The Bible is the road map for believers to discover all that pertains to Christian living. It is the road map to growth and maturity. Studying the bible is a hard job but needed for God’s approval. It is the yard stick for judgment of every intent or behavior.
A story was told of a farmer who decides to be lazing about sleeping while other farmers go about planting and weeding their farms. When it was time for harvest he reaped shame as his farm was covered with weeds with nothing to show as farm produce. Nobody purposefully plan to be ashamed, but all believers that do not see the need to take the Bible seriously and handle it correctly have already planned to be ashamed. Paul as a good mentor charged Timothy a pastor to correctly handle God’s word.
Topic for consideration today is taken from 2Tim.2:15. “Study to show yourself approved unto God” Following are various ways different versions renders the word:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV)
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing (rightly handling, and skillfully teaching) the word of truth” (Amplified)
“Work hard so God can approve you, Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth”(NLT).
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”(NKJV)
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”(NIV)
From all of these and some other definitions, study may mean ‘to work hard’, ‘be diligent’, ‘to do your best’ to examine, learn, look carefully, investigate, etc the Word of God. This is a command from Apostle Paul not only to Timothy but to all believers.
Believers as Labourers or workman
Timothy was to do his best to be sure to win God’s approval. This entails not been idle, making sure he was zealous in the work of the master. In Matt20:1,8 Like the land owner-God did, calling people to his work so also God is calling believers at different times into his harvest. At salvation, you and I said yes I will now work for you no longer for the devil. We made agreement with Him, for a reward. You and I cannot judge or determine how, why, and when the reward would be.
Do your best, work hard, be diligent, to present yourself approved- accepted, of standard for a workman. Imagine at the close of time, one of the labourers refuse to do anything, will the master pay him? Or if one did not do the work to the satisfaction of the land owner, what will happen?
Why must believers work hard on self?
- To know yourself more. 2 To know God more. 3. To know God’s word more. 4. To be approved of God. 5. To be a good worker. 6. To be someone who correctly handles God’s word. 7. To be someone who needs not to be ashamed.
Knowing yourself is a way to help you realize your potential in God. Am I called First and second? The first call is to follow; the second one is to be discipled and trained. This implies that an ideal Christian teacher receives two calls a call to follow and a call to serve. He should be sure after his first call if he is called unto the teaching ministry. Then I have a mandate to tell others about my experience of and in God. As Christians all of us have a responsibility “to teach others, especially those under our roof, to chastise, exhort, convert and edify them. Christians have the responsibilities to teach by speaking the word of truth and thereby influencing others to tread the path of righteousness.
Knowing God more – This should be the desire of any believer. Paul said that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.
To know God’s Words more- Paul commanded Timothy study to show yourself approved unto God. To be approved of God means you are weighed and you are up to standard, not wanting in any area. It implies you are a good worker who is to be paid or rewarded by his master; it means you correctly handle God’s word, teaching and preaching the undiluted Word free of corruption and human manipulations. Paul told Timothy in 2Tim.1:8 not to be ashamed to testify of the Lord and of him his prisoner. Are you ashamed of the gospel of Christ? If yes, He will be ashamed of you and you will be ashamed in his presence v.12. We will not be ashamed in Jesus name
How can believers be approved workman?
You and I may be approved by working to standard, working according to rule. Using the right tools for the work and using it rightly. The Bible is the believers’ tool. Psal 119:11, studying leads to hiding God’s word through meditation, Psalm 1:2
To study means to look at carefully- setting aside a time to examine the meaning literal and its application, to investigate-like the Berrean Christians in Acts.17:11 Noble > decent, righteous, good, self-sacrificing When a believer study God’s word very well, he/she would have right meaning and interpretation. He/she then becomes more righteous, more decent, better behaved person etc this will help him to discover when the counterfeit gospel is presented to him/her.
Marks of a good workman
- Does not fall into godless and foolish discussion 2Tim2:16-18
- Do not wander away from path of truth in preaching lie v.18
- He is not wicked and he is known by God as his property vs.19
- He/she becomes a vessel useful to the master vs.20-21
Study to show yourself approved unto God was a command from Paul to Timothy and is a command to all believers today. To those who desire to be approved unto God and who would not want to be ashamed in his appearing, It is a command to be taken seriously. We need to really do our best to know and disburse the right word of truth; not only for the sake of ourselves not to be ashamed but for the sake of those who hear us.