Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors [hupernikomen] through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Study to show yourself approved - 2 Timothy 2.15

I woke up in the early morning thinking of this verse and wondering what the significance of "approved" meant?
Since I memorized the King James version of this verse when I was a kid, this is what came to mind...
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.
Later, after I woke up again, I did some research.  Regarding the Greek background of 2 Timothy 2:15, I read this quote from "Interlinear Greek New Testament Bible" by Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener -

From "(1380) dokimos 2:255,183 dok'-ee-mos Adjective from (1380) ; properly, acceptable (current after assayal) , i.e. approved:--approved, tried. accepted, particularly of coins and money. accepted, pleasing, acceptable In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called "dokimos" or "approved". Donald Barnhouse"
[Note: you can find this book or similar Greek Interlinears on Amazon for little expense or free:]
So, how does this relate to studying Scripture? 

Paul is writing to Timothy whom he has placed as the pastor at Ephesus. Timothy is young and establishing himself where there were doubtless older more experienced people.  It would seem in light of the meaning of dokimos that Paul is saying that Timothy needs to know his scripture (the Old Testament) so that no one will find a way to question his authority or his knowledge based on sloppy Bible teaching.  In other words, Timothy will be "approved" to teach and pastor the church at Ephesus based on how well he knows and communicates the Word of God.
The ESV with footnote brings this out more clearly than the KJV...

2 Timothy 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, [a] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

[a] 2 Timothy 2:15 That is, one approved after being tested

What does this signify to us now?   Why should a Christian be "approved" today?  Sure Timothy was a pastor and needed to be able to preach and teach, and we can easily see how that still applies.  But what about those who are not called to preach or teach in a church?  In Acts 17:11 we read that the Bereans diligently studied the scriptures to see if what they were taught accorded with Scripture.  Peter exhorted his readers in 1 Peter 3:15 to "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who askes for a reason for the hope that is in you."  All followers of Christ should strive to be effective communicators of the good news about Jesus Christ.  Following Paul's advice to Timothy, we do not have to go to a Bible college or seminary to "be approved" but studying and knowing Scripture will certify through our conversations that we do know what God's Word says.  Let us show the full value of the Good News, untrimmed and undiluted.  Combine that knowledge with grace and acts of mercy, and people will see the love of Christ in us.

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