“RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH”

E.R. Hall, Jr.

          “Why don’t you stay in one place?” “Why do you go from one book to another and one chapter to another to prove what you say?” These are statements that are made quite often when showing someone what God’s word teaches. Many people think that everything to be known on a particular topic can be found in one verse or several verses found in one place in the Scriptures.

          However, as 2 Timothy 3:15 teaches, we are to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Take, for example, the occasion of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. When Judas lead the mob to Jesus, they took Jesus but Mark records in chapter 14 verse 47 that “one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.” If this be the only verse we wish to read about this incident, we would not know who drew the sword, the name of the servant, nor which ear was cut off. We would not have all the details nor the full story of what occurred. It is not until we read Matthew 26:51 that we add to our understanding that the one who drew the sword was “one with Jesus“. Then when we read Luke 22:50 we discover it was the “right ear” that was cut off. Then when we turn and read John 18:10, we learn it was Simon Peter who drew the sword and the servant’s name was Malchus. It took us searching through four books to find all the information the Scriptures furnished about this occasion.

          Yet, still there are folks who think they can turn to one passage of Scripture and find all they need to know on the subject of what to do to be saved. Some turn to Acts 15:11 and find that “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved,” and conclude that grace is all that’s necessary to save us. Others turn to John 3:16 and read that “whosoever believeth in Him (Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life.” and conclude that all it takes to be saved  is  faith only.  Someone  else reads  Matthew 26:28  where Jesus said, “this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” and conclude that all it takes to save us is Christ’s blood. Still another finds and reads 1 Peter 3:21 that “baptism doth also now save us” and conclude we are saved by just being baptized.

          What is the truth in this matter of what to do to be saved? Can we not see that it takes the things stated in ALL of these passages to begin to form the complete picture of what God would have us to do? One passage by itself does not tell us everything God says about salvation. Let’s take all of what the Scriptures teach. Only then will we be “rightly dividing the word of truth“.

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