Summary: As Christians, we are often told we must study to show ourselves Approved unto God rightly dividing the word of truth. But what if, I don’t read that well, I have bad study habits or I just don't understand what I read? Does that mean I'm not approved by God?
As Christians, we are often told, that we must study to show ourselves Approved unto God as workmen not ashamed but rightly dividing the word of truth. But, what if, as the image displays of the little boy reading his Bible, we are unable to understand what we read. What about those who don’t read that well or those can’t read at all, are they not approved of God?
2 Tim. 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The NIV translates 2 Tim. 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
The actual translation of this passage lies somewhere in between the KJV and the NIV.
The word “study” is the word sp??d??? spoudazó (spoo-dad'-zo), which means, to make haste, give diligence, be eager, be zealous; to “shew”, not “show”; which is the word, pa??st?µ? paristémi (par-is'-tay-mee); which means, to present, or come up to by presenting thyself” – unto God as one approved.
And that word approved is d???µ??, ?? dokimos (dok'-ee-mos); which means acceptably approved by having been tested.
d???µ??, ?? dokimos is used for the proving or (testing) coins, i.e. confirming they were genuine not counterfeit.
A worker ????t??, ??, ? ergatés (er-gat'-ace); meaning laborer, more specifically a field laborer.
The phrase does not need to be ashamed is one word ??epa?s???t??, ?? anepaischuntos (an-ep-ah'-ee-skhoon-tos); meaning, having no cause to be ashamed, because of having discharged your responsibility of that which is assigned.
Rightly dividing the word or correctly handling is the word ????t?µ?? orthotomeó (or-thot-om-eh'-o); which means, to cut straight, the Word or “logos”. Logos, means the inspired, expressed thoughts of God. Christ was called the “Logos” John 1 manifested in flesh.
Truth is ????e?a, a?, ? alétheia (al-ay'-thi-a). This is not merely truth as spoken; but divine truth revealed to man.
So, in correctly interpreting 2 Tim. 2:15, we see it is more accurately interoperated,
Be diligent, eager or zealous, to come up to, or present yourself before God, as a laborer, having been tested and approved, without having a cause to be ashamed, willing to discharge your Christian duty of God’s Divine truth revealed unto you.
Contrary to what many of us have been taught and told; the interpretation of 2 Tim. 2:15 has little to do with academia in terms of reading, memorizing and knowing scripture from a mental assessment point of view. This is not to say we are not read, meditate and memorize God’s Word.
I remember many years ago, I sat down and had a long conversation with a “proclaimed” Satanist. He knew scripture, chapter and verse. Could quote scriptures better than many of us. He also believed that Jesus was truly the Son of God. Because he could quote scripture, did this make him a workman not ashamed because he studied the Word of God? Obviously not.
What about BTK, he was the head deacon at his Church and he could quote scripture chapter and verse; yet, was one of the worse serial killers.
What about those who are not that academically astute?
I remember many years ago where I went to a meeting for all those wanting to start a new ministry as well-known Church I used to attend. There was this lady, who presented her ministry of feeding the homeless. She lived on a fixed income, but twice a week she would prepare meals and deliver them to the homeless. She said, “I don’t really know how to preach, I don’t even read that well, but every time I give someone a bowl of soup, I’m giving them Jesus!” I shouted Hallelujah and Amen! Fund that woman’s ministry!”
Is she not a workman, not ashamed rightly handling the word of truth?
What about Harriet Tubman, she was illiterate throughout her life. She was incapable of herself studying the word of God from an academic perspective, because she could not read. However, this did not prevent her from believing God, being led by the Spirit and dispatching her God given task, as a workman not ashamed, rightly dividing the revealed Word of truth, which led her. She was stirred, moved and lead by God to accomplish her mission of freeing slaves.
How, many slaves could not read or write, but they gave us some of the most beautiful spiritual songs and poems praising God. They also established a Christian Church community that is still thriving today.
What about Smith Wigglesworth, one of the most renown evangelist of the modern era. Throughout the majority of his ministry, he could not read or write, he was illiterate. Yet, most of the modern western world has been impacted by Wigglesworth Christian revival. It was Wigglesworth who coined the phrases, “I am not moved by what see, I am only moved by what I believe.”