I read a story about a man arrested for driving under the influence of caffeine.
The story was promoted by a number of legitimate news sources.*
But it wasn't true.
The only substance discovered in the man's blood was caffeine, but he was arrested for reckless driving, not for drinking too many espressos.
This reminded me of the way Biblical truths are often handled.
Half truths, twisted meanings, lopsided facts, and biased explanations designed to make God look bad and Christians look stupid.
But perhaps the most tragic twisting is done by Christians themselves, taking a few passages out of context, missing the balance and tension in Scripture, learning incomplete principles.
That's why 2 Timothy 2:15 should be every Christian's life verse: Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
* I found it on both an NBC news affiliate (http://nbc4i.com) and UPI, United Press International (http://www.upi.com), which claims reliable news reporting since 1907. I believe both have since removed it. Snopes explained the truth.
While this passage was written to Timothy, a preacher of the Gospel, the principles apply to every Christian. Let's look at elements found in 2 Timothy 2:15:
1. Do your best
We should be diligent, deliberate, and disciplined studying God's Word.
One method for gaining understanding of a passage is to look at it in several translations. So let's do it with this verse:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2. To present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed
Modern Christian culture often promotes a type of self-contentment that isn't found in Scripture. When we realize the awesome price paid for our sins, nothing should stop us from fully giving ourselves to Christ, renewing our minds in His Word.
Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Note also that we are to present ourselves to God for approval, not to man. If the approval of men is our goal, we won't present the Gospel accurately. 1 Thessalonians 2:4: On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
3. Who correctly handles the word of truth
We must never forget the importance of what we're called to handle correctly:
Hebrews 4:11: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Take a moment and pray that God gives you the motivation to study His Word carefully and consistently so you can handle it correctly.
There are many popular Bible teachers who do not correctly handle God's Word. Instead, they use the Word for profit or because they are genuinely misguided themselves. So ask God to give you discernment about teachers as well.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com