So how should we ‘rightly divide the word of truth’

How are we to view the Scriptures in a way that leads us to truthful understanding? When you begin to discuss controversial issues or want to make the case for a particular idea, you may find that you are in the same book but on a different page from others.

We can get bogged down in book analysis or we can minimize the differences between camps, but at the end of the day God still wants to speak to us through his Word. There is a life-changing message in the pages and we dare not miss it.

Richard Foster said,

If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. In their writings all the masters of meditation beckon us to be pioneers in this frontier of the Spirit. Though it may sound strange to modern ears, we should without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer. [1]

The Bible without the Spirit of God as our teacher becomes lifeless. We need to approach the Scriptures with a meditative heart and the door to our prayer room left open.

Perhaps it is helpful to understand that various factions of the Christian community hold differing views on how inspired the Bible is. There are varied camps of theology in this regard.


·      God’s transcendence (His complete otherness)
·      So far above that he can only be known through his word
·      Scripture contains imperfect words from human authors
·      Scripture itself is not inspired
·      Word within the Word, people can encounter God through the human scriptures

Dictation Method

·      God speaks and human scribes copy down his message
·      Many examples in the Prophets of this kind of writing (Jeremiah, Moses, John in Revelation)
·      Does not prove consistent in large portions of the Scriptures written as histories and collections of eye-witness accounts

Limited Inspiration

·      Scripture is the work of human authors inspired to some degree by God
·      Could include human errors regarding historical or technical information
·      But still, theologically accurate
·      How do you determine between what is inspired and what is not?
·      Archaeology and science increasingly validate rather than dispute alleged errors

Verbal, Plenary Inspiration

·      Verbal refers to the ‘very words of Scripture’
·      Plenary means ‘complete’
·      God has inspired every word of Scripture, both historically and doctrinally
·      Cooperative human and divine elements to Scripture
·      Sometimes compared to our understanding of the two natures of Jesus (Divine and human)
·      The most common view of historic, orthodox Christianity

R.C. Sproul said,

“It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.”[2]

[1] Richard Foster, Celebration Of Discipline, Harper Collins Publishers, p.15
[2] R.C. Sproul, Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow, Ligonier Ministries