Preach What Word?
by Terry Broome
I’ve often been asked why I didn’t write a book – an endeavor I’ve never felt compelled to do. I like books, and benefit from books. I learned many years ago that books can be informative. I’ve benefitted from reading books by authors I happened to agree with and by authors who held different views than I hold. At least they cause me to go back to the higher source (Scripture) and rethink my position. It should be noted that some books I’ve read can be very dangerous if someone reads only that book and doesn’t go back to the Scriptures “handling aright the word of God” (2 Tim. 2:15 ASV).
Books written by mortal man are often tainted by a preconceived notion that the author sets out to prove. The books I have in mind are ones that viciously attack Bible positions held by simple people. These people might not have read the author’s latest book of analysis, but most of them had actually read the Book of books, the Bible. Poor souls! They’re painted as ignorant and unlearned because they believe that what the Lord wrote is intelligible and can (must) be understood as the Lord intended it by all who read the whole story.
We are besieged today with a fresh assortment of writers who use books as well as the internet to wage attacks on every position that differs in some way with their own. These writers remind me that truly, “There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). It appears that what a new generation of book and internet writers is doing is recycling the same negative thoughts that we were exposed to all through the 60’s and 70’s during my college years and first years of ministry. In an effort to be politically correct and totally tolerant of those with variant views, these writers are actually totally intolerant of and insulting toward those who dare to think that these writers are misguided as to what the Lord actually said on a matter.
It doesn’t bother me that someone reads a book and quotes an author. What bothers me is that some of these writers spend all their time quoting such authors and never bother to read the Book of books in depth about the subject and properly tell their audience what God said on the matter. They tell us that our “hermeneutic” is wrong. Don’t let that word scare you. It just means “how we interpret words.” In other words, we are being told that we must yield to their hermeneutic even if it creates a contradiction with Scripture.
Did you know that Jesus had a “hermeneutic”? That’s right! He was concerned about Jewish false interpretations and said to them: Matthew 19:3-4, “have ye not read….” Note what He said in Luke 10:25-26, 25 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?” In both cases, and others, Jesus pointed people back to the written record and indicated they could/should read it. It was intelligible enough to be understood and understood alike. When Jesus said “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16) I should be able to properly understand what he meant, and my reading of other passages should illustrate consistency with that passage. The Scriptures do not contradict each other if I have “rightly divided,” “handled aright,” the Sacred Word. If some don’t like the exact words as Jesus spoke them, they might say to others, “you just don’t understand what Jesus really meant.” They then proceed to give the quote an entirely different meaning than that which Jesus affirmed. That my friends is modern day theology.
When the young preacher Timothy was told to “Preach the Word,” (2 Timothy 4:2) he had already been told in 2 Timothy 2: 14-15 14 “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” So “preach the Word.” What word? The word of truth that has been handled properly, without contradictions.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.