more errors in the fourth copy, one in the fifth and another in the seventh, the errors will multiply, and the last copy may well be the most corrupt of them all. The correct way of doing this would be to make all twelve copies from the original. This ensures it remains the unadulterated Word of God.
Men, even godly men, make mistakes and their errors are transmitted from generation to generation. Almost every time another error arises it is passed on to following generations; as a result, almost every imaginable heresy is taught in the name of Christ today. That is the peril or danger of depending on tradition alone. Therefore, even if our fathers copied from their fathers, let us not copy from our fathers. Or, to put it another way, even if our spiritual leaders copied from their spiritual leaders, let us not do that. Instead, let’s all go to the original text, i.e., to the Word of God itself, for this is the only way to live (walk) in a manner that pleases and honors God.
The ideal example of this is, again, our Apostle Paul. Before he was saved he made much of “the traditions” of his “fathers.” He wrote about this in Galatians 1:14:
“And (I) profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
“But now,” with all this tradition in his rear-view mirror, so to speak, he realizes he did not recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and he most certainly should have, since he declared himself a “Pharisee of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6; Philippians 3:5).
Instead, he became the ascended Lord’s greatest enemy on earth and many believing Jews (followers of the way) suffered and died because of his error in judgment. What’s more, Paul was not the only one that had been blinded by all these false traditions. Some years after his conversion he had this to say to the church at Rome: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness (in attempting to keep the whole Law), have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
The Israelites were so steeped in tradition they could not, and would not, see anything but their tradition. This casts light on Peter’s statement to the believing Jews of his day:
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”(1 Peter 1:18-19).
If Paul had continued in the traditions of his fathers he would have been lost. If these Jewish believers had continued in the traditions of their fathers they would all have been lost, as the majority of the nation was. This is the peril, then, of blindly following tradition. For a great many people have been lost simply because they depended on “the teachings of men” and their traditions rather than the written Word of God, rightly divided.
Our Lord’s Response to Tradition
The Lord Jesus was hated and persecuted for openly opposing the man-made traditions of the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1-20). In fact, His answers to them are quite significant. For example, when the Pharisees came from Jerusalem and found the disciples eating with “unwashen” hands, “they (the Pharisees) found fault.”
“For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:2).
“For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash (baptizo or baptize in the Greek) their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing (baptismos or baptism) of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” (Mark 7:3-5)
Matthew’s record tells us that the Lord began to answer by saying: “But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3)
But Mark continues with the Lord Jesus Christ’s answer:
“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups and many other such like things ye do. And He said unto them, full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
Now we’ll turn our attention to the church authorities themselves.
Church Officials or Authorities
Based on my assessment of the facts, and many life experiences of my own, I can confidently say many people have a tendency to place their spiritual leaders upon a pedestal, which certainly appears to be a form of “pastor worship,” to say the least. With this thought in mind, they often settle doctrinal questions by appealing to church “authorities” instead of the written Word of God and this is how traditions form and flourish. It’s always puzzling to this Bible guide to note that most Christians I know see this truth clearly in the case of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, yet willingly fall into the same snare themselves.
Most Believers openly condemn the spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day for having set themselves up as “authorities” and condemn the people of that day for having followed these leaders so blindly. Yet these same Believers play “follow the leader” as did the Jews in Jesus’ day. They have such implicit confidence in their spiritual leaders that they can hardly believe that any of them are guilty of unfaithfulness to God and His Word. When men in the audience rise up to challenge Fundamentalist leaders and their misguided faith, their followers gasp with astonishment and worse. I know this to be true because it happened to me when I challenged the “authorities” in my church to preach/teach the Word of God, rightly divided, just as God commanded. They let me know, in no uncertain terms, my contrary behavior would not be allowed and showed me “the back-door of the church,” and their negative spirit as well, as they did one of my mentors in “the faith.” This godly man stopped teaching Sunday school, as I did, for the same reason but unlike me he continued to bring his family to his church simply because they needed to know the ABCs of the faith. But he continued to teach them God’s Word, rightly divided, in his home, as he did the world in his on-line ministry. In fact, this man, asked me to do likewise, since I had stopped teaching in my church, so that’s how Home Bible Study© came to be.
