Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Precision or Sincerity in Preaching?

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God
as a workman who does not need to be ashamed,
accurately handling the word of truth. 
II Timothy 2:15

Notice that Paul did not say, "sincerely handling the word of truth."  Sincerity is important, surely, but not at the expense of accuracy.  The first goal of the preacher/expositor in his study of the Scripture should be accuracy.  He should have the desire to be precise in his exegesis of the text, for precision in exegesis leads to clarity in understanding, clarity in understanding leads to accuracy in interpretation, accuracy in interpretation leads to proper application; and proper application leads to a life that bears rich fruit and is well pleasing to God because it properly aligns with His word.  Making the Scripture say less or more than it actually says ultimately leads us away from the truth, regardless of the sincerity of our intentions.  When we are led away from the truth because we have not been precise in handling the truth, then what we are preaching is not the word of truth, again, regardless of the sincerity of our intentions.  To paraphrase an old adage, "One can be sincere, and sincerely wrong at the same time."  

Fellow pastors, and fellow Christians, let us endeavor to be sincere in our quest for accuracy and precision in our study of the word of God.   Let us be sincerely right, so that we will never be ashamed of our handling of the word of truth.

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