I pretty much knew what I wanted to say, so I started writing the introduction to my latest post on Titus 2:3-5 Monday. My back hurt from having to spend the weekend in bed due to a lack of Personal Care Attendant coverage, so typing was slow and painful. I knew I needed to check the Greek for the word translated as “love” in verse 4, although I’ve always assumed it was “agape.” I promised myself I’d look it up Tuesday, when my back would feel better.
Tuesday my PCA didn’t feel well, and didn’t want to come in case she had COVID. (Thankfully, it’s just a very mild cold, so she came back Wednesday.) My backup PCA had car troubles, so I spent Tuesday in bed, mentally revising part of my introduction. Of course, Wednesday I had pain from spending another day in bed, and unexpected company ate an hour that I’d planned to use for blogging. When I finally got to my blog, I chose to rewrite my second paragraph before looking up the Greek. Again, the pain slowed my typing, and consequently I was simply too exhausted to do research.
Thursday, I actually did look up the Greek word rendered “love” in Titus 2:4. To my surprise, Paul used two Greek words — one for loving husbands and one for loving children. That’s very interesting, and I will restructure my article according to the correct definitions of those words. But of course I’ll need to first think through the proper application of the verse in light of those definitions.
Already I see that what I will write won’t differ a great deal from what I had originally planned to write about Titus 2:4. But the Greek words certainly change the emphasis enough that conscience demands that I deal honestly with them. God’s Word isn’t a toy that I may manipulate to suit my agenda, even when my agenda pretty much conforms to the overall teaching of Scripture. Having looked at the Greek, I dare not pretend that Paul meant agape instead of the two words he really used. God’s Word deserves more respect than that!
The alteration in my planned article got me thinking about the responsibility of blogging as a way of teaching God’s Word. It reaffirmed a principle that I already knew, but had begun to ignore just a little bit. Those who teach in the name of Christ must take great care to handle Scripture as accurately as possible.
The Bible makes it clear that God holds teachers to a particularly high standard.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. ~~James 3:1 (NASB95)
Because I have too long of a history (mostly from my days as a correspondence counselor for an ex-gay ministry) of manipulating Bible verses to fit whatever point I needed to make, I have quite a lot to answer for on Judgment Day. Therefore, I believe I now have an obligation to avoid that past sin by doing all I can to handle Scripture with integrity.
This isn’t to suggest that I presume that I can teach the Bible flawlessly. I’ve never attended seminary (nor do I believe women should attend seminary), and I haven’t read very widely on hermeneutics as yet. I’ve grown in my understanding of Biblical doctrine, and I’m learning how to read Scripture in its proper context, but I know better than to present myself as someone with a definitive view of Scripture. The teaching I offer through the blog is just a small auxiliary to solid teaching you should receive from your pastor and/or reliable teachers like John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham and Phil Johnson. Integrity compels me to acknowledge that I can’t offer top level Bible studies.
Having made this disclaimer, I also believe I know Scripture well enough to supplement good teaching. The Lord has blessed me with Bible study tools that help me interpret God’s Word with a degree of accuracy, and thus I actually can teach the Bible with integrity. As a result, He makes it entirely possible for me to use The Outspoken TULIP to provide women with Biblical doctrine drawn from His Word.
Like every Bible teacher, consequently, I don’t have permission to treat God’s Word as my personal plaything, exploiting it to my advantage. False teachers do that. In fact, the selfish manipulation of Bible verses is a good indication of false teaching! We need to guard against the misuse and abuse of Scripture precisely because it is nothing less than the Word of God.
The takeaway I want you to get for today’s post is that God gave us an amazing treasure by giving us His Word. In gratitude, we dare not reduce it to a toy. Rather, let’s approach it with reverence, conforming ourselves to what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired it. Only as we submit to its authority by doing all we can to understand it correctly will we reap its wonderful benefits.