Almost every person who wants to emphasize the need for
study of the Bible quotes 2
which says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a
workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV). It is
somewhat ironic that a proper
exegesis of the verse that is almost universally used to teach that a
needs to study or meditate on God’s Word does not mean that
at all, and its use
to show that a person needs to study does
show that we need to study, in spite of the fact that the verse in the
text does not mean that!
The word translated “study” is from the Greek
and is properly translated in the ASV as “give
diligence.” Most persons assume,
apparently, that if a person studies or meditates properly on
God’s Word, he
will be approved of God, for he can now rightly divide the Word of God.
first time I remember hearing about that was about 65 years ago; the
indicated that it meant that you should know the difference in the Old
Testaments and thus rightly divide the Word.
That exegesis of the passage does very little harm to
truth, for it is true that without studying, or meditating on
God’s Word, you
will not be approved of God. Probably you would not be able to realize
difference between the use or value of the Old and New Testaments.
verse does not directly relate to either thought.
The word “spoudazo” has to do with earnest care, or
careful haste. It is the word used in 2
Corinthians 8:16, where Paul says,
“But thanks be to God who put the
same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.” What Paul
is saying in 1 Timothy 2:15
is not that we should meditate on
God’s Word, although this is abundantly taught elsewhere.
What he is saying is
that we should immediately, constantly and carefully make sure that all
is approved of God. Of course, we cannot do that without meditating or
studying, but we can study and meditate 24 hours a day without doing
says in this verse.
To be approved of God, and have no need to be ashamed
is to hasten with earnest care to be a workman who makes a straight
through God’s Word. It has little to do with recognizing the
difference in the
Old and New Testaments, but has to do with turning neither to the right
nor the left when you come to a Scripture that applies to you. Of
cannot do that properly without study and meditation, and recognizing
of the Testaments, but that is not his subject.
We have members of the church, and even preachers, who
do not make a straight course through the word of truth. When they come
passage that condemns their actions or doctrine, they give a good
a broken field runner in a football game, who zigs and zags his way
opposition. Deuteronomy 5:32
fairly well sums up his thought, “Ye shall observe to do
therefore as the Lord
your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand
My hope in this article is to point out the need for
more studying and meditating on what the text actually says before we
point about it. In cases like this verse and in 1 Thessalonians 1:22,
which says, “Abstain from all
appearance of evil” and in Ephesians
which says, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave
him to be the
head over all things to the church,” there is not much harm
done by the usual
wrong exegesis of the passages, for we do
need to study and meditate on God’s Word. Generally, it is
good to abstain from
anything that appears to be evil, but 1 Thessalonians does not teach
is not talking about something that appears or seems to be evil, but
appears, or is actually there, abstain from it. Although Christ is Head
church, Ephesians 1:22
say that. It says that Christ is head over all things. God gave him,
head over all things to the church.
Therefore, let us give diligence to be approved of God,
not only by studying and meditating on God’s Word to see what
teaches, but by emphasizing what it actually teaches and giving earnest
that we practice it. Only then can we act in such a fashion that we
reason to be ashamed.