Today's guest is editor, novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery.
By Jennifer Slattery
By Jennifer Slattery
It’s one thing to sense the call to write; it’s another to follow through and follow through well. And while it’s true one doesn’t need a theological degree in order to write quality material, be it fiction, Christian living, or devotionals, we must take care to represent Christ well. This is true for any believer in any field but exponentially so for one entrusted with the written word.
Books have the power to change the culture, for good or bad, and regardless of what we write, our theology comes through. For this reason, it’s imperative that we “Do [our] best to present [ourselves] to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the truth of God” (2 Timothy 2:15).
All truth is God’s truth. In other words, Scripture speaks to every situation, every theme—absolutely every word we pen, and God’s purpose in all creation is to point humanity to Him.
“The Word of God reveals the God of the Word; and servants must know the Master if we are to serve Him acceptably.” ~Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God.
To put it simply, we must know someone fully in order to represent Him well.
Laziness is not an excuse for ignorance. As writers, we spend a great deal of time learning the craft. We read books on story development and marketing, take classes on blogging, but often approach the Word of God as if we’ve already mastered it. Worse, as if our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions have precedence over God’s intent.
We do this whenever we rely more on our feelings on a subject, verse, or passage than the context with which it’s written. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “cherry picking” in relation to Scripture. This is when someone lands on a verse, has an instant reaction, and then uses that reaction as their source of truth rather than taking the time to prayerfully evaluate what they’re reading.
I think most of us would agree, God is the author of Scripture, and He preserved each Word with an intended message in mind. We will likely never be able to discern God’s intended meaning perfectly every time this side of heaven, but we should do our best to try.
To put it simply, when dealing with Scripture, we must ask ourselves some key questions:
What precisely is this verse talking about?
The only way we’ll know this is to read the verse in context, interpreting it in light of the entire passage, the entire chapter, the entire book, and the Bible as a whole.
What does this verse actually say?
There are countless Bible translations out there, and each differ in their approach. Some lean towards paraphrases and others toward direct word-for-word translations. When writing, it’s tempting to choose the translation that best fits our argument, but when we do that, we aren’t acting as Christ’s ambassadors. Rather, we’re representing ourselves while misrepresenting Christ.
We can use a concordance or an online Lexicon to discover, then read the definitions of the original Hebrew or Greek words used. Note, the word used in the verse won’t mean everything in its definition. Just as numerous English words have multiple meanings depending on context, so it is with Greek and Hebrew words.
If we’re still unsure, we can click on “commentaries” and read what biblical scholars have to say about the verse and passage.
These tools are readily available to everyone, and it doesn’t take an advanced degree to read and apply Scripture in this way. But by taking a few moments to interpret Scripture as it was intended, to the best of our ability, we will be better able to represent the God we serve, and lives will necessarily be impacted.
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/surasakiStock/pazham.)
Editor, novelist, and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and is the managing and acquisitions editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit with Jennifer at www.JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte
Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She's almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband's incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?