Summary: "Study" is an INDIVIDUAL matter for every believer; for our OWN GOOD: That we may be APPROVED of God; that we may be workmen that NEED NOT be ashamed; that we may learn to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth.
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The last epistle of Paul, 2nd Timothy, before being beheaded. His parting words. What would ours be? Of course they are important. He reminded Timothy (and us – all believers) of some IMPORTANT things: his faith, the Gospel, hold fast, be strong, and endure; to teach others NOT to give his time/effort to VAIN discussions, which will subvert (cause the downfall, corrupt, destroy or weaken the faith of other believers) hearers (v14).
How many conversations among brethren, in church, in Bible colleges and seminaries are “profitless?” Questions like: How long was Jesus’ hair? If a person living in the jungle never hears the Gospel what becomes of him? What was Paul’s infirmity of the flesh? What sins can a Christian do before God takes him home to heaven? How many hours were the creation days? Does “day” mean a 24 hour day? Is the shroud of Turin real?
Where is the profit in these questions? What do they do to a brother or sister who is weak in the faith?
Once a SEED (or fiery DART) has been planted in our minds, sometimes it grows until it starts to weaken our faith, like a cancer. Paul said they are ANTI-GOD, which causes us to go away from God instead of closer. We think there is some special, secret knowledge that will make us “smarter” than everyone else. I’m smart. . . just like the Garden of Eden (Ge 3:4-5): And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
This is the root cause, PRIDE. As humans, we want to be “special” and be “wise.” But, we spend so much of our time on vain discussions. If you want to be wise, FEAR the Lord (Pr 9:10)!
Look at Hymaneus and Philetus in (v18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. They were VICTIMS of conversation (germ seed) that GREW (a canker) into ERROR, and they in turn were talking to / teaching others.
Paul spent a lot of time in his travels refuting ERRORS, BAD DOCTRINE, and FALSE TEACHING. People were listening to the PRIDE of other people, their “secret” knowledge, and becoming victims of error and eventually losing their faith.
The Bible tells us:
Col 2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you with vain philosophy
*Ep 4:14 – Be not as children being tossed by the winds of doctrine
1Ti 4:1 – Many shall fall away giving heed to false doctrines
Ac 20:29-30 – Deceiving people to follow them
Ph 3:2 – Evil workers who deceive others into a false Gospel
Rev – People adding to or taking away from Scripture (it is commonly reported that seminary professors in the U.S. correct the Bible)
Brethren, what shall we do?! How can we protect ourselves!?
He 6:1 – After saved, move on!
Ep 4:14 – Do not be children …
2Pe 3:18 – Grow!
There is only ONE way that we will be able to MOVE ON, to MATURE, and to GROW . . . STUDY the WORD of GOD.
In 2Timothy 2:15, the Lord tells us to STUDY!
I would like to briefly look closer at this verse this morning. WHY study? It’s written in the verse:
To be approved of God
To NOT be ashamed
To rightly divide the Word of Truth
Let’s look at each:
Study means LABOR. Why labor in the Word?
1. To “show thyself approved unto God.” Notice the word THYSELF. Who is supposed to study? So often believers we go to church and listen to the speaker, without checking if what they say is SCRIPTURAL. How many cult leaders have led people astray because they were not “studying” for themselves? Thus, this command is personal, to every believer.
Furthermore, we are to study so that we may be APPROVED of God. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25? What did the Lord say to the servants who doubled their talents? He said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” This was an approval.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that every believer is saved/born again to do WORKS (or a ministry). God saved you and wants to put you to work. So, each of us has a JOB to do.
Don’t many office jobs have job responsibilities? Don’t workers have a boss who tells them what to do? But, how do you know what the Lord would have you to do if you aren’t studying the Bible? How do you know God’s BASIC WILL for your life you are not “studying” the BIBLE? You can’t. And that’s why we need to study, so that we can be “approved of God.”