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
I think this has to be one of the most important verses in the bible on the word of God for the edification of the body of Christ. Straight forward exegesis must be the aim of all teachers of the word of God.
I can remember bringing a lesson to my Sunday school class and saying to myself, did I dig enough into the text, is it right, is it accurate, and did I do proper exegesis?
Exegesis is the act of critically interpreting a text in an attempt to draw the meaning out of the text, unlike eisegesis, where one reads his own meaning into the text.
It’s so important to get it right!
Especially in light of James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
There is so many things James could have started out on about our tongue, and he chooses teaching… When he writes “Let not many of you become teachers”
James is not trying to discouraged teaching and teachers here, we know that the spiritual gifted teacher is one of the hardest positions to fill in the Church.
But James does write, let not many of you become one! Why and why here in this section about the tongues?
He could have started out about lying, swearing and gossip, or anything our deceiving tongues proclaim, but no, he starts out with “Teaching” Why?
The most serious thing that can flow from our tongue is the distorting and misrepresenting of God’s word, the Word of God is not a bendable kid’s toy to twist and bend, reading into the text or taking the TEXT OUT OF CONTEXT helps no one, and will lead to our shame before God if we do so.
Paul is telling Timothy to interpret a text in an attempt to draw the exact meaning out of the text ( accurately handling the word of truth), not to insert his own meaning into the text or quarrel about words or godless chatter. 2 Timothy 2:14, 16.
Paul says to be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman. A teacher must do his due diligence before bringing us the word of God. Wuest says “Do your best, make haste, give diligence, hurry on, be eager to show yourself approved unto God.”
Vincent defines the word orthotomeō (ὀρθοτομεω) (Rightly Dividing or Accurately Handling), “to cut straight,” as paths, “to hold a straight course, to make straight, to handle rightly.” He says: “The thought is that the minister of the gospel is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, not handling it as a charlatan, not making it a matter of wordy strife (v. 14), but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner.”
Paul told Timothy to skillfully, diligently and accurately teach the word of God so he wouldn’t be like those who are worldly chatterers. 2 Timothy 2:14, 16. So the teacher of God’s word must teach the word consistent with God’s intended meaning and purpose.
…and as my dear Mother said over and over to me…
“You won’t be popular, but you won’t be ashamed before God.”
…and that’s a beautiful thing!