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The Minister Handling the Word

(2 Timothy 2:1-15)

Lesson 11 -- third quarter 2004
August 15, 2004

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications

"This lesson isn't for me!"

It isn't? "Well, I'm neither preacher nor teacher." Oh.

OK, I'll grant that most folks reading this aren't ministers. But the teacher business depends a lot on how you define teacher.

Generally we associate teaching with the transferring of ideas or knowledge. That seems to cover most of it; however, it misses a key ingredient. I'll give you my personal definition: A teacher is one who duplicates part of himself in another. Scary. This definition means that as soon as somebody starts copying me, I am a teacher. Maybe they haven't learned from me that the square of a triangle's hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of its other two sides, but maybe they are using my manner with girls. Likely I didn't teach them that "time isn't a piece of eternity as it is commonly misconceived," but they may well reflect my attitude toward personal failure. Perhaps I haven't persuaded them that owning a house is too close to laying up earthly treasure, but maybe they are following my example in clothing styles.

This is more than scary; it's exciting! I don't say that because this gives us an opportunity to produce "clones" of ourselves. I say this because of the tremendous potential we have to help others walk in God's ways. That makes us teachers, which makes this lesson for us. Oh, make sure you are faithful to God and His Word...for your own sake and for the sakes of those who follow you (whether or not you know it).

Rightly dividing the Word

The battle is raging. False doctrines assault our congregations from within and without. We must stand uncompromisingly for the truth or we shall "awake" on Judgment Day to discover we are unexpected casualties. The stakes are indeed that high.

Let me call your attention to two of these false doctrines.

"All we need is love." To the casual listener, this doctrine sounds genuine. However, close examination reveals that the peddlers of this doctrine use it to undermine obedience (holy living) and discipline. That makes their teaching false. Biblical love obeys, reproves, and disciplines. Jesus plainly and unequivocally asserted, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Only when we accept that we can accurately say that "The greatest of these is love" and "Love is the fulfilling of the law."

"The literal words of Jesus as we find them in the Gospels are more important and inspired than Paul's writings in the Pauline Epistles." If this doctrine isn't a deliberate assault on the equal inspiration of all Scripture, it certainly helps lower our defenses against such heresy. Those holding this view also utter "gems" like this one: "If Jesus and Paul don't agree, I blame Paul, not Jesus!" When Paul wrote under inspiration, he always agreed with Jesus. If it seems otherwise, that's our problem. Paul's inspired writings and the literal words of Jesus are all God-breathed. They are equally inspired and therefore, equally important. What Jesus said is no more His Word than what Paul wrote in the Pauline Epistles.

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