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Approved Worker

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WESTSIDE ALLIANCE CHURCH

NOVEMBER 4, 2007

AN APPROVED WORKER

2 TIMOTHY 2:14-15

DR. FRED BRAUN

AN APPROVED WORKER    2  TIMOTHY 2:14-15

Paul has portrayed several pictures of what Christian life and service is all about

Soldier 2:3-  endure hardship

Athlete- 2:5—avoid worldly entanglements

Farmer 2:6- be patient

And now a worker, an  approved worker

“Keep reminding them of these things.  Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:14-15

A.       AN APPROVED WORKER FOCUSES ON THE ESSENTIALS

B.      AN APPROVED WORKER IS DILIGENT IN HIS LIFE AND WITNESS

C.      AN APPROVED WORKER SEEKS GOD’S APPROVAL

D.      AN APPROVED WORKER PRESERVES THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD

WHAT IS AN APPROVED WORKER?

1.       THE APPROVED WORKER WILL FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS 2:14

“Keep reminding them- need for review and repetition

For example- no one sits down to memorize nursery rhyme- learned by repetition

These things,- what has been presented before-

 about Christ, about the trustworthy words

The lessons learned from soldier, athlete, farmer

“quarrelling about words” --Doesn’t get caught up in trivialities

Foolish arguments, debating about family tree, or about favourite leader- Peter, Paul, etc.

Getting caught up in debates about eschatology

Talks about the things that have lasting value—

When you meet with people, what is the most common topic of discussion?  Weather, politics,

As John Stott puts it, “they invariably breed quarrels, because when people forsake revelation for speculation, they have no agreed authority and no impartial court of appeal”

Paul had given Timothy the sound teachings of the Gospel.  And Paul  had been diligent to convey the message of God’s love and salvation to all his converts.  As we read Paul’s letters, we notice how clearly Paul delineates the basic tenets of the gospel.  He focuses on who Christ is and what He has done.  He focuses on the greatness of God’s grace and salvation.  The approved worker will follow this example of Paul, and focus on the essentials.

2.       THE APPROVED WORKER WILL BE DILIGENT-DO  YOUR BEST, study, strive, exert, not slothful,

Authorized version translates it “study to show yourself approved”

Yes, we need to study the word, read, memorize, analyze, discuss

But the key meaning here is to devote yourself to the task

Study - The Greek word is "spoudazo". The meaning of this word is not to simply read and memorize. The word carries a strong connotation. It's meaning is to hasten to do a thing, to exert oneself, to strive and endeavor. The picture here is not a person who is simply reading but, of someone who is devoting their entire heart, soul, energies and intellect to something.

Paul says in Romans 12:11, “not slothful in business, serving the Lord”

Hebrews 6:11-12  “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish (slothful, lazy), but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

As we read the Proverbs, we notice that so many verses warn against slothfulness, laziness.  As those approved of God, we will strive, we will exert ourselves, we will be diligent in our efforts to exalt the Lord Jesus and to make Him known.

3.       THE APPROVED WORKER WILL SEEK GOD’S APPROVAL- we like to please men and make a good impression, but we want to strive for that commendation of the Lord “well done, good and faithful servant”

Approved - The Greek word is "dokimos".  Looking at the earliest uses of this word, it is used when speaking of metals that have gone through the test of fire in a forge to check their purity. When you wanted to check the purity of gold or silver you would have it melted down to see if any impurities would float to the top or separate. After this the gold or silver would be "dokimos" approved. The word is also used to describe on who is having his faith tried and character tried and examined.

Give diligence to present yourself to God approved –dokimon-= one who can stand, or has actually stood the test appointed by God and come forth stamped with his approval.  To realize himself as a servant of God and to guide his course through the trying and perilous circumstances around him so as to be able to appear before the Divine Majesty as one that had proved faithful to the trust reposed in him.

