Shelby G. Floyd
The apostle Paul commanded his son in the gospel, Timothy, to : “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 ESV). From his childhood Timothy had enjoyed superior advantages, for his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, had taught him the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Paul had also imparted to Timothy a miraculous gift which he was told to stir up, or use (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). Notwithstanding all of this, however, Timothy still needed to study the Bible, God’s word.
Some critics of the Bible are deriding the use of the word study in 2 Timothy 2: 15. They say this passage does not teach that we should read, meditate upon, and examine the Holy Scriptures. But is this criticism correct? The word from which study is translated carries with it the idea of making haste, exerting oneself, endeavoring and giving diligence, which is exactly the meaning of the English word study. When one studies the Bible, one should give diligence, exert oneself and endeavor to understand what the will of God is. Therefore, the English word study in this context is an exact representation of the original language.
This is not the only passage in the Bible which emphasizes the need for children of God to apply their minds to the study of God’s word. We are told that the Bereans “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). To fulfill the noble purpose for which man was created, we, like the Bereans, must search the scriptures daily. The word study, therefore, does not mean just to read the Bible but to thoroughly search the scriptures to understand the truth.
The Psalmist described the man who is blessed: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalms 1:2). When we properly study the Bible, then, the meditations of our heart will be upon the scripture day and night.
One reason so many Christians fall short in studying the Bible is because it does require effort, diligence and exertion of our energies. The Sage, Solomon, said, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). After all these years there is still no end to the making of books, but the book that demands our utmost attention is the Bible, which is still the best seller; and we should count it a joy to have the privilege to ponder God’s word. And, like Job, we should esteem it more than our necessary food (Job 23:12).
Shelby G. Floyd, Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142