But is the church in any better condition than Israel was in the days of Christ? Are the masses any less confused than the Jewish multitudes? Is the church any less divided than Israel was? The answer is “No to all the above.” They forget that our greatest Christian leaders are but men and that our fathers were but men, as we are, and as prone to error as we are. Indeed, those who occupy the highest places in the church are the ones most often used by Satan to keep people from seeing “the truth,” and the Fundamentalist leaders are by no means exempt.
The Pharisees were the Fundamentalists of Jesus’ day, and yet our Lord rebuked them and their teaching: “Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14).
Although many Fundamentalist leaders preach salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, do not suppose that many people have not been lost by following their traditions. For instance some have given their audiences the impression that water baptism has some essential value in this Age of Grace, i.e., it’s required for one’s salvation. Others make this O.T. religious rite a requirement should you and your family desire to become a member of their church; even though our Apostle Paul declared, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Corinthians 1:17).
Let immature Christians fall into worldliness (sins of the flesh) and they are frowned upon for their waywardness, but these are not the greatest sinners in the church. The greatest sinners are the Fundamentalist leaders who are idolized by the crowds who take in their every word, and whom they keep in darkness as to the most glorious truth in the whole Bible, i.e., “the revelation of the mystery” of God’s grace and His purpose for His true Church in this dispensation (Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 2:8-10).
A great many Fundamentalist leaders need to repent, i.e., change the way they think about the Word of God. But they are so self-satisfied that they ignore “the truth” and the consequent sad condition of the church, over which God has made them overseers. Just because they are deemed popular and throngs flock to hear their every word, they suppose that the church is vibrant and strong, while in reality it is sick and weak and exerts so little influence on the world-at-large that the unbelieving world laughingly mocks them. And while it is supposed that the church today is spiritually advanced, in reality it is filled with children who need to be constantly entertained to keep them coming back week after week to their services, where they are fed with “milk” instead of the “meat” of God’s Word or God’s deeper truths: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2).
If congregations were taught and understood “the revelation of the mystery” and the Church doctrines (traditions) Paul was commissioned to proclaim to all nations, the Body of Christ would indeed be healthy and vibrant. It is to this end that I appeal to every reader out there “Do not depend solely upon men. For the traditions of men have produced as much folly and shame in the Church as they did in the nation of Israel.”
Only God knows how many souls have been lost because people put their trust in tradition instead of what God actually said, dispensationally speaking.
Make no mistake the culprit behind this is Satan himself. If he cannot keep people from being saved, he will rob them of their blessings as Believers. This is why Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Beware lest any man spoil (rob) you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power: In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:8-12).
Circumcision and baptism spoke of death to the flesh and cleansing from sin. How Satan has “robbed” all those who do not see that this is all accomplished for us by the Christ’s finished work of the cross, for Paul said Believers are “complete in him,” i.e., already crucified with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
In closing, what should our attitude be toward the teachings (traditions) of men, even the best of men? Scripture holds the answer. According to God’s Word in Acts 17:11, the Bereans to whom Paul preached, after being chased out of Thessalonica by an unruly mob were broad-minded enough to listen to Paul respectfully, and carefully consider what he had to say even though his words most likely stunned them. But they were not so narrow-minded as the Jews in Thessalonica that dismissed what he had to say outright: “These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:11-12).
The Bereans listened to what Paul had to say, and “received” his words but they did not immediately believe him. They heard him out, but here’s the thing, they put those words to the test of Scripture, or “Thus sayeth the LORD.”
Therefore, I wonder how many of my readers approach the Word of God as the Bereans of old did. How many are interested enough in God’s Word to listen to what I have to say, but are also prepared to put my words to the test of Scripture? I strongly urge y’all to do that very thing for it is by this method alone that we can all be found walking (living our lives) in God’s truths and delivered from error and false traditions.
If you have been depending solely upon someone to lead (guide) you to the truth, it’s quite likely that you are actually very far from the truth. Unfortunately, I’m aware of many who fall into this category and thus the reason for this lengthy lesson. But if you are like the Bereans, then you’re willing to search the Scriptures “daily,” with a sincere desire to know “the truth” and then walk in the light that you have “received,” then, and only then, will you be recognized by God as, “…a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
(To be Continued)
© Copyright 2011/GJ Heitzman’s Ministry/All Rights Reserved