December 21, 2003
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
Make Up Your Own Mind
by Jack Northart
In our age of high technology where information is processed and distributed faster than the speed of light, it becomes necessary to stop, take a deep breath, and THINK. With so much knowledge coming at us in a very short period of time, it becomes difficult many times to determine what is bad information and what is good information. If it is new information, our mental programming many times tells us to automatically accept it as correct and true. This is a bad habit to get into, especially when it comes to studying God’s Word.
Current arguments about certain subjects in the Bible are leading the list of popular discussions in theological circles today. The best way to come to an accurate knowledge of God’s Word is to follow the instruction given in II Timothy 2:15.
II Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.
The word “study” in this verse is the Greek word spoudaz?, which means “to diligently put forth the effort.”
Another definition would be: “Giving active and watchful diligence understanding the brevity of time.” We must expend a diligent effort with God’s Word. That means if anyone makes a statement regarding God’s Word, we must take the time to work the keys in studying the Scriptures and rightly divide it for ourselves.
THINK, THINK, THINK!
Recently, a well-renown Bible teacher made a comment about a subject in the Bible off the top of his head. (Of course, this happens frequently in our society.) In this case, the audience that he was addressing was in awe of such a statement. It is doubtful that anyone there felt a need to go to the Word of God and see if what he stated was “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Again, this is a bad habit to have in one’s life. It is a bad habit because it leads to sloppy, lazy thinking which eventually leads to wrong doctrine. A person can make the Bible say anything he wants to simply by taking a verse or verses out of context. For instance, I can prove from the Word of God, that the Bible says that there is no God.
…there is no God.
Does Psalms 14:1 says that there is no God? Yes it does and I just proved it. However, what does it say in the context of this verse of Scripture?
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Oh, that’s different! No one wants to be a fool and yet this verse states that it is the fool that says in his heart that there is no God. Do you see how silly this can become? That is why it is vital that we be diligent in our study of God’s Word in order to rightly divide it. To further understand this word spoudaz?, let’s look at other words in verses that are translated from this Greek word. This way we can see the foundation upon which the related words are built.
II Peter 3:14
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent [spoudaz?] that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
As we look for this new heaven and earth, be diligent, exert an effort “… that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Let us labour [spoudaz?] therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Endeavoring [spoudaz?] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
II Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence [spoudaz?] to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Christians should exert every effort necessary to make their calling and election sure. Effort rather than speed is the prime concern.
II Peter 1:15
Moreover I will endeavour [spoudaz?] that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
Peter stated that he was going to exert every effort, meaning that he was going to give it everything he had to make sure that they could always have these things in remembrance even after Peter was deceased. And it is obvious that he did because we are reading this today.
The NBA exhibits some of the best athletes in the game of basketball. The game is played with 4 equal quarters of time. But it is amazing that in the last minute of each game, the most amount of effort is expended to win the contest. Many times when the game clock is showing only one minute left in the game, the team who is trailing in the score, can stretch out the game as much as an additional ten to twenty actual minutes by constantly stopping the game clock one way or another. Sometimes this pays off and the apparent winner becomes the loser and the apparent loser, the winner. There must be something that they do in the last minute that they fail to do during the rest of the game. That something they do is putting forth with diligence and watchfulness an extra effort because they know time is running out. This is like the word spoudaz?. It is “giving active and watchful diligence understanding the brevity of time.”
This is how we are to approach God’s Word and the things of God. We put our thoughts and our pre-conceived ideas about a subject in the Bible aside, and diligently study it in order to rightly divide it. Then we can make up our own minds whether to believe it or not.
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