2 Timothy 2:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Study. Oh, how I hated that word in High School. Of course, high school was easy for me. I went through it carefree and casual, rarely bringing home any homework because I worked it out during school time. I pulled A’s and B’s and was second in my class at graduation. I never studied and never developed good study habits. I did enough to get the grades and enough accolades that I landed a full ride scholarship at an upper echelon technical University to study physics. I was into space exploration as these were the years of the Gemini and Apollo projects. It was an exciting time of life. Too bad I wasted it all away. I dropped out of that school due to drugs and booze, and refused a second scholarship because my head was so exhausted from the high. I went to work shredding paper and making copies in a big company’s copy center. Just a day after day, high energy, low thought process job. Perfect for someone who didn’t want to study. I have to admit that I rarely came to that night shift job sober. Bit I always got the work done in plenty of time that I could take a nap before going home.
Then I got saved. This event changed my perspective. I started reading the scriptures. I started counseling with someone who helped me turn my negative life into positive thought. I got my longer-than-shoulder-length hair cut to a “business man’s” haircut. And I started to study. Not the Bible yet, but the computer systems and programs we were working with (COBOL and JCL language at that time). I started studying and got a promotion, winding up on first shift and gaining a lot of respect. I became a very valuable asset to the whole operation, and also started training other department heads how to write programs to generate their own reports. All because I learned to study!
After two years of that I met my wife while on a trip to Iowa (a long story in itself) and the Lord sent me to Iowa with no job and a girlfriend I had only met and been with three times. I got a job at a discount store chain making minimum wage and slowly moved up the ladder because I studied systems, plan-o-grams, ordering procedures, everything. At the same time, I began to see a benefit in studying my Bible and not just reading it. I’m not sure exactly when this portion of scripture jumped out at me, but when it did, I knew I wanted to be approved unto God and worthy of all he had blessed me with. So, I studied the word more and more. I used commentaries and chain-references and concordances to go through the Word with a fine-tooth comb. I wasn’t into memorization, but I was into study! Through the years I have studied many different scriptures many different ways for many different reasons. All have led me to where I am today. I still have no idea the depths and treasures that I have not uncovered yet but I will keep digging. This Word of God is inexhaustible. It will challenge even the most educated student over and over again. That is why this particular scripture is so important. As we grow in our Christian walk, God expects more of us. We constantly must study to show ourselves approved. He will always give us more as we seek more. But if we stop seeking, we will fall behind. There is no middle ground.
So, what is the best way to study God’s Word. There are many different methods. However, none of them are any good if you do not first pray about your study time and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth, which Jesus said He would do. Too many men, churches, universities and groups have studied without the Holy Spirits guiding, merely depending on their intellectual prowess to understand the Word of God. This has led to false teachings in the thousands and a scattering of people claiming to be Christians into disillusionment. As a friend of mine often says, there is only one Truth. There cannot be your truth and my truth. If you want to stay on the narrow road that leads to eternal life, the only way to get there is with the Holy Spirits guidance.
Now that you have prayed and asked for the right guidance, you have to determine what it is you want to know. One way to study God’s word is to choose a topic to study. Let’s say you want to learn more about the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. You’re a new Christian and you have heard messages on the price Jesus paid for your redemption, but you just don’t understand what that means. You were told if you pray and ask forgiveness for your sins, He will forgive you. You acknowledged that He took your sins to that cross so you would be free from sin. You can feel the new life within you because the Holy Spirit is starting to guide you as you pray. But how does that all work? Why does it work? This is a very big subject and spans the whole Bible. To be honest, the best way to understand His sacrifice is to pray earnestly for guidance, start at the beginning of the Bible and read it all the way through, looking for references to sin, sacrifice and forgiveness along the way. The Holy Spirit will show you that from Genesis to Revelation it is all about the blood. Without a proper understanding of the blood sacrifice in the Old Testament, you cannot possibly understand the blood that was spilled on the cross. You have chosen a subject that will take a lifetime and more to comprehend.
Once you have read all the way through the Bible on this huge subject, then you might want to go back and break it down further. You will now have a broad sense of His sacrifice, but there is so much more depth in Biblical study. It’s not just about the blood being spilled, but it is how that connects to you. Why is a blood sacrifice necessary? How has the blood shown forgiveness and deliverance in the Bible? Why do you even need forgiveness? What is sin anyway? How does the blood cover your sin? What happens when you apply the blood to your life? Why is Jesus so special that His blood cleanses my sin? Do you begin to see how a subject can be broken down further and bring you deeper into the Word of God? Jesus is very clear about wanting us to know the Father’s will for our lives. He said if we ask, we shall receive. Ask God to guide you in your study. Seek His truth every time you open up the Word. Knock on the door of wisdom so God can show you what it means for you. He promises to show you what you are seeking for.
Along the way you may come across a word that you don’t quite understand. Maybe the word love is intriguing to you and you want to understand it better. Again, you have chosen a huge subject that will take a lifetime to learn. When you look up love in a Strong’s concordance, you will see that many words are translated love. It has different meanings in different situations. Greek is a very hard language to understand but it is much more descriptive than English is. Greek breaks down into pieces each word and gives us a perspective that the English just doesn’t quite portray. Your study of this word, or any word, will take a lot of preparation and understanding of how the Greek is applied to each case of the word love that is mentioned in the Bible. Once again, you might want to break this down into studies of each different kind of love. What kind of love did Christ have? How does this love affect me? What should I do as a result of this love? Why does He love me? Looking up each separate word that is translated love and seeing how it is applied in scripture will give you a better understanding of that word.
You can now see that there are many different ways to study the word of God. I use them all. That word approved means that we are received or welcome. It is used of something that has passed the test, or become acceptable because it is genuine. This verse tells us that it is very important we take time in the Word of God. It is not enough to just accept Christ and then sit back and enjoy it. You have a mandate to know God’s word. Get in there and learn it to the best of your ability. You will be amazed at all that God will uncover for you.