Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Changing Scripture?

I think it's interesting how one key word in a verse of scripture becomes the driving force behind how we use it and apply it. A couple weeks ago I mentioned how much the way we use 2 Timothy 2:15 has changed through the years since most of us don't use the KJV anymore. When I was a kid in Bible school, memorizing that verse was second only to Acts 2:38 in importance because of the "then" command to "Study to show thyself approved unto God...". It was the scriptural mission statement for Sunday morning and Wednesday night Bible classes and the theme of every VBS. The NIV translation "Do your best," which is far more accurate, just doesn't have the same clarion call to "get your Bibles out." So when you get to the end of the verse, with it's description of the "approved...workman" who is "unashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth," it just doesn't have the same "make sure you interpret the New Testament scripture" challenge that the old KJV did. What did Timothy and the folks at Ephesus understand Paul to be talking about? They didn't have any Bibles lying around. The "word of truth" Paul was talking about comes from what he said in verses 8&9 of that chapter: "Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained." Handling the word of truth correctly meant living and preaching that truth and not letting Satan distract you with "godless chatter" and "quarreling about words."
Wow! It really is a different verse than the one I grow up quoting and later using to put people on guilt trips.
Now - just a few verses later (vs.22)- is "Flee the evil desires of youth" really a challenge to young people, or simply telling us when the evil desires begin in life? Could it be an ageless warning rather than just a good verse to point out when you're speaking to the Youth Group?

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