How to prepare to be approved of God

1.       Walk in unity with other believers- ph 4:3-6

2.       Share Christ with those outside the church

3.       Develop an effective prayer life

4.       Receive personal mentoring

The approved worker diligently studies the word and seeks to apply it to his own life.  An ashamed worker wastes his time with other religious duties.

The approved worker does not waste his time arguing about words of no profit (2 Tim 2:14) because that undermines God’s work (1 Tim 6:4; Tit 3:9)

The approved worker will shun godless chatter (2 Tim 2:16; 1 Tim 6:20) because it leads to more ungodliness

Wiersbe remarks:

“The approved worker knows that false doctrine is dangerous, and he will oppose it.  Paul compares it to gangrene (2 Tim 2:17).  As gangrene spreads, infects other tissue, so false doctrine spreads and infects the body of believers.   They must be removed and exposed.   The sound teaching keeps the church healthy and growing”

   Paul warns that false doctrine eats like a cancer, or ulcer, and the only remedy is healthy doctrine - A sloppy worker will handle the word deceitfully in order to make it say what he wants it to say (2 Cor 4:2).  When God tests our ministry, will it become ashes?  (1 Cor 3:10ff)

The approved worker is one whose life and work are such as to honor Christ and the gospel. This requires a pure life as well as judicious work.

When a builder wants to construct a building, he first has the plans drawn up and taken in for approval. When the plans are acceptable, a stamp of approval is applied to the plans, marked APPROVED.

As Christians, we want to serve the Lord in such a manner, that His stamp of approval rests on us.  Then we can with anticipation receive His “well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter the joy of the Lord.”

No need for shame- parable of talents- slothful servant came with shame

Not ashamed- having no occasion to blush (Phil 1:20)- “ I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life of by death.”----our  behaviour should be such as to afford no occasion for such feeling of shame. 

4.PRESERVE THE TRUTH- let the Bible say what it says. Handle correctly, cut straight, rightly dividing --"Handling aright." The Greek word means, literally, "cutting straight."

This term is used in various situations.  By looking at these various usages, we can get an understanding of what Paul is conveying with this phrase

*used for cutting off a board-  straight cut

*sewing a straight seam in cloth or leather

* Cut leather to fit exactly- Paul was a tent-maker.  In his profession it would be important to cut the pieces of leather carefully, so they would fit together perfectly.

* Plow a straight furrow

*Chop a clear straight path through a wooded area to make a highway.

ILL.   If you look at a road atlas of Britain you will notice that most of the roads are pretty wiggly and windy.  But every now and again you will spot one that’s dead straight for miles and miles- built by Romans.  Knowing that a straight line is the shortest path between two points, the Romans built their roads as straight as possible to make their troop movements more efficient.  They would bridge across swamps, hack through forests and even cut trough small hills. We need to cut a straight path with the truth to accurately   it and make it plain to others-  the Bible is the surveyor’s instrument

The thought, probably, is to present the truth clearly, truthfully, without [278] blunders, and with an exactness which cannot be gainsaid. 

 The emphasis is that the workman needs to be diligent in his labors so that he will not be ashamed when his work is inspected

   The question that arises is, “How do we apply this instruction?”

* Don’t mimimize sin and sinners need

* Don’t water down the gospel

* Don’t give false expectations- all trouble gone

        * Emphasize need for faith, confession, repentance

        * Focus on the grace of God

* don’t twist or mutilate the teaching of the Scriptures

Gaebelein sums it up with these words: “Holding a straight course-  cut a road across the country that is forested or otherwise difficult to pass through in a straight direction so the traveler might go directly to his destination.  Guide the word of truth along a straight path like a road that goes to its goal without turning aside- 

Fairbairn states: Rightly handling- singular usage in NT. Serious and earnest vs frivolous and unprofitable. Fair and straight forward handling of the word.  Vs tortuous interpretations, sinister purposes-

Many attempts to discredit the scriptures.

