“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
Paul has been working hard to remind Timothy on all that he needs to do to help the word of God to continue to go forth. It is going to require a lot of intentional acts in his life to see the work of the gospel expand. As the letter of 2 Timothy continues Paul wants to encourage Timothy by providing 3 illustrations or pictures of faithfulness.
This week during Refuge we unpacked the first of these pictures, “The Unashamed Worker.”
An Overview of the Picture
The image is broken down by comparing a good workmen with a bad workmen.
The Good Workman
- They are diligent and hard working
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved”
- To do your best is to strive, be diligent or to make every effort
- People are called to be holy, or to be “approved by God” and so that is why Paul had earlier told Timothy to “train yourself for righteousness” (1 Timothy 4:7).
- The good workman will be diligent in increasing godliness in their own lives but will also be hard working in preparing to teach others the truth from God’s words.
- They are focused on God
- “a worker who has no need to be ashamed”
- The challenge is are we striving for the approval of those that are around us or are we striving for the approval of God.
- During difficult or tough times if our focus is on God then it will help us put things into a proper perspective that we ultimately are seeking to follow God who is the one ultimately brings us life.
- They are careful and accurate in their teaching
- “rightly handling the word of truth”
- The image behind “rightly handling” is that of a road builder cutting a straight path.
- “Timothy must teach the Word carefully and clearly to help the hearers stay on the path of life.” – Tony Merida
- Good workmen will desire to first understand but then teach others the truths of God’s words rightly and accurately, that truth would be promoted and not just the opinions of man.
The Bad Workman
- They wander from the truth
- Bad workmen swerve from the path and they miss the mark of truth.
- For those teaching God’s word to others it must hold to orthodox Christian beliefs and must hold to a core set of beliefs. For those around Timothy they were teaching falsely about the resurrection from the dead.
- Their work has devastating effect
- “for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness…They are upsetting the faith of some.” – 2 Timothy 2:16,18
- Those who are listening to bad workmen are led down the wrong path that leads to ungodliness, away from true faith in God, and ultimately to death. This turning away slowly affects individuals and then also the church as a whole as it spreads from one member to another.
Application for Today
God has given a command in 2 Timothy 2:2 (recap here) to work hard in taking the truths of God’s word that we received and to take it and teach it to others with the expectation that they would do the same.
Following this command we are encouraged by remembering that the word of God is unbound and it will accomplish what it is set out to do. It will change lives and bring people to salvation in Christ.
In this passage, we are encouraged to remember that God is choosing to use us to accomplish His will but that we will only do so if we work like the good workmen.
- In what area do you need to be more hard working in deepening your own faith? How do you need to be more diligent in sharing the truths you have received with others?
- Who are you trying to please with the actions you take? Are you after the approval of men or the approval of God?
- What areas do you need to grow in to better understand God’s word? What ways do you need to improve in order to better help others to better understand God’s word as well?