In Richard Baxter’s work The Reformed Pastor he discusses the preachers need to “screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections.” As I read over that the phrase, “screw the truth into their minds”, Baxter’s unique wording struck me. Notice that he did not say “nail the truth” or “drive the truth”, he said “screw the truth”. I think that is intentional.
Consider the nail. A nail will go into a board with one swift blow. Even a child, with minimal labor, can plunge a nail into a board. Not so, with the screw. The screw often requires a power tool. Screws don’t go in easily; you have to laboriously twist and twist. Putting a screw into a board takes more time and more work.
A nail is easier to go in, but it is also easier to pull out. And this, is why I think Baxter said “screw the truth”. A screw does not come out quite so easy (keep in mind Baxter did not have a local Home Depot with power tools). A screw is harder to get into the board, but it is also more difficult to rip out and far more secure than a nail. Is this not the effect that we want truth to have in the minds of those we preach to?
Therefore, do the hard thing of slow, tedious, twisting and turning through long seasons of biblical teaching.
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