Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of God’s Word for the believer. However, it seems that there has been a growing indifference to the Word among Christians today. Even many, that attend church and enjoy the worship service and are very sincere in their Christian life, do not seem to have much interest in Bible study.
Way back in the time of Samuel, we find this statement; a very sad statement: And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 1 Samuel 3:1. The Word of the Lord was precious, rare, not frequent. There was no open vision. God was not being revealed, not because He did not want to, but because the people had no interest.
The same might be said today. And, lack of the Word is stunting to spiritual growth. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18. How can we “keep” (guard) the Word if we have not taken it in? This is not just a mere reading of the Bible, but studying and laying hold of God’s Word in our lives. It becomes an integral part of our lives, and the Holy Spirit uses it to develop growth.
Paul encourages Timothy several times, and I have been especially impressed with the thought of the individual responsibility that is laid out for us. When Paul writes to Timothy, he is writing to an individual, and each one of us can and should take that as if it were written directly to us. After warning Timothy of the condition of those that would deceive, he encourages Timothy as follows: But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. 2 Timothy 3:14. What is the answer to the evil of this world, and the deception of the enemy? Continuing in God’s Word.
In the previous chapter, Paul encourages Timothy to “hold fast the form of sound words” 2 Timothy 1:13. The word “sound” means healthy. We need to lay hold of the healthy spiritual food that we need. We know what happens in the natural when we consume unhealthy food (and yet we still do it). The same is true spiritually.
The Word of God is vital for our ability to go into the battle. Ephesians 6:17. Even Jesus showed us by example when tempted in the wilderness. His response to Satan was always from the Scriptures. He wanted us to understand the importance of the Word in our battle with the enemy.
Each one of us has an individual responsibility to study and lay hold of God’s Word for ourselves. Paul encouraged Timothy to study for himself. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15. We will not be able to know the enemy’s attack coming against us if we do not know what God’s Word says. We also will not be able to recognize false teachers unless we know the truth.
We do not want to just be skimmers of the Word, but rather study the depths and allow it to take residence in our hearts. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16. It is not enough to just hear from time to time; we need to take it in for ourselves, and it needs to dwell in us.
The Word changes us from within by the work of the Holy Spirit. Many people read the Bible, but do not take it in. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13. We want to be like these saints. The Word must be mixed with faith, that is, taken in faith for it to be effectual. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Hebrews 4:2.
So, since we want to grow spiritually and be pleasing to our Lord, we must take an interest in studying and laying hold of the Word. Each individual has a responsibility to study the Word for themselves. While it is important to be fed in church by those God has placed as pastors and teachers, we should not limit our intake to just those few times each week. It is not enough that my dad and grandpa know the Word. It is not enough that my pastor knows the Word, I need to know for myself, and have a revelation of the truth. Let us lay hold by faith.