The goal of rightly interpreting scripture is to rightly apply it. Right application of the word is the purpose of rightly understanding it. In the same way, to falsely interpret scripture will produce a wrong application. If we are going to be good interpreters of the word it is vital we are balanced, that we recognize there is two sides to the truth. In other words, truth is often paradoxical in nature. This is why I believe 2 Timothy 2:15 speaks of rightly dividing the word of truth. The visual I get from that, is to divide the word in two pieces, and then draw a straight line between the two.
In all things we are dependent on Gods grace, but we need to recognize the difference between what is our responsibility, what God has entrusted to us to do, with what is God’s and not ours. Confusion in these two areas is what gets us into trouble. When we don’t know the difference between what is ours and what is Gods to do.
It is ours to preach Gods word and to be faithful in its delivery, to be good stewards with what God has given us. The great commission has been entrusted to the church, in evangelism and making disciples. The Lord has promised to be with us even to the end of the age as we obey His word, a reminder that even with our responsibilities, God supplies the grace for us to be able to do it.
There are two extremes that need to be avoided in doing Gods work. The first is waiting on God to do it all, a product of hyper-Calvinism. The idea that everyone’s gonna come in anyway, so why even evangelize? It is a neglect or the loss of the means that God uses to achieve His purposes. To state the absurdity of this extreme, Why pray? Why preach? Why teach? This position caters to neglect and laziness and disobedience.
The second extreme is trying to perform Gods role. This is when we try and make results happen in our own power, where Preachers in a high pressurized sense, manipulate people for a decision, because it is results driven, guilt is often used to try and force the result. It is God who gives the increase, not us. We sow, we water, but it is God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. Regeneration is the work of God not the work of a man. Where the means are present, the preaching of Gods word, the prayers of Gods people, the work of God will be present. So to conclude, we are to be faithful, but its God doing the work.