Rightly Handling God’s Word

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  – 2 Timothy 2:15

Martin Luther is often identified as one who argued for the right of individual Christians to interpret the Bible for themselves. In large measure, this is correct. After all, Luther himself stood firm on the doctrine of justification by faith alone because he was convinced by his reading of Scripture that the doctrine was true even when much of the medieval church disagreed….

Luther is also famous for translating the Bible into German so that laypeople could read it or at least understand it when it was read to them. He and the other Reformers did not believe the Bible was a closed book available only to the scholarly elite and the clergy but was rather the possession of all Christians.

Luther and the other Protestant Reformers, however, did not believe that Christians had the right in their private interpretation of Scripture to interpret it incorrectly. The doctrine of sola Scriptura does not mean that Christians are to pay attention only to their personal understanding of the Bible or that we can make the Scriptures mean whatever we want them to mean. After all, Martin Luther is often quoted as saying, “The Holy Spirit is no skeptic.” The meaning of Scripture is not so uncertain that we can all come up with our own views and never know the truth. … View article →