 Lee Strobel in “The Case for the Real Jesus”  lists the six major criticisms levelled at the Gospel account about our Lord Jesus.  By their writings, many people have begun to question the scriptures.  For example, the book, “The DeVinci Code” has caused many to doubt the Bible

1.       Scholars are uncovering  a  different Jesus in ancient documents as credible as the four Gospels

2.       The Bible portrait of Jesus Christ can’t be trusted because the church tampered with the text

3.       New explorations have refuted Jesus’ resurrection

4.       Christianity’s beliefs about Jesus were copied from ancient religions

5.       Jesus was an imposter who failed to fulfil the messianic prophecies

6.       People should be free to pick and choose what to believe about Jesus

Strobel then clearly presents solid evidence that the gospel record is reliable, and corroborated by sound research.  And we need to be clear on the truth, veracity and reliability of the scriptures

Paul says, 3:14-15—“continue in what you have learned and have been convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it....able to make you wise for salvation—God breathed

1:13 “what you heard from me, keep as a pattern of sound teaching.”  Teaching and lifestyle

“Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace

Our desire as Workmen of the Word is not to make a point but to make God's point. We are interested in what God has to say.

Bob Pritchard says, “The goal of being an approved worker should be the goal of all of God’s children.  The diligent application of all our energy to the service of God will allow us to join Timothy standing before God without shame.”

CONCLUSION

1.       The work God is doing, and seeks to have done in the world, is to win it back to himself

2.       In the work every believer is expected to take part

3.       God wants us to be skilled workers who give our whole heart to His work, and delight in it

4.       God does His work by working in us, inspiring and strengthening us to do His work

5.       What God asks is a heart and life devoted to Him in surrender and faith

6.       As God’s work is all love, love is the power that works in us, inspiring our efforts and conquering its object

Matthew 21:28  “Son, go work today in the vineyard”

14-18. Put them in remembrance. Those to whom you minister. Charging . . . that they strive not about words. We see proofs in both letters to Timothy that the idle speculations which did the church such damage a little later had already begun. 15. Study to show thyself. To this end the utmost diligence must be used. Approved unto God. Such a preacher that his work will please the Heavenly Father. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Rightly dividing the word of truth. The Revision reads,

14-18. Put them in remembrance. Those to whom you minister. Charging . . . that they strive not about words. We see proofs in both letters to Timothy that the idle speculations which did the church such damage a little later had already begun. 15. Study to show thyself. To this end the utmost diligence must be used. Approved unto God. Such a preacher that his work will please the Heavenly Father. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Whose life and work are such as to honor Christ and the gospel. This requires a pure life as well as judicious work. Rightly dividing the word of truth. The Revision reads, "Handling aright." The Greek word means, literally, "cutting straight." The thought, probably, is to present the truth clearly, truthfully, without [278] blunders, and with an exactness which cannot be gainsaid.

Rightly dividing = cutting straight, can be applied to plowing a straight furrow,  cutting a straight board, sewing a straight seam.  Cutting through like an engineer builds a highway, so people understand Godd’s program for the ages.  

Stick to the essentials, not philosophy or empty words

The approved worker diligently studies the word and seeks to apply it to his own life.  An ashamed worker wastes his time with other religious duties.

The approved worker does not waste his time arguing about words of no profit (2 Tim 2:14) because that undermines God’s work (1 Tim 6:4; Tit 3:9)

The approved worker will shun godless chatter (2 Tim 2:16; 1 Tim 6:20) because it leads to more ungodliness

The approved worker knows that false doctrine is dangerous, and he will oppose it.  Paul compares it to gangrene (2 Tim 2:17).  As gangrene spreads, infects other tissue, so false doctrine spreads and infects the body of believers.   The must be removed and exposed.   The sound teaching keeps the church healthy and growing   Paul warns that false doctrine eats like a cancer, or ulcer, and the only remedy is healthy doctrine -Wiersbe

The pastor is a workman in God’s word.  The word is a treasure that the steward must guard and invest.

It is the soldier’s sword, the farmer’s seed, the worker’s tool for building, measuring, repairing God’s people.  The preacher who uses the word correctly will build the church the way God wants it to be built. 

