August 30, 2012
The Approved Workman
2 Timothy 2:15
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In response to a another question, today we will learn how to distinguish between things that really do not matter and thing that make all the difference in your life. We will also see the great value that God places upon careful study of His Word, the Bible.
Remind them of these things and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
2 Timothy 2:14
Not Wrangle. This picturesque word “to wrangle” means to argue over vain and trifling matters. Literally, it means to fight over words. Paul used the same root word in 1 Timothy 6:4, to describe the false teachers who advocated doctrine that did not agree with the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of following the doctrine of Christ, they spent their time following a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, which gave rise to strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth. Please do not miss the point here. Paul does not discourage discussions and careful study of the Word of God, but Paul absolutely forbids a morbid interest in vain and trifling matters. False teachers always tend to focus upon the peripheral or anti-Biblical matters, instead of proclaiming and living the truths of Scripture. When anyone wrangles about words, then the hearers are ruined and the wrangling itself is useless. Remind Them. In 2 Timothy 2:14, Paul commands young Timothy to both (1) remind the believers and also (2) to solemnly charge the believers in the presence of God. Based upon all the teaching of the preceding chapter, Paul reminds and commands Timothy to be very careful to avoid wasting time on insignificant matters and controversies. From this language, we glean that Paul meant for the believers not to wrangle (“λογομαχεῖν”) about words.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Approved to God as a Workman. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul directed Timothy’s attention toward God. The point here was that Timothy must realize that he had a duty and obligation to be present himself to God as a workman. This term “to present” (“παραστῆσαι“) means to set yourself before, or stand before, as in standing for inspection or observation. Notice that Paul indicates we present ourselves before God. We do not seek the approval of men, but rather we present ourselves before God with confidence. We do not need to be ashamed (“ἀνεπαίσχυντον“), because we have no cause for shame. Think about the implication here. If we are not accurately handling the word of truth, then we will not be ready to present ourselves as a workman before God. We have not done our work diligently. You may think that merely reading your Bible now and then will be enough to satisfy God. Better rethink that idea in light of this verse. God expects all of us to read His word, and to be able to know it, so that we can use it to bless the lives of others, but ourselves first. This verse emphasizes diligence (“σπούδασον“) in reading and studying the word of God. We study the Word of God, in part, so that we can discern the errors of the false teachers. We cannot live the truth if do not handle the Word of Truth accurately. Let me remind you that the devil quoted Scripture to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:5-7). The devil did not handle the Word of God accurately, but distorted it (compare 2 Peter 3:16). As we diligently study the Word of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit we can accurately handle the truth of God. If we neglect the careful, workmanlike study of the Word of God, then we will not be ready to present ourselves to God without shame. Jesus commands us to handle His word accurately and to live the truth.
Be Diligent. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul now commands Timothy to be diligent in his study of the Word of God. Obviously, all of the New Testament had not been written at this point, although Paul’s letters were in circulation in Peter’s lifetime (2 Peter 3:14-16). Therefore, Paul was obviously directing Timothy to careful study of the Old Testament, and the letters Paul was now writing to the churches and to Timothy. We may also understand that much of the New Testament was already written by the time Paul wrote this Second Letter to Timothy. While Paul commanded Timothy to avoid disputes about words, Paul did command Timothy to be diligent in his study of the Word of God.
So we learn more about being a workman for God today.
● God commands us to be diligent in our study of the Word of God.
● God intends for us to stand before Him without shame, because we are approved workmen for God.
● God does not want us to wrangle about words, but to handle accurately the Word of Truth, so that we can discern between the vain and the profitable, and between truth and error, so we can live in Christ today.
Application for Today
As I walk through life today, I will avoid wrangling over empty words, but I want to be diligent to study the Word of Truth. I hear God commanding me to be an approved workman, accurately handling the word of truth. Before I can apply the truth and distinguish between empty talk and straight talk, I must study the Word of God with diligence. Will you be a diligent workman of the Word of Truth today?