Approved or Ashamed?
2 Timothy 2:15
One of the great temptations of the busy believer is to stop studying the Bible. The modern believer finds himself with so many resources that it becomes easy to evolve into a mode where we spend most of our time reading about the bible and less and less time actually studying God’s word itself, systematically and consistently.
Paul admonishes young Timothy, and us, at this point saying, "Be diligent (i.e., study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." In this single verse, there are four important truths to be applied to our own study habits.
The Believer's Mandate
The Authorized Version translates this command to "be diligent" with the word, "study." We are to be diligent, zealous about the task of studying God’s word. Paul is challenging all believers to take very serious their personal study habits. The Bible is a miracle book, one in which study never ends.
The Believer's Motivation
What is it that should motivate the believer to a lifetime of studying the Scriptures? It is so that when he is presented before the Lord Jesus, he might be "approved" by Him. The discipline of study is a stewardship from God and the believer should be motivated by a passionate longing to please the Lord, to hear Him say, "Well done, faithful servant."
The Believer's Manner
What is the manner by which we should go about our task of study? We are to be workers who “need not be ashamed.” Study is hard work. Doing word studies is laborious. Getting out our work tools of commentaries, Bible dictionaries and lexicons is labor intensive. We are reminded that we are about the “work of the ministry” as Paul mentioned to the Ephesians. The dedicated believer is to be a “worker” who devotes himself to a wholehearted study of God's Word.
The Believer's Message
All of this is to be done in order that we might "rightly divide the word of truth." We should approach the Bible with a deep reverence, even a fear that we might mishandle or misrepresent the truth. We should take caution against using every paraphrase we might find in order to twist the truth into our own way of thinking about a matter. This is a serious assignment.
Think about it…we are God's "workers." We will either be "approved" or "ashamed" when we stand before Him. This is our high calling and awesome task.