I remember going to a bible study a long time ago, I was a very young Christian then. There was probably 15 people in that study group. I can still hear those words from that teachers mouth as he held up empty pages of his study book…“I got nothing he proclaimed,” He prepared absolutely nothing for the lesson. His excuse was, I put it off until it was too late.
I thought to myself…
A few years later as I was studying, I thought about that man and his sluggish approach to give us a word from God. I vowed I would never be unprepared like him. I would always do my due diligence when it comes to teaching the word of God.
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
A lot of wisdom here, the ant is the obvious example of planning and diligence…just observe her ways of constant hard work and diligent planning for the success of its colony. I am not sure if that man is teaching anymore, if he is, I hope he has changed his ways. I hope he is not lazy with the word of God.
What is teacher and teaching?
Paul listed the spiritual gift of teaching in Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:28 and in Ephesians 4:1–12. We see in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that Paul says, you want spiritual gifts, be eager to have those spiritual gifts that excel in building up and are edifying the church.
Paul listed teaching third in 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers,
“The teacher not only has the gift of teaching but God’s calling to teach. He is called and gifted for the ministry of studying and interpreting the Word of God to the church. All who have the office of teaching also have the gift of teaching, but not everyone with the gift has the office.”John MacArthur commenting on this verse.
Teachers (did-as’-kal-os) (didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught ( didaskalía Doctrine) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth.
Teaching (did-akh-ay’ ) (didache from didasko = to give instruction in a formal or informal setting with the highest possible development of the pupil as the goal.
Back in the early 80’s I remember seeing my mom studying on the kitchen table with her KJV bible and concordance. She would write out scripture and place it on a wall. One of those verses was 2 Timothy 2:15. I had the opportunity to snap a picture of that verse from her bible. She told me I needed to love that verse.
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
As you see the old King James says Study, but its meaning is much broader. When you study something, you look at it over and over. It means you study hard and long if that’s what it takes.
“There is no long-range effective teaching of the Bible that is not accompanied by long hours of ongoing study of the Bible.”―D.A. Carson
Be diligent is spoudazō “to make haste, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence.” Just like the blacksmith working the iron out… A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut, that’s hard work.
Kenneth Wuest’s translates this verse as “Bend your every effort to present yourself to God, approved, a workman unashamed, expounding soundly the word of the truth.
Paul told Timothy… to present yourself approved to God.
This has two points…
- a workman who is not ashamed (the Greek word used here has a passive force: “not to be put to shame.
- a workman who can accurately handle the word of truth. This is literally “straight cutting” the word of God. Like the farmer who plows a straight trench for planting seed for a fruitful crop.
Paul’s call to Timothy is the correct exegesis of God’s word. Exegesis is the explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis of the text. The text means what the original author meant it to mean. A teacher must not twist or change the meaning of the text to introduce his own agenda or purpose, that is eisegesis and that’s wrong!
In the verses after, Paul contrast the approved workman with bad workman who distort the word of God with empty words and worldly, godless chatter. He even mentions them by name, Hymenaeus and Philetus. 2 Timothy 2:16-18
I love these words from A.B. Simpson…
“God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul. All nature is arrayed against the lounger and the idler. The nut is hidden in its thorny case; the pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves; the gold is imprisoned in the rocky bosom of the mountains; the gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it; the very soil gives its harvest as a reward to the laboring farmer. So truth and God must be earnestly sought.”A.B. Simpson [Emphasis Mine]
The meaning of this text is…
If we want God’s approval, if we want to be acceptable to God as teachers. We need to bend every effort to accurately handle the word of God.
A bible teacher seeks approval from God on their work, not man! That is how I have always went about my studying and teaching. Is this accurate, am I distorting the word of God in any way! This might not make you the most popular teacher, but you will be approved by God.
When we teach like this, it’s plowing a field, planting seeds and watching them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
…and that’s a beautiful thing!