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.
We witness today a growing amount of false teachers; they are everywhere. Sadly a large portion of Christians are continually being misled by these teachers. It is creating a vicious cycle in our nation particularly where those who learn from false teachers are also going out and falsely teaching.
Our holy book – the Bible – is like the ocean. You can sit in a boat on the ocean and see it’s beauty on the surface. Occasionally, if you’re lucky, you might see dolphins or a whale rise to the surface, but unless you dive in to the ocean, you will never witness it’s true beauty, or understand just how wondrous and beautiful and complex of a system it is. The same is with scripture. Sadly, I see so many people sitting in that boat, just looking at the surface, thinking they have the big picture of what’s underneath, but they couldn’t possibly understand the depths of the ocean because they have not looked deeper.
I had a friend recently tell me that she believes intense study of scripture just is not necessary….that God should allow simple understanding of His Word. Needless to say, that friend was completely misled in scripture, on NUMEROUS issues. One in particular was she believed scripture told her that ALL SOULS go to Heaven when we die and they sleep there until the day of judgment. Hitler’s soul, Jeffrey Dahmer’s soul, etc. Is sin allowed into Heaven? EVER? NO. She had become a victim of the “soul sleep” theory. She refused to understand that the verses she quoted were taken out of context (Ecclesiastes). But this is what surface dwellers do. Sadly, oftentimes they become immersed in their false beliefs and start lashing out at those of us who try to help them with better understanding. They become unteachable at that point and then we must rely on God in prayer to remove more scales from their eyes.
Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Studying scripture is no different than studying for a big exam. It takes learning from many resources from respected (past and present) teachers. It takes learning what each word means by studying it’s origins, its (sometimes many) definitions, and the entire context of which the word is used. If you had to write a big paper on a subject, wouldn’t you WANT to know that subject fully as to not make yourself look foolish to your teacher and fail? Sadly, that is the attitude of many Christians today. They want the quick and easy version, versus the real and deep understanding.
The bible speaks greatly about false teachers and their accountability to God – and let me just say, false teaching does not bode well at all with Him.
2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
So how can one start to become a workman approved by God? It’s really pretty easy if you’re willing to put in the time.
1. Read the verse in question in context – I use the 20/20 rule; 20 verses before and 20 verses after. This ensures a more in depth understanding of the verse. We should also look at WHO wrote the verse(s), who they were writing to, and the reason for the writings.
2. Compare scripture; oftentimes scripture will back scripture. We can often find different subjects in the bible spoken of in different parts of the bible. If online, you can do a word or phrase search to compare verses. If you have a good bible, it will often show cross references at the bottom or you can use the Concordance in the back to research a word in other verses.
3. Use a blue letter lexicon that offers translations of words. I use the Blue Letter Bible online as I find it’s fast and easy to use. Some prefer to buy one of these in book form.
4. Read commentary on the passage(s) you are studying from well respected theologians. People like Augustine, Calvin, Martin Lloyd-Jones, Knox, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, George Whitfield, etc. are some good ones, to name a few.
5. Take your time! Sometimes I have spent WEEKS on a certain subject to ensure I fully understood it. If you care about God and His Word, your time getting to know Him should be viewed as one of the most valuable things you can do with Him.
6. Let the Holy Spirit and prayer guide you, along with the other things listed.
7. If you find yourself stuck on something, pray about it and watch the Lord reveal the answer. It may not be immediate, but He will bring it to you. It’s happened to me…sometimes it took a year or two, but it came nonetheless.
I pray all of you CARE enough to study scripture, and not just “read” it. I pray all of you have the desire to DIVE into the ocean, instead of being a surface dweller. I pray all of you show yourselves workmen approved by God, and fight to keep the REAL truth out there. Let’s help strengthen one another, and not ADD to the apostasy we see before us. Let’s stick together on this. I’m adamant about this subject because I fear standing before the Lord and having to answer to Him as to why I blasphemed His Name and Word through false teaching. That fear and reverence of the Lord keeps me humble and a hard worker to make sure I’m not out there spreading false gospel. Do you care enough to do that?
Peace to you all, today and every day. ❤