Always Start With Scripture

Dr. Charles Swindoll, an occasional guest speaker when in seminary, would fill the chapel seats with students. I often took copious notes when he spoke. Though some statements have a way of sticking in your mind regardless of writing them down or not. One morning Dr. Swindoll instructed us in where we should begin in preparing to preach, teach, or write. He told us to, “always start with the Scripture.”

As Christian communicators, most would assume the Bible to be our first point of reference. Unfortunately, too often we find ourselves searching for just the right verse to match our story, experience, or illustration.

Guilty as charged!

Instead, Scripture should initiate the message we write, while illustrations and stories make it useful and relatable.

That morning, in chapel, I began to understand that Christian writing becomes inspirational when we acknowledge Scripture alone is inspired.

God’s inspired Word also creates boundaries. Those boundaries instruct us to write with integrity, authority, and accountability.

Integrity

In the book of Second Timothy, Paul encourages Timothy, and us, to remain faithful and true to Christian teachings. We seek to have our writing marked by God as approved. Our work is devoted to correctly handling the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15).

Writing whatever we want does not make it correct, writing what’s popular does not make it biblical…but writing skillfully the words of truth, God blesses. That’s the power of His Word handled correctly!

That does not mean I always understand every word or carefully placed tittle. God respects our sincere struggles as we explore His Word. Writing becomes a part of my journey with Christ. I can trust the all-knowing Savior with the outcome and destination, and so can you.

Authority

We can write with God-breathed authority. In Second Timothy 3:16 we read, “All Scripture is God breathed, and able to teach, reprove, correct, help us to live righteously.”

We write with authority when we articulate what is true, and what is not true. Scripture does both; we must too.

God grants us the freedom to write almost anything within the confines of truth and grace. Though we all know with freedom comes responsibility.

Therefore, God’s inspired Word used authoritatively demands stewardship. A calling to biblical writing, means faithful commitment in the study of God’s Word.

Accountability

My primary reason for attending seminary stemmed from believing in the importance of staying accountable to God’s Word as I pursued writing.

Lack of biblical comprehension limits our writing and influence. Our creative thoughts and ideas flow out from a box of sound doctrine and understanding.

My “box” always has need for expansion!

God’s grace covers our honest mistakes in biblical writing, but His grace does not permit irresponsibility.

So get out there, share what you know, be creative, write with integrity, authority, and accountability. And, “always start with the Scripture”!

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