Rightly Dividing - Lesson 2

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Helps and Hindrances of 
Rightly Dividing the Word

by Don Treadway, February 2000


1. A desire to please the world.

A. Not that we should try to displease others.
B. We can not allow their applause to move us from the truth.

2. Belief that only the "professionals" can understand the Bible.

A. The Catholics teach it.
B. The Protestants practice it.

3. Using the Bible to prove doctrines

A. Almost anything can be "proven", if we are looking for a proof text.
B. The Bible should not be viewed as a way to win a discussion.

4. Mysticism

A. We cannot spiritualize the Bible.
B. We will talk more about this when we discuss methods next week.

5. Viewing the Bible as a book of wonders and riddles.

A. This attitude is not much different than the mystic view but most do not recognize it.
B. Questions like: Where do we find a man with 12 toes? Who is David's mother? ,etc.

6. Reading without expecting or even intending to understanding.

A. Reading from a sense of duty.
B. Reading only favorite passages.
C. Reading without a method.

7. Interpreting from ulterior motives.

A. We may wish to do as we please.
B. We may wish to have approval of our group.
C. We may be atheistic in our belief system.

8. A desire to be different.

A. We may wish to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others as an academic.
B. We may wish to maintain our reputation for independent thinking.
C. A desire to harmonize the Bible with accepted "science".

9.  A desire to be accepted.

A. In the past scientists were not allowed to study anything that didn't agree with current understanding of scripture.
B. Now we must bend our understanding to fit the current view of science.
C. Neither method is acceptable but when both the bible and the natural world are correctly understood, they will always agree.


1. Common sense is the first necessary attribute.

A. The ability to see what goes together and what does not.

1. This is needed to see the difference between Islam and Christianity.
2. No one questions this in law or medicine.

B. It was written to common man in a common language.

1. I Cor 1:26-29
2. Mark 12:35-37

2. Belief in the inspiration of the Bible.

A. Not that unbelievers can't learn anything.

1. They can learn history, prophecy and the life of Christ.
2. But their mind set is not attuned to accepting what is said.

B. The unbeliever reads out of curiosity but the believer out of a desire to find God's message to him/her.

1. John 8:30ff

3. A willingness to think.

A. It is no easier to learn the Bible than any other subject.

1. Did you learn the addition facts without work? How about the spelling rules?
2. Luke 10:38-42
3. Acts 17:11-12

B. We cannot just learn it once and say we have it.

1. I am now after 25 years trying to relearn Greek.
2. II Timothy 2:15 - 3:17

4. A desire to know and do the truth.

A. We find what we look for.

1. Have you ever had someone say to you, "How did you miss that?"
2. Luke 8:15
3. Acts 13:44ff
4. John 7:17

B. If we don't want to see we often overlook.

5. A purity of mind.

A. Some are so engrossed in their sin that they cannot see what is right in front of them.

1. II Tim 4:3-4
2. Acts 7:51-53
3. Matt 13:14-15
4. John 5:44
5. John 8:44f

B. Rom 1: 18ff

6. A good general education.

A. Education is not always trustworthy nor is it always destructive.
B. The better we understand our language and the original languages the better off we are in our quest to rightly divide the Word.
C. Logic, history, and geography are also helpful.

7. We should expect to understand God's Word.

A. If we don't expect to learn, we will not learn.

1. II Tim 3:14-16
2. Eph 3:3,4 & 8,9

B. We are responsible for our ignorance.

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