Summary: How much of the Bible is a normal christian supposed to know? The standard for all of us is a skilled workman. There are several basic skills we should all have as beleivers.
Handling the Bible Skillfully
Janet and I love the Colonial period of time. I read about it regularly, both about the Revolutionary War and the period leading up to and immediately after the writing and adoption of the Constitution. I love studying the war and the incredible victory won under the heroism of the common man and the leadership of George Washington.
The politics and adoption of the Constitution appeals to the lawyer in me. It is fascinating the process of developing and adopting the document which encapsulated and made law the beliefs and philosophies that created America. I love to study the way the faith of our forefathers guided them in this journey. We truly were founded on a belief in Almighty God and on a Judeo-Christian worldview.
Janet and I also love to study the culture. We love the homes and how they lived and decorated. We have a lot of Colonial period influence in how we decorated our home. In December, we went Williamsburg for the second time because we just love it. It is a beautiful city. During our wanderings in Colonial Williamsburg, we visited the carpenter’s shop. We watched as three skilled craftsman used the original tools to hand-craft several breathtaking pieces of furniture. It is amazing to conceive of the fact that they used tools which we would find crude and by hand, by candle and window light, made pieces of furniture which still exist today and we still buy today.
Only in watching someone with this skill do you truly appreciate the talent it requires. In watching them work, you also begin to think about what it takes to develop such skill. We asked one young man about his journey. He had been doing for 20 years. He looked younger than me. He described the apprentice process and his work experience there in Colonial Williamsburg. I was even more impressed after learning the dedication required to become a skilled craftsman.
It also made our scripture for this morning come alive. Please turn again to II Timothy 2:15. Let’s read it together.
The Bible clearly uses a word picture similar in experience to our journey through this Colonial workshop. The command of scripture is that we are to study so diligently that we can pass the same test and evaluation that would allow someone to become certified as a master carpenter. That is the clear teaching of this passage. The beauty of God’s ability as a teacher is His ability to be so very clear. This word picture is simple and easy to understand. We are commanded to present ourselves to God as a master skilled craftsman.
Can you do that? Can you honestly say that you handle God’s word with such skill? Can you say that you have put in the diligent effort to develop such specific skills that you handle God’s word and apply it in your life with the skill of a master carpenter?
This morning I would like to define for you what I believe those basic skills are. I want you to be able to honestly know where you are and what you need to know in order to be able to stand before God with integrity and confidence. I love you enough to want for you the privilege of standing before our heavenly Father and hearing Him say to you, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Let’s review briefly from last week’s introduction to this verse why we should make this type of commitment. First, because of Lordship. This verse is a command: “Be diligent.” We are commanded to study God’s word and it is sin to not do so on a consistent, or diligent, basis. Second, because of Love. The verse says “unto God.” Does He demand this because He is a cruel taskmaster? No He asks it of us because He loves us and this is the way we get to know Him and His love for us. He loves us and wants us to know how much He loves us. You can only build your relationship with God by time in prayer and the Word. Thirdly, because of Life. The life lessons necessary for us to live properly and in a manner pleasing to Him are found only in His word. This verse gives us the standard of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
B. Basic Bible skills:
The first basic principle of being a skilled workman is to have the basic skill sets necessary to work properly. This means we must be diligent to learn how to handle our tool – the Bible. Here are 4 basic skills necessary:
Handling the Bible
Reading the Bible Properly
Basic search skills for finding answers
First, you should be able to use your tool the Bible. Can you find the books of the Bible? Without the table of contents? Can you find scriptures readily?