We need to be led by the Spirit of God, to rightly divide the word of God.
Regarding the Bible, most translations fall into 2 categories.
- Literal: Those that try to take the words in the script and replace it with the closest English word/s.
- Open: Those that read a natural sentence and then rewrite it in a way that conveys the meaning.
The advantage of 1) is that it is more accurate from a scholarly point of view, but can also be hard to read as the language is not always that natural when translated. An example of this type of translation is the NASB. But these translations are better when trying to determine what certain words mean and how they are used in other scriptures. However the NASB supposedly does a pretty good job at being literal whilst keeping the language natural.
The advantage of 2) is that these translations are very easy to read and can in essence bring across the point intended quite well. The disadvantage of course is that these translations contain words that are not in the original script and can at times be we off, as they are only as good as the understanding that the translator has of the verse in the first place. Examples of this translation is the Good News and the NIV.
The Good News is not really used by serious people who study scripture, but the NIV is. The NIV is a good translation in that it is easy to read and yet is supposedly quite accurate too.
We really need to study scripture when we decide that we want to teach it. Remembering that teachers will be judged more severly than others because of the big and important responsibility we have. Bearing this in mind, I would advise that we shouldn’t all be teachers. But to those whom God has called to this ministry, I would say that we should be very careful in all that we say.
Besides the obviousness of being led by the Spirit of God in all that we do, we should have on hand a number of translations to refer to. Both literal and open. It is also a good idea to use a concordance while bearing in mind that they are not the ultimate authority and can contain errors.
All these tools are available online or in hard copy. Our home page contains pertinent links to these tools and can be a handy way to construct comments or forum posts, as you can copy and paste scriptures and definitions saving you the time or copying them.
It is written in 2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
If we are to truly learn, we first need to be pliable like wet clay. Then God can shape us and our beliefs to the image that he desires. Is this not better than shaping ourselves and listening to teachers who scratch your itchy ears.
For surely it is our job to seek out the truth in all matters, and those that love the truth are surely loved by God. Those that are led by the truth will surely be found to be true themselves and open to receive the blessings of our great God.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”. If we want to travel down the correct path and we want life eternal, then we must also be led as well as love the truth. For the Spirit of Truth has been sent into our hearts that will result in us calling out to our God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus.