If one thing is clear from the pastoral epistles (I, II Timothy and Titus), the burden to be learners. Perhaps the most straightforward command is found in II Timothy 2:15-16,
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, but shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
The word study in the Greek is σπουδάζω (spoudázō) and is in the aorist, active, and imperative form. Meaning that this word is a command to be performed at all times. Why? To be approved of God and notice, not by men. God is our Master, and this makes a difference for “In ministry, the difference between the good and bad workman is that the former wants the approval of God upon his work, whereas the latter wants the approval of men” (Williams, 2007).
Don’t argue for arguing sake.
In verse 14, Paul encourages Timothy to remind the people, “charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” Apparently, these people like to argue and have discussions that robbed Christianity of truth and action. One of my professors at Wesley Biblical Seminary, Dr. Matt Friedeman, often said something to the point that, “Christians that sit around talking will only make disciples who sit around and talk.” This pointless chatter still takes place today as “There are also those in our churches, who may not be great talkers, but they are forever getting caught up in the latest fad or novelty on the Christian scene, instead of getting down to some solid Bible study that will inform their minds and deepen their understanding of those essential truths of which Paul reminds Timothy” (Willams, 2007).
Study God’s word.
If we come back to the word study, we understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean to sit under teachers or to be in a classroom. Instead, it implies diligent focus, keen interest, and intense desire. The focus of our study is the “word of truth” in verse 15. Ministers are workmen and “The emphasis in this paragraph is that the workman needs to be diligent in his labors so that he will not be ashamed when his work is inspected” (Wiersbe, 1996).
Those who are called to preach God’s Word need the attitude of the early apostles in Acts 6:2, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” and 6:4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” We are to give ourselves over to God’s Word so that we are approved workmen for God.
Share the Gospel truth.
Paul told Timothy that he needed to be constant in “rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). In other words, he was to cut straight, “the metaphor being from a father or a steward cutting and distributing bread among his children” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, 1997). To do anything other with God’s Word would corrupt the Scripture. We are to share what God has put forward and not our own opinions.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Williams, P. (2007). Opening up 2 Timothy. Leominster: Day One Publications.