Remind them, solemnly charge them- to bear witness, testify

Rightly apprehend and grasp for himself and then act as a faithful monitor

Give diligence to present yourself to God approved –dokimon-= one who can stand, or has actually stood the test appointed by God and come forth stamped with his approval.  To realize himself as a servant of God and to guide his course through the trying and perilous circumstances around him so as to be able to appear before the Divine Majesty as one that had proved faithful to the trust reposed in him.

Not ashamed- having no occasion to blush (Phill 1:20)- behaviour such as to afford no occasion for such feeling

Rightly handling- singular usage in NT. Serious and earnest vs frivolous and unprofitable. Fair and straight forward handling of the word.  Vs tortuous interpretations, sinister purposes- Fairbairn

God’s worker must encourage others to avoid useless discussions (dispute about words)  It leads to catastrophe

God’s worker must enforce his teaching by his own example

Worker-a labourer working for hire- give diligence to the kind and quality of his work when he meets God’s inspection- pass the test, approve- dokimon

Handling- proclaiming and applying it to men’s lives  - straight forward exegesis

Cutting-  Paul cutting leather so it fits properly- interpretation and application-  Kent

Need for holy life- positive personal example

No primarily to win approval of men, but of God

Worker- points not to needed skill, but to laboriousness in its accomplishment    Hiebert

Do your best- make haste, be zealous and eager, make every effort

Keep on reminding the people

Holding a straight course-  cut a road across the country that is forested or otherwise difficult to pass through in a straight direction so the traveler might go directly to his destination.  Guide the word of truth along a straight path like a road that goes to its goal without turning aside-  Gaebelein

The Bible Workman


2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

3. Dividing God's Word

Everyone divides God's Word. It seems like everyone, at some time in their life, will use a verse or phrase from God's Word to make some point (such as a slogan or a motto). On the seal of the college I graduated from are the words, "A workman that needeth not to be ashamed", which are taken from II Timothy 2:15.

Our desire as Workmen of the Word is not to make a point but to make God's point. We are interested in what God has to say. My college slogan sounds nice and makes a good slogan, but if this phrase is read in the context of God's Word and with the desire to understand what God has to say, it makes a different point then what my college was trying to make.

 II Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

My college's slogan, when read in the context of God's Word and the verse it comes from, is making the point that we are workmen that needeth not to be ashamed when we study to show ourselves approved unto God by rightly dividing His Word. Since the college I attended was primarily an engineering college, I don't think their point was to be a Workman of God's Word. They used God's Word as their slogan to make a point that was different from what God was really saying. This is not what we want to do as Workmen of the Word.

Rightly dividing God's Word starts with reading what is written and being accurate when we read God's Word. We need to learn to look at the words we are reading. We need to drive our minds to pay attention to what we are reading in God's Word. If we do not pay attention to what we are reading we can easily wrongly divide Gods' Word. For example:

II Timothy 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

When this verse is read, some may read thoroughly instead of throughly. The text of the King James Bible reads throughly. Closer study may enlighten us further on just what it is that God is saying, but rightly dividing God's Word starts with reading what is written.

Proverbs 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

Some have taught on this verse and expounded on the root of righteousness; that we need to be rooted in righteousness. But this verse talks about the root of the righteous. If the root of the righteous is righteousness then it would be OK to teach on the root of righteousness. But this verse by itself does not tell us what is the root of the righteous. We need further study to find out what is the root of the righteous. If we are not accurate in our reading of God's Word and we read "the root of righteousness" instead of "the root of the righteous", we may entirely miss what God is trying to say.

We need to be concerned about rightly dividing God's Word. The term "rightly divide" indicates that there is only one way to divide God's Word and that all other ways are wrong dividings or man's interpretations. When we read the Word of God or we hear people say that they are teaching the Word of God, we need to pay attention to the details and be concerned for the accuracy of God's Word.

A teacher was teaching on the memorial of communion and he said that communion was in remembrance of the two part meaning of the communion table. The memorial of communion is talked about in I Corinthians.

