Vol. 5, No. 4
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The books of First and Second Timothy along with the book of Titus constitute a very special portion of the Holy Scriptures so far as the preacher of righteousness is concerned. It can be fairly stated that these books were written first and foremost to those who preach the Gospel of the risen Son of God. This does not mean, however, that there are no messages in these books for the rest of those who make up the body of Christ on earth. Since preachers are both human and Christian, we need the Bible to keep us zealous, loving, kind and to warn us away from those things that would do more harm than good for the body of Christ. And since like other humans we experience heartache, disappointment and discouragement, we need such books as First and Second Timothy and Titus to keep us traveling in the path of righteousness.
In 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Paul gave Timothy a long list of things to do, and things not to do as a preacher of righteousness. He was told to remind and charge the brethren that they were "not to strive about words to no profit..." nor were they to "strive about words to the ruin of the hearers. "In other words, Paul commanded this preacher not to wrangle about things that will not profit the children of God spiritually. And in this context, he gave several other admonitions regarding the shunning of profane and vain babblings which increase ungodliness like the message of Hymenaeus and Philetus who were saying that the resurrection was past already.
In contrast to all of this, Paul told Timothy to "be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Paul told the preacher to make every effort to present himself approved to God. One of the things that we all need to do, whether preacher or not, is to ask ourselves, before we engage in any activity, if it is something that will cause us to lose the approval of God. Paul went on to say that preachers, and others, are to be workers in the vineyard of the Lord who don't ever need to feel reprehensible or ashamed. One of the things we can do to keep from feeling reprehensible is to "rightly divide the word of truth."
No one ever enjoys feeling reprehensible or ashamed. When one serves God to the best of his ability, he will never have the experience of that feeling. Therefore, all Christians should be very diligent to see that in whatever we do we present, or show ourselves, approved of God. This means that we do God's will in God's way! And when we do that, we will feel no censure from God! On the other hand, if we conduct ourselves in a half-hearted, slovenly and stale manner, we will have to deal with the censure of God.
When any person does his best, he is acceptable to God though his best may not be as good as the best of another person. But under no circumstance can the Christian afford to serve God in a way that shows that he has little regard for God and his Word. Then Paul gave two concrete examples of that of which he spoke. He recalled that Hymenaeus and Philetus taught that the resurrection of the dead were past already. It was this teaching, or something very near to it, that called for the writing of the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians.
So let us take the divine advice of the apostle Paul and live the Christian life in harmony with the teaching of the Word of God so that we will never feel at fault, or feel the censure of God, because we cannot present ourselves approved to him.