Jun 21st, 2020
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 83 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we are going to be talking about studying the scripture.
By and large, the books of First and Second Timothy are written by the Apostle Paul to a young church pastor named Timothy. Using the text in context we would then apply the teachings of these books to those with aims to be pastors of churches or ministers in the field. However, in today’s culture it’s difficult to find a Christian who isn’t ready, willing, and eager to, temporarily at least, take up the mantle of pastor or minister and teach those around them what they think the Bible teaches whether they’ve taken the time to actually study the information in question or not. Given this, I find it appropriate to generally use the teachings from Paul to Timothy today.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 CSB we read, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” Or another translation (KJV) reads, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We have no end of translations to choose from though, another translation (AMP) reads, “Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.” And another (MSG), “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple.”
So which one of these is correct? They all use different wording. Which translation accurately expresses Paul’s teaching to Timothy in this verse? The simple answer is that they all are correct. Each of these translations are acceptable and correct translations into English of the Greek words that Paul wrote to Timothy. As English speakers some times some of us complain that English isn’t specific enough and lacks the precise detail that would be nice to have. Namely when I say sometimes, some people, I mainly mean myself and people that I have discourse with. And when I say sometimes I mean pretty often. Unfortunately, we can find this same issue in other languages as well. Now, not as much as in English, but we do still find these issues. It’s partially for this same reason that we need to heed the teaching of 2 Timothy 2:15.
As Christians, and especially for those Christians who feel it’s their inescapable duty to teach Biblical principles to those around them, it’s important that we do our best to diligently study the scriptures. For our purposes let’s focus in on two of the words in this scripture. The first is the Greek word translated as be diligent, study, and concentrate in the translations from earlier. It is the Greek word:
G4704 σπουδάζω spoudazō spoo-dad'-zo From G4710; to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest: - do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.
On face value, you might find yourself after reading the translations above with headphones on and a highlighter in your hand with your Bible and a notebook for notes in front of you thinking that you’re doing what this scripture is teaching. But, there’s obviously so much more to the sentiment of the Greek word than to just say study, and without doing the research into the scriptures and its context within the larger Biblical scope, it’s likely that you would miss the intent and therefore value of the scripture.
The second word we’ll look at is the Greek compound word translated as correctly teaching, rightly dividing, accurately handling, and laying out in the translations from earlier. It’s the Greek compound:
G3718 ὀρθοτομέω orthotomeō or-thot-om-eh'-o From a compound of G3717 and the base of G5114; to make a straight cut, that is, (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): - rightly divide.
The real takeaway there is that it’s your responsibility not just to read and memorize the text of a translation, but to consider the message within the larger context of scripture. If you read the text of the Bible and your personal takeaway is based off of what this preacher or that minister teaches about the Bible and not your own personal experience in the scriptures then you are doing it wrong.
It’s very important to cross-reference your reading to other scriptures and listen to that still, small voice of The Holy Spirit deep inside. Just a word of caution right quick, lots of people have gone way off track thinking they were following the voice of The Lord when it was really just their own subconscious, their own inner voice that they mistook for the voice of The Holy Spirit. When you feel like you’ve heard something from The Lord you need to look for scriptures that can confirm the validity of what you’ve heard. It might not be word for word, but it should be able to confirm the spirit of or the idea of. It shouldn’t contradict what’s in the Biblical text. And it wouldn’t hurt to run what you feel that you’ve heard by one or more fellow Christians that you respect. Other than the obvious issue that springs from the problem of mistaking the voice of The Lord of leading others, astray. You’ll have your own issues to deal with.
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 CSB Paul writes, “ According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it.  For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,  each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.  If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will experience loss, but he himself will be saved – but only through fire.”
At the judgment, or “the day” as Paul calls it in 1 Corinthians 3, we will answer for what we’ve done, said, thoughts we’ve entertained, and the long-felt effects on the world of all of that. If you’ve acted on theology propped up by man that isn’t supported by scripture that’s all going to be burned away. All that gold, silver, costly stones, wood, straw from Paul’s metaphor that’s been added to The Gospel over the years by religion will burn away at the judgment. Unfortunately, there are those professing to be Christians that were attracted to, and worship, the gold, silver, costly stones, etc… that religion has added onto the Gospel.
My encouragement to all of you, as always, is to be Berean, study the scriptures yourself and decide what you believe the Bible teaches. It’s not enough to listen to what others teach as the Gospel truth, you have to follow up and see what the scriptures teach for yourself.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”