by Wayne Douthitt
In 2 Timothy Paul encourages the young preacher Timothy to remain strong in the faith. The apostle wishes to increase the faith of this young man in view of the dark days ahead.
Therefore, he writes: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 ASV). The King James Version translates this as “study” and other translations “do your best”. The term carries a sense of urgency and carries the idea of doing things quickly. Even though the original word is much broader than “study” (KJV), it surely has this very important aspect. One of the pioneer preachers of the restoration movement, Alexander Campbell, had this to say about reading scripture: “I have endeavored to read the scriptures as though no one had read them before me, and as much on my guard against reading them today through the medium of my own views yesterday or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever…” Alexander Campbell knew that just reading scripture was not enough. He knew that it had to be handled right. He realized that many people who read their Bibles daily are the most confused about Bible subjects. And this is true today. Many people boast of their reading the Bible daily, yet are the most confused people and are steeped in error.
And so, these beginners and pioneer leaders of the restoration movement tried to establish a system of proper usage of the scriptures. In other words, the Bible rightly handled will tell us the truth. The Bible mishandled will lead to error. They developed some basic restoration principles of Bible usage:
1. Speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent.
2. A “thus saith the Lord” for every item of worship, doctrine, or organization.
3. Scriptural authorization given in three ways: command, approved example, necessary inference.
4. Study all passages given on a subject. Do not isolate passages and array them against each other
5. Consider each passage in the light of its context, historical background, and in terms of who is speaking, to whom, and in what circumstance.
Let each of us truly study our Bibles in a diligent manner, “handling aright the word of truth.”