Rightly dividing the Word
2 Timothy 2:8-26
The most serious threat facing the Church is heresy. Persecution can cause great physical suffering, even death, but cannot separate a true believer from God. False teachings and mistaken beliefs are a danger because they may prevent a person from hearing and receiving the truth. A distorted Gospel is no Gospel at all and will not produce salvation.
Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. The apostle might have been discouraged by the circumstances he was under had it not been for believers like Timothy. His greatest encouragement was knowing that the Gospel cannot be locked away. It is the Word of God and will find a means for expression. Paul was content to suffer chains so that Timothy and others could freely preach the Word!
In verses 14-18, Paul offers Timothy advice on being a good minister. He tells him to study the Bible and to preach the truth. Bible study is foundational to any ministry. Bible teaching is the source of the Church’s strength. Great care must be given to indoctrinating the saints so that we may live our lives in a way acceptable to the Lord. Believers must be able to access God’s Word to meet any situation that arises.
Paul warned Timothy not to become involved in discussions and debates that lead nowhere. This was evidently a serious problem for the early Church because Paul mentions it on five separate occasions (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 4:7; 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:23; Titus 3:9). We are to study God’s Word and interpret it the best we can without allowing ourselves to argue a point of view. I recall a lady in our church introducing the Intermediate Sunday School class to Eastern meditation. It took some time to put that genie back in the bottle and caused all manner of trouble. I well remember arguments between the Baptists, Pentecostals, and the Church of Christ when I was in high school. Rather than share the Gospel we were caught up in arguing the one or two points of doctrinal difference we had. I have known people to leave the Church over whether they believed in Premillennial, Amellinnial, or Postmillennial rapture. The words, “You’re wrong” can end an opportunity to witness faster than any others.
I. Bible Study Is Labor With a Purpose
A. It will build our faith: Romans 10:17 – “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.”
1. Faith is confidence in God
2. Faith is a necessary ingredient for growth
B. It will defeat our enemy: Eph. 6:17 – “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
1. Truth is the greatest weapon for either defense or offense
2. Only the Word can produce repentance
C. It will encourage others: Col. 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom….”
1. Example is the best teacher
2. Individuals inspire one another
D. It will bring healing for body, soul, and spirit: Psalm 107:20 – “He sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.”
1. Obedience to the Word will lengthen our days
2. Faithful study will yield answers to enable us in our daily struggle against the forces opposing us
E. It will Improve our lives: Psalm 119:11- “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
1. Enabling us to more likely win the war being waged within us
2. Empowering us to glorify God more fully
Studying and knowing the Word of God enables us to be the witness Paul described to Timothy in verses 24 – 26.