On Sharp Chains and Swords

Today was in the 50’s, overcast, a tiny bit drizzly and very calm.  It was a perfect fall day for cutting firewood.  I fired up my old trusty chainsaw and went to the woodpile.  I labored through the first log and started on the second when my brain said, “This is stupid.  The chain is dull and I have a new chain in the garage.”   A few minutes later with the new chain installed the logs just melted into pieces.  Tasks are so much easier when one has the right tool in good condition.  My father-in-law used to tell me that a dull knife is a dangerous knife.  I discovered that is also true about people.

In Ephesians 6 Paul talks about the necessity of taking up the “Sword of the Spirit” which is the Word of God.  Having a sharp “Sword” is very important.  How often have we been confronted by well-meaning people with dull swords?  They know one or two texts and care not for the context from which they tore them.  It is impossible to rightly understand a text if one does not answer the following questions.  1. Who wrote it?  2. To whom were they writing? 3. What issue were they addressing? 4. Does this have a universal application or was it meant for a time or place in history that has changed.  Times do change.  I was born in the 1940s.  That was a different planet from now.

Good study habits with a prayerful attitude will, with the promised help of the Holy Spirit, enable us to have sharp swords.  We will be able to understand and rightly address modern day issues.  God’s Word is eternal.  It is for all time.  But we must be careful where we slice!

Written by Roger Bothwell on Oct. 1 2014

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