2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I. Study for Approval
STUDY – to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence
It is not easy!
- Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
APPROVED – accepted, pleasing, acceptable
Illustration: In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved”.
– Donald Barnhouse
We study in order to not cut corners.
We don’t want to lack the integrity to not know what we believe.
We don’t want to profess something but not even appreciate the value of it enough to study it.
God left you a love letter. Have you read it? Are you familiar with it?
ILLUSTRATION: According to James Hamilton, there are two kinds of Bible readers–those who skim the surface and those who dig deep. He describes them by comparing them to two common insects. He writes, “One is remarkable for its imposing plumage, which shows in the sunbeams like the dust of gems; as you watch its jaunty gyrations over the fields and its minuet dance from flower to flower, you cannot help admiring its graceful activity, for it is plainly getting over a great deal of ground.
“But in the same field there is another worker, whose brown vest and businesslike, straightforward flight may not have arrested your eye. His fluttering neighbor darts down here and there, and sips elegantly wherever he can find a drop of ready nectar; but this dingy plodder makes a point of alighting everywhere, and wherever he alights he either finds honey or makes it. If the flower-cup be deep, he goes down to the bottom; if its dragon- mouth be shut, he thrusts its lips asunder; and if the nectar be peculiar, he explores all about till he discovers it. . . His rival of the painted velvet wing has no patience for such dull and long-winded details. . . The one died last October. The other is warm in his hive, amidst the fragrant stores he has gathered.” Which type of Bible reader are you? Butterfly or bee?
II. Study so you won’t be Ashamed – a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
- 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
- Psalms 119:46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
- Psalms 119:80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
ILLUSTRATION: The great preacher Alexander White, when he was too old to mount the pulpit, would rise every morning to prepare a sermon, even though he never preached them. He did so until the day he died. He was convinced that study of the Word was essential to saving himself – 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
III. Study for Accuracy – rightly dividing the word of truth.
RIGHTLY DIVIDE: to cut straight, to cut straight ways
ILLUSTRATION: Bankers don’t study counterfeit money. They study, handle and learn to count real money. When they touch a counterfeit, they recognize it for what it is.
To recognize error, you must study truth.
- Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
- 9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
- 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
- 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
- 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
- 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…