2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
My first trip to Germany, in 1995, was wonderful, and on the day I arrived, I went to exchange some money. But no matter how hard I pushed on the door to the bank, it would not open, even though I was sure that the sign on the door said push. When I stepped aside to read the sign in the window, about when the bank would open, someone came out of the door, and I realized that the sign said “pull” and not “push”. Even though I had previously taken some German language classes, and I even recognized the words, I had misunderstood what the sign said.
When you learn a second language, it takes some practice to get really good at it. You may know some words in the other language, but you have to keep on developing your language skills to become proficient in the language. This is similar to what it is like when interpreting the Bible. Many people have read at least some of the Bible, but to become skilled in correctly interpreting it, we need to continue reading and studying the Bible to rightly divide, to correctly interpret, the Word of God so we are not trying to “push” when we should “pull”.
Paul told Timothy to be diligent, to make the effort, to be able to correctly interpret the Bible. Just like my problem with the German bank sign, many people misinterpret the Bible because they think they know at a glance what the Bible is saying, but they have never really taken the time to study and “rightly divide the Word of truth”. This is an area that every Christian can, and should develop in, and you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to do it. We must study God’s Word to be able to correctly interpret it.