As I was growing up, one of the Bible verses “drilled” into my mind and heart was II Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that neededth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
To type such a verse drives the “spellcheck” crazy. It does not recognize Old English; but that is how we learned it, straight from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. Of course in the 50’s we were already making fun of words like “shew”; we were just too educated for these old words…or so we believed. Nevertheless, the words stuck, and so did the lessons. And we learned the context, too. It was important to our teachers and our “Sword Drill” monitors that we understood what we were memorizing. The NIV is different. The New International Version presents the verse as follows: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” The KJV kicks me along a little harder.
There is something about “study” (now that I am older) that reminds me of another verse set to music “I ain’t gon’ study war no more.” That verse really gives me a motivation to “do my best”. Likewise, I prefer “approved unto God” (KJV) rather than merely “one approved” (NIV), even though it is clear in the NIV that it is God Who is the Judge. But then there comes that final phrase: “Rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV) I cannot get that one out of my head. I need to know how to divide the word of truth, especially when I am wielding my sword (Bible).
Did you ever participate in “Sword Drills”? I don’t know when they went out of style…or if they did. Occasionally I will see a kid on YouTube who has mastered some of the basics of what we were once masters (in our own estimation, not in the view of others and certainly not to God) of the Scripture. We had a measure of Biblical Literacy before people were even talking about it. Then came along my predecessor, Roger N. Carstensen, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt) who coined the phrase and inaugurated the movement among many to “Help Stamp Out Biblical Illiteracy.”
Roger did his part. We are doing our best to do ours. No, I didn’t say that correctly: We are STUDYING to STAMP OUT BIBLICAL LITERACY.
Christian College of Georgia and the Mission for Biblical Illiteracy have employed two key resources to help us all do this; we are about to add a third. The pricing of the new one is a little higher, but frankly with a 76% discount on most courses it is not actually THAT much more expensive. Any courses you complete can easily be included in your “Course of Study” or “Curriculum” for the certification you have selected.
Always available: Bob Harris, President. 770-815-9078 EST