Do you remember studying for a test back in your school days? You are spending the evening reading a text over and over, answering study questions at the end of a chapter.
I remember one test that had one particular question everyone missed. The teacher showed everyone that the answer was in the caption of a picture. Some of the kids complained but to no avail. That teacher taught me a valuable lesson – read everything, even the fine print, even the captions.
As Christians, if someone were to ask you, “What do you believe about this or that?” Hopefully, you can answer their question.
Now let us take it a step further. What if the person continued and asked, “Why do you think that?”
Now what? Answers like, “That’s what the preacher says” or, “That’s what the church teaches” or “That’s what my grandma told me when I was a kid” is not good enough. The “what” answer could be spot on, but the “why” response does not give credibility to the “what.”
There are many examples of reading the Scripture in the Bible. Still, the command to Christians is to study. 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.”
Again, I ask, remember when you studied in school? Do you read the Bible over and over, asking questions, looking for the small details, as if you were studying for a test?
According to a 2019 study by factsandtrends.net, 32 percent of Protestants claim to read the Bible every day; 27 percent “a few times a week.” Can we expect high test scores if only 59 percent of students are engaged in the textbook? Also, the survey speaks of only reading, not study. With
that, how much are they reading? Five chapters, one chapter, one verse? Does reading fulfill God’s command of “study,” as mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15?
To answer that question, study the rest of the verse. Let us look at it phrase by phrase.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God” – The word study, implies something more profound than a casual reading. When reading any book, you will learn of the characters and the general plot. You can follow along in the narrative and have an idea of what is going on. After reading the book, and time goes by, you may still remember the main characters’ names and the general lesson from the story, but many details are lost, long forgotten.
On occasion, Christ tells the Apostles that they were not ready for Him to reveal something to them. The Bible works that way as well. At first, as you read, as you study, you will miss things; there are things you do not understand. But the more you learn, the light comes on, and the Holy Spirit opens the words to you. Another schoolhouse example would be math as the kindergartner is ready for one plus one, but unable to calculate algebra. However, the more the child studies; eventually, he can solve 2A +3B =C.
“A workman that needeth not to be ashamed” – if study makes us a good workman, then study must be part of the training process. Think of the opposite here – a lack of study makes us an ashamed workman. The Bible is God’s way of giving us information. The amount of info is too numerous to mention, but a few things are; it tells us about Him. His likes, His dislikes, His personality. The Scripture informs us of eternal life and how to obtain it. The Scriptures talks of experiences in the here and now – finances, marriage, the type of person we should be, raising children; the topics seem endless.
Without the study of the Word, how can we be ready as circumstances arise? Your opportunity to make the right choice increases with the learning of the Word (Psalm 119:11).
Lastly, “rightly dividing the word of truth.” The last word here may be the key. “Truth.” Does it make any sense not to study the truth? One would hope the books a doctor studied in medical school told him about the human body. Are you ready and confident entering into surgery with a doctor that has not learned how to remove that appendix of yours? What if he is not sure of which thing in your body is the appendix? “I’ll just cut something out and hope that is it” is not what we want to hear in our pre-op talk.
None of us are willing to enter surgery that way. Why do Christians, through a lack of study of God’s instruction book — the Bible — continue to go through life this way?
Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.preacherjohnson.com. E-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUJTV2A If you email, inform me where you have seen Preacher’s Point. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.