I Corinthians 11:24, 25  And when he [Jesus Christ] had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

God's Word says that communion is to be done in remembrance of Jesus Christ. God's Word does not say anything about communion being in remembrance of the two part meaning of the communion table.

We need to listen to what people are saying when they say they are teaching God's Word, and be sure that what they say is what God's Word says. What someone is saying may be just a little bit off from what God's Word is saying, and we may even understand what they are trying to say, but we need to be concerned with what God's Word says. We need to pay attention to details and listen to what is said when people teach God's Word. We need to pay attention to details and read what is written in God's Word. We need to be careful about pre-conceived ideas and what we think God's Word says. We need to read God's Word and let God's Word speak for itself.

We do not get caught up in the teaching abilities of men who are exciting and emotional. We are interested in God's Word rightly divided. Not that God's Word rightly divided is not exciting and emotional, but it is not the excitement and emotions themselves that we are after. Teaching techniques and being an energetic and emotional teacher may help get the point across but we need to be sure it is God's point that is being taught.

We cannot afford to be sloppy with God's Word. We have the Word of God only to the extent that it is rightly divided. People make mistakes and we do not need to be critical all the time, but we do need to be accurate. We may make mistakes in our teaching of God's Word. But as we continue to work God's Word we will grow in our understanding of God's Word and our ability to rightly divided God's Word.

We work God's Word using the keys1 to working God's Word.

Acts 10:33  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

We want to hear what God has to say. We need to have a low tolerance to error when it comes to God's Word. Our concern has got to be what God has to say. We are not interested in what people think the Word says, we are interested in what God says.

We need to learn the keys to working God's Word so we can work it ourselves. We need to learn the keys to working God's Word so that we do not have to take someone else's word for what God says. We need to learn the keys to working God's Word so that we can rightly divide God's Word.

Why should you read the Bible? ·         To be prepared to meet every experience in life. ·         To prepare ourselves to become the person God wants us to be. ·         To accomplish the purpose for which He created us. Reading your Bible is an important part of your Christian worship. During that time you communicate with God and He communicates with you.  Below you will find some links to places that have online daily devotionals.

God's Expectations

2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly handling the word of truth."

This is a scripture that most of you have heard and seen many times but, have you really taken into consideration what this passage is saying? Let's examine the words of this passage and see what God through His revelation is telling us.

Study - The Greek word is "spoudazo". The meaning of this word is not to simply read and memorize. The word carries a strong connotation. It's meaning is to hasten to do a thing, to exert oneself, to strive and endeavor. The picture here is not a person who is simply reading but, of someone who devoting their entire heart, soul, energies and intellect to something.

Approved - The Greek word is "dokimos".  Looking at the earliest uses of this word, it is used when speaking of metals that have gone through the test of fire in a forge to check their purity. When you wanted to check the purity of gold or silver you would have it melted down to see if any impurities would float to the top or separate. After this the gold or silver would be "dokimos" approved. The word is also used to describe on who is having his faith tried and character tried and examined.

Unto God - The one who we are to please is God, not man. The one whose approval we are to desire.

Workman - The Greek word is "ergates". This word is used to describe one who works for another such as a field hand working in a vineyard. There are two important facets of this definition. First, the workman works! Second, the workman was not an independent consultant working where and when he felt like. The "ergates" worked for and under the direction of a property owner or supervisor.

Ashamed - The Greek word here is "anepaischuntos". To be ashamed means to have a feeling or fear that prevents a person from doing something. It could be cowardice, timidity, lack of knowledge, embarrassment or other reasons that would produce shame in a person. 

Rightly dividing - The Greek word here is "orthotomeo". It is a compound word from "orthos" meaning straight and "temno" meaning to cut. This word was commonly used to refer to the process of plowing straight rows in a field. As people of the 21st Century, this may not mean much to us today. However, having had the opportunity to try my hand at plowing with a mule and an old fashioned plow, let me share some observations with you on this. It takes strength, stamina, skill, endurance, and your undivided attention. If you didn't understand your mule, your plow, and your field, well lets just say the results can be disastrous. We are called on to correctly and skillfully handle the Word of God and use it for it's intended purposes.

