Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-19
In the midst of false teaching and false interpretations of God’s Word, Paul challenges Timothy to be a workman, who is approved unto God, not ashamed and rightly dividing the word of truth.
The English Standard Version translates 2 Timothy 2:15 as, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved [“one approved after being tested”], a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
It is Timothy’s responsibility to live in such a way that God approves of him. To receive this approval he must work hard to understand and interpret God’s word correctly. The words, “Do your best” [‘spoudazö’ – Greek] mean to be zealous, prompt. K.S. Wuest says, “The word speaks of intense effort and determination. The most beneficial study of God’s Word requires diligence and perseverance, but the results are worth the effort.
“God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul. All nature is arrayed against the lounger and the idler. The nut is hidden in its thorny case; the pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves; the gold is imprisoned in the rocky bosom of the mountains; the gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it; the very soil gives its harvest as a reward to the labouring farmer. So truth and God must be earnestly sought.”[A. B. Simpson, Founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance]
The word, “rightly dividing” comes from a compound Greek word that means to cut straight. It is used of the farmer who ploughs a straight furrow or the seamstress who sows a straight seam. In order to lead God’s people in a straight path, and not be side tracked by other voices, we must have a right understanding of God’s Word. This is appropriate not just for leaders, but for Christians who need to rightly discern God’s truth in order to be able to recognise and stand against that which is false.
The word “approved,” is the same word that is used of metals that go through a process of testing and purifying before they are approved. Peter speaks of gold being tried by fire, and likens it to the trial of our faith [see 1 Peter 1:7]. It is the right understanding of God’s Word that keeps us on a straight path and from being side tracked. As our faith is purified through those trials and we stand firm on God’s word, we are approved by God.
Why is diligent and zealous study so important if we are to walk in the truth of God’s Word?
What is the biggest hindrance to interpreting God’s Word correctly?
Have you personally ever dug deeply into God’s Word and discovered a gem of revelation that has really blessed and strengthened you? What was the gem that you discovered?