Rightly Divided

Youth Sunday School Lesson - 12/20/09

Our lesson guide this week states that there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. I know this to be true from my own experience. A few years back as a young (and foolish) engineer, I found myself working on an electrical panel. The panel was powered with 480 volts of electricity and controlled motors in a factory. 480 volts is a lot of juice; your typical wall outlet has only 120 volts, as a reference. So anyway, I thought I had found the problem and turned the power off to fix it, then powered it back on again to check out my repair work. My repair was not correct and I blew a small fuse in the panel, so I was back to square one.

It was getting close to break time, and my partner informed me he was ready to go. I told him to wait just a second as I wanted to change the fuse and try something else. Thinking about a good cup of coffee, what I was going to do later, or maybe world peace, I reached in and grabbed the fuse. The problem was obvious: I had neglected to turn off the electricity to the cabinet. For a moment I thought my partner was joking around with me and had grabbed me from behind and started shaking me, but I could not figure out why he would do such a thing. Because of not following the proper procedures, I was being electrocuted! God intervened and the breaker tripped, thus saving my life. Other than a burn on my hand and my hair becoming a little more afro-like than normal, I was not harmed.

There are proper procedures to follow in almost everything you do in life. You must be trained to perform certain jobs and a failure to be taught the right way to do things could result in a catastrophe. Once you have been trained, it is up to you to follow the rules and guidelines when you do a job or meet certain circumstances in your life.

Paul writes to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In our spiritual lives as Christians, we should never believe that salvation is as far as we need to go with our faith, yet sometimes we treat it in that manner. A Christian should always strive to grow and reach maturity in his or her faith. How can we do this? By studying God’s Word diligently and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This should be a no-brainer to all of us by now, but there is more to the verse than simply studying to be approved – did you catch it?

Paul teaches Timothy that we should also ‘rightly divide’ the Word of Truth. The Bible is not a hard book to understand, despite what some people may tell you. If you enter into a time of serious study with prayer and a willingness to allow the Spirit to guide you as a Christian, the things God would have you know and understand will come to you clearly. One of the things to remember is that we should not read the Bible with a microscope – zeroing in on only one or two passages. The Bible is the sum of its parts, and when you compare scriptures across the whole Bible you will be able to gain a complete understanding of what God has done for us, will do for us, and what He has planned for us. The Bible does not contradict itself – it confirms itself over and over again!

This week, we are going to talk in class about what the Bible will teach us when we ‘rightly divide’ the words we read under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We will look at how an overall knowledge of the Bible is important, and will keep us from being led astray by someone who takes a verse from here or there in an effort to make a point that may or may not be scripturally sound.

One guideline we should follow is that the Bible will never cause conflict among true Christians when they enter into a sincere time of study with a heart set on learning from God’s Word. If we meet for class and I teach something that angers you, or you ask something that angers me, we need to re-examine what we are studying. More often than not, in those situations we are not rightly dividing the Word of God, and at the very least we are not following the direction of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word should uplift us and not divide us when we use it correctly.

Finally, it is important to not only know God’s Word, but to also hide it in our heart by memory. There will not always be enough time to run home and look up a scripture that someone else quotes to us, and if we have it memorized in our hearts we will be less likely to be led astray by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. They’re out there, you know?

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