Word of truth - God's revelation to man that we now commonly call the Bible.

Let's look at this verse again and as you read it, think about the above definitions that you learned. 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

At this point you may feel slightly overwhelmed by the depth of the requirements from the verse above. Remember that you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and He will enable and empower you so that you can do this!

This verse of Scripture ought to be very meaningful to those of us who are accountable to the Chief Shepherd of the flock.  God has committed unto us sixty-six infallible, inerrant Books which we are to faithfully study, allowing the truth of His Word to become part of the very fabric of our being.  We are then to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).  "My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (judgment)" (James 3:1).  We are certainly not to take this awesome responsibility lightly.

C.I. Scofield authored a very helpful booklet. Its title (Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth) is derived from the above verse of Scripture.  This is what Scofield says in the introduction:

In the second chapter of Second Timothy the believer is presented in seven characters.  He is called a son, verse 1; a soldier, verse 3; an athlete, verse 5; a husbandman, verse 6; a workman, verse 15; a vessel, verse 21; and a servant, verse 24.

With each of these characters there is a suited exhortation. As a son, Timothy is exhorted to be strong in grace. Grace goes with sonship, just as law goes with servitude--as we learn from Galatians.  Then, as a soldier, Timothy is exhorted to endure hardness, and to avoid worldly entanglements; these are right elements of good soldiership. As a vessel, he is to be cleansed, separated; as a servant, gentle, patient, meek; and so of each of these seven aspects of his life as a Christian.

In verse 15 he is told what is required of him as a workman:

"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

The Word of Truth, then, has right divisions, and it must be evident that, as one cannot be "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" without observing them, so any study of that Word which ignores those divisions must be in large measure profitless and confusing.  Many Christians freely confess that they find the study of the Bible weary work.  More find it so, who are ashamed to make the confession.

The purpose of this pamphlet is to indicate the more important divisions of the Word of God.

Scofield then proceeds, in his brief, lawyer-like, logical style, to explain the following Biblical distinctions:

The differences between the Jew, the Gentile and the Church of God.
The differences between the seven dispensations.
The differences between the two advents of Christ.
The differences between the two resurrections.
The differences between the five judgments.
The differences between law and grace.
The differences between the believer's standing and state.
The differences between salvation and rewards.
The differences between believers and professors.

When such differences are not observed and understood, then great confusion results.  For example, reformed theology often fails to distinguish between the two resurrections and between the various judgments, and the result is that they teach one general resurrection and one general judgment which takes place at the end of the world.  This would be like a professor of history looking back at the twentieth century and saying that World War I and World War II and the Vietnam War and the Gulf War were actually all one giant war and should not be treated as separate wars.  I should not like to have him as my professor for history! I would be utterly confused by this professor's propensity to blur all distinctions and lump everything together as one!

Let us now get back to our verse:

Study--Although the idea of "study" is certainly conveyed by this verse, this particular word actually means "be diligent, make every effort, exert yourself, give your utmost effort."   The word is used in Ephesians 4:3--"endeavoring (making every effort) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  It is used in Hebrews 4:11--We are to be diligent and to make every effort to enter into God's rest.

to show thyself approved unto God--We are to make every effort to present ourselves before God as approved workmen!  When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ we want to hear Him say, "Well done My good and faithful student!  You have learned from Me.  You have correctly handled and faithfully taught My Word of truth."  We want God's approval, not only for how we live our life, but for how we study His Word.

