2 Timothy (Part 18)

v.15. 1. A chief priority and attribute of an effective gospel minister is that he should be a man of study so as to avoid being ashamed. A. Study: “To apply the mind to the acquisition of learning...” (1) The studying in context is that of the word of truth, the Scripture. (2) Not all studying is profitable for godliness and godly wisdom. PRO 24:2; COL 2:8, 18; PRO 19:27; ROM 16:19. (3) Christian faith need not fear rational inquiry and investigation of non-Scriptural disciplines but of necessity must draw the line at pseudo-science which pretends to be wiser than God's word. 1TI 6:20. B. It is with this in mind that the apostles deemed it unreasonable to be burdened with tangible business that others could do. ACT 6:1-4. C. To the same end, Paul had advised against ministers being entangled with the affairs of this life. 2TI 2:4. D. The man of God's study which best prevents shame is study of the law of God which is a thorough furnisher. PSA 119:80 c/w 2TI 3:16-17. (1) The minister who does not study Scripture ought to be ashamed. (2) The minister who does not study Scripture is apt to be ashamed when he cannot render a Scriptural answer to an inquirer. 1PE 3:15 c/w PRO 15:28; 22:20-21. (3) A minister of Christ may be excused for not being a dedicated studier of nature, commentaries, religious books, secular knowledge, etc., but he may not be so excused for not studying Scripture which sets forth the wisdom of God which PRECEDED all disciplines. PRO 8:23. 2. The minister of Christ is a workman. A. Workman: “A man engaged to do work or (usually) manual labor, esp. one employed upon some particular piece of work; an operative; often (contextually) a skilled worker....” B. Study is laborious. ECC 12:12. C. A minister who studies is a labourer worthy of reward. 1TI 5:17-19; MAT 10:10. 3. The minister is to study to shew himself approved unto God. A. Approved: “Proved or established by experience, tried, tested.” B. God is interested in beholding the performance and mettle of His people. GEN 22:12; DEU 8:2; JAM 2:18. C. A minister should also study to shew himself approved unto God, i.e., to manifest to his hearers that he is indeed a called and studied man of the word. 1TI 4:13-15. (1) Saints may be looking for a proof of a man's ability and calling. 2CO 13:3. (2) The studied man is manifestly approved by standing strong against the winds of heresy. 1CO 11:19. 4. The study of a man of God which approves him is realized in rightly dividing the word of truth. A. This verse assumes that there is such a thing as the word of truth for a minister to rightly divide. This hardly harmonizes with the notion that ministers today have at best a word of part-truth, part-error. B. That the word of truth is to be rightly divided implies that it may also be wrongly divided. This command stands against wrongly dividing the word of truth as much as it stands for rightly dividing it. C. The word of truth is the gospel of salvation. EPH 1:13. (1) This gospel was witnessed by the law and the prophets. ROM 1:1-2; 3:21-22; GAL 3:8. (2) This gospel is unveiled by the apostles. EPH 3:4-6; 2PE 1:19. (3) The word of truth is the gospel of salvation from Genesis to Revelation, the Holy Scriptures as a body. D. Divide: “To separate a thing into parts, or (a number or collective body) into smaller groups, to split up, cleave; to break or cut asunder.” (1) The reading of Scripture must be broken down, read distinctly (in a distinct or separate manner, separately, individually, severally). NEH 8:8. a. Attention must be given to the component parts of the Scripture, word for word. b. Attention must be given to word definitions, grammar, context and parallel passages. c. Diligent usage of the Bible's rules for understanding Scripture results in the proper application of Scripture (see below). (2) Rightly dividing the word of truth also includes basic divisions of doctrine (separating into smaller groups, per the definition). a. There is a need to distinguish between the Old and New Testaments and their respective inheritances. ROM 8:3-4. b. Some law was unique to Israel. EXO 31:16-17. c. Salvation may be eternal or temporal. 2TI 2:10. d. Identity with Christ may be of sonship or fellowship. PHIL 2:15. e. There is a natural Israel/circumcision and a spiritual Israel/circumcision. ROM 2:28-29. f. There is an earthly Jerusalem and a heavenly Jerusalem. GAL 4:24-25. (3) There is another sense in which a man of God should rightly divide the the word of truth. a. Divide: “8a. To distribute among a number; to deal out, dispense.” See MAR 6:41; ACT 13:19; 1CO 12:11. b. A faithful and wise steward gives his lord's household their portion of meat in due season. LUK 12:42. c. When Paul preached to ignorant idolaters, he tailored his message according to their situation. ACT 17:22-31. d. Word-milk may be needed instead of word-meat. 1CO 3:1-2 c/w HEB 5:13-14.
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