Wednesday, November 17, 2004

SHAME ON YOU. On Sunday, we had a guest speaker who was a missionary. It was missions Sunday. He began his talk by reading Habakkuk 1:5. It says “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told.”

He then said that scripture was fulfilled in the current missions activity and went on to describe things going on in missions in Asia.

The problem is, he misapplied the text. One clue should have been the words “in your days”, meaning in the days of Habakkuk and his contemporaries, not now. If that did not clue you in, you could read the next verse, that explains the astonishing thing God was doing: raising up the Babylonians to conquer the Jews.

I know the man was not attempting an exegesis of the scripture, but that is no justification for misapplying it. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” If we mishandle God’s word, we should be ashamed.

Every teacher and preacher has a duty to faithfully present the Word accurately. That means taking the meaning in context, not stretching the meaning to fit your personal agenda, and not omitting anything because it is difficult. Paul tells us that teachers will be judged more harshly than others. All of us who teach should think of that every time we prepare a lesson or sermon.

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