Summary: If you study the Word just for knowledge then you need to reconsider. Study to show yourself approved by learning to trust God’s Word.
October 21, 2007
Text: 2 Timothy 2:15
Title: Why Do We Study the Word of God?
There are things in this life that people tend to shy away from. One is political debate. Nobody wants to talk about politics because it always leads to heated discussion that ends up in voices raised and feelings hurt. Another reason we tend to avoid those discussions is that to be effective in presenting your political view you really need to be well versed on what it is that you are discussing – politics. And not too many people desire to know enough about the issues to present a clear and persuasive argument for your belief.
The other thing that people don’t want to talk about is the Bible. Don’t you hear people say that they have their own belief and you have yours so let’s just get along? What that really is saying is that my denomination or my belief is different than yours but don’t ask me to give a clear statement of what I believe because I really don’t know. Most people don’t know what their denomination believes in. That’s why I like to do a series about every 18 months about why we believe what we believe. I think it is important for you to be able to look at our statement of fundamental truths and have an understanding of what it is you profess to believe. Now, having said that, we know that there are many doctrinal differences between denominations. Most of those differences come from traditions instead of biblical theology. So when people say they don’t want to talk about the Bible, what they are really saying is I don’t want to get in an argument about denominational differences. That’s OK with me! I just want to talk about the Bible. But people still get a little nervous when you want to do that. I think in a lot of cases it is because certain denominations don’t have a lot of biblical theology to back up their beliefs. They have tradition theology but not too much Bible based theology. Others just don’t know enough about the Bible to get in a discussion, so it is easier to just avoid confrontation and discussion than to try to argue with nothing to back you up.
I want to read to you a verse from three different translations today and then we want to break it down to see what it has to say about biblical knowledge.
KJV - 15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
NKJV - 15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
NIV - 15Do 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.
Now as we enter in to this time of worship I want you to open your minds to receive – not to receive information to back up an argument – but to receive what God is really saying to you through this passage and this message.
I. STUDYING GOD’S WORD The first thing we want to look at today is the command that is set before us. 15Study… Be diligent… Do your best… What is your purpose for studying the word? Psalm 119:11, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Verse 105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. In this context study is given as a defensive procedure to keep you from sin or straying from God’s path. That’s not a bad reason to study is it? Strong’s Concordance says that the Greek word means, to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest:—do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study. Hebrews 6 encourages and warns Christians about study or the lack of study, 1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. There are basic things that every Christian should know by now (except for very new Christians and they should quickly learn the basics) and they should be moving forward in their Christian walk. Go back to Hebrews 5, 11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. So if you have been a Christian for any length of time you should be at the point in your walk where you can teach others the basics. That is one of the elements of producing fruit in your life. The fruit of your study will produce other Christians. You don’t study so you can win arguments – you study so you can win souls to Christ. So far I have focused on study as the KJV says. But let’s look at the others words from the NKJV and NIV – Be diligent… Do your best… Diligent means to be hard working or industrious. Listen, nobody ever said study would be easy, but it is necessary. Don’t just work hard – do your best. I have worked around a lot of different tradesmen in the construction field. I have seen people who wouldn’t work and I have seen people who should have stayed home. They worked but at the end of the day there wasn’t much to show for it. As a matter of fact there was one fellow who was my age, but he was a burned out drug addict, who made so many mistakes that at the end of the day he often spent as much time tearing down as he did building up. You can be diligent without doing your best. So the whole concept of the word translated as study is to work hard and be the best you can be in what God has called you to be. 2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Now having said that let’s move on to the next point.