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed--Bible study is hard work and yet very rewarding.  There are precious gems to be found, but finding them involves laborious work and great effort.  Digging is not easy. Spurgeon said, "There are some precious jewels which may be discovered even by the wayfaring man, but the mass of the gold is hidden in the bowels of the earth; and he who would be rich in these treasures, must dig into Scripture. Thou must go down into its depths, and thou must rummage there until thou gettest at last at the treasure."   May we be among those who "labour (toil to the point of weariness and exhaustion) in the word and doctrine" (1 Timothy 5:17).  Woe be unto the lazy and slothful workman who will be ashamed before Christ for his failure to "give himself wholly" to the study of the Word (1 Timothy 4:16).

rightly dividing the Word of Truth--the word "rightly dividing" literally means "to rightly cut, to cut straight."

LABORER, FELLOW LABORER

ergates (ἐργάτης, 2040), akin to ergazomai, “to work,” and ergon, “work,” denotes (a) “a field laborer, a husbandman,” Matt. 9:37, 38; 20:1, 2, 8; Luke 10:2 (twice); Jas. 5:4; (b) “a workman, laborer,” in a general sense, Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7; Acts 19:25; 1 Tim. 5:18; it is used (c) of false apostles and evil teachers, 2 Cor. 11:13; Phil. 3:2, (d) of a servant of Christ, 2 Tim. 2:15; (e) of evildoers, Luke 13:27.¶

Note: In the kjv of Philem. 1 and 24, sunergos, “a fellow worker,” is translated “fellow laborer,” rv, “fellow worker”; in Phil. 4:3, the plural, rv, “fellow workers;” in Phil. 2:25, kjv, “companion in labor,” rv, “fellow worker”; in 1 Cor. 3:9, kjv, “laborers together (with God),” rv, “God’s fellow workers,” i.e., fellow workers belonging to and serving God; in 3 John 8, kjv, “fellow helpers” (to the truth), rv, “fellow workers (with the truth),” i.e., acting together with the truth as an operating power; in 1 Thess. 3:2, some ancient authorities have the clause “fellow worker (with God),” rv, marg.; it is absent from the most authentic mss.

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Verses 14-18

Having thus encouraged Timothy to suffer, he comes in the next place to direct him in his work.

I. He must make it his business to edify those who were under his charge, to put them in remembrance of those things which they did already know; for this is the work of ministers; not to tell people that which they never knew before, but to put them in mind of that which they do know, charging them that they strive not about words. Observe, Those that are disposed to strive commonly strive about matters of very small moment. Strifes of words are very destructive to the things of God. That they strive not about words to no profit. If people did but consider of what little use most of the controversies in religion are, they would not be so zealous in their strifes of words, to the subverting of the hearers, to the drawing of them away from the great things of God, and occasioning unchristian heats and animosities, by which truth is often in danger of being lost. Observe, People are very prone to strive about words, and such strifes never answer any other ends than to shake some and subvert others; they are not only useless, but they are very hurtful, and therefore ministers are to charge the people that they do not strive about words, and they are most likely to be regarded when they charge them before the Lord, that is, in his name and from his word; when they produce their warrant for what they say.—Study to show thyself approved unto God, v. 15. Observe, The care of ministers must be to approve themselves unto God, to be accepted of him, and to show that they are so approved unto God. In order thereunto, there must be constant care and industry: Study to show thyself such a one, a workman that needs not be ashamed. Ministers must be workmen; they have work to do, and they must take pains in it. Workmen that are unskilful, or unfaithful, or lazy, have need to be ashamed; but those who mind their business, and keep to their work, are workmen that need not be ashamed. And what is their work? It is rightly to divide the word of truth. Not to invent a new gospel, but rightly to divide the gospel that is committed to their trust. To speak terror to those to whom terror belongs, comfort to whom comfort; to give every one his portion in due season, Mt. 24:45. Observe here, 1. The word which ministers preach is the word of truth, for the author of it is the God of truth. 2. It requires great wisdom, study, and care, to divide this word of truth rightly; Timothy must study in order to do this well.

II. He must take heed of that which would be a hindrance to him in his work, v. 16

[2]


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¶ Indicates that all the NT occurrences of the Greek word under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub-heading.

[1]Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. 1996. Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words . T. Nelson: Nashville

[2]Henry, M. 1996, c1991. Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume . Hendrickson: Peabody

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