by Terry Wane Benton
Confusion is present when the scriptures are not "handled aright" (II Timothy 2:15). False teachers handle the word of God "deceitfully" (II Corinthians 4:2). There are basics to handling the scriptures carefully and correctly. Know who is writing, and who they were writing to. We are reading these documents second-hand. They were not written directly to you. You must keep in mind that when Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to bring the books and parchments, that this does not apply to you. You are not instructed to bring Paul the books and parchments. When Jesus said the Spirit was going to guide "you" into all truth (John 16:13), this is said to His apostles. It was not said to you. You are looking in on the conversation Jesus had with His special eyewitnesses (John 15:26-27) "because you have been with Me from the beginning".
The twelve apostles had been with Him from the beginning of His ministry. You and I were not there, and this is not said to us. We are reading the conversation Jesus had with His apostles. The apostles were the witnesses, and we believe "through their word" and testimony (John 17:20). Because the apostles were guided into all truth by the Spirit, we have adequate eyewitness testimony. As jurors listening to the testimony, we believe in Jesus "through their word." Their testimony was supported, guided, and protected by the Holy Spirit giving them perfect recall (John 14:26) of all Jesus said to them. Jesus said nothing directly to us. He spoke to the apostles, and the Holy Spirit helped them recall all of what Jesus said to them. Handling aright the scriptures demands that we not misapply the conversation Jesus had with the apostles, and apply it to ourselves. We were not promised to be given a perfect recall of Jesus' words. We were not told to wait in Jerusalem until we are endued with power from on high. We were not told that the Spirit would guide us into all truth or that we are the witnesses of Jesus.
We are secondary jurors of the testimony preserved in these New Testament documents. There are principles we learn from this testimony, but confusion exists where people claim the same guidance of the Holy Spirit as was promised to the twelve apostles. You do not have the same function as the apostles. We no longer have living apostles because their testimony was fully revealed, confirmed, and adequate testimony to all ages of time moving from that time forward. We believe in Jesus "through their word." The Spirit gave them perfect recall and guided them into all truth. Now we can read that truth and know what they knew (Ephesians 3:3-5). You are not one of the twelve eyewitnesses. You are not sent and equipped in the same way as they were. Read the scriptures and learn how to "handle aright the word of truth." Everything stated or commanded of someone else, is not necessarily a statement and command to you. You may learn universal principles from this testimony. There are universal truths revealed and universal principles, but every statement made to someone else is not a statement made to you. Keep that in mind as you learn to handle aright the word of truth.