Study God’s Word
2 Timothy 2:14–19, 22–26
The Bible bears witness to the value of people reading the word of God. God communicates the value and importance of His word by means of several analogies. God’s word functions in the following ways to assist believers to be firmly grounded in God’s truth. God’s word is a mirror that enables a believer to “look at his own face” in a mirror (James 1:23). The Bible also functions as milk that nourishes a believer to “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).
In our passage, the following terms are commands: remind, charge, be diligent, avoid, flee, pursue and reject.
Be diligent in studying God’s word. (14–15)
In his letters to his younger associate, Paul admonished Timothy of the importance of doctrinal truth. The Bible teaches us the glorious gospel of dying with Christ, living with Christ, enduring hardship in the name of Christ, sharing in Christ’s victory (ruling with Him) and experiencing His faithfulness. Paul strongly reminded Timothy of the uselessness and ruin of people’s lives caused by fighting about words.
The term translated “ruins” (CSB) is the Greek word “catastrophe.” People in Timothy’s church taught false, catastrophic doctrine. Further, Paul commands Timothy to present himself to a superior (Christ) as an unashamed, approved worker. Such a worker can “rightly divide” the Word of God. The Greek term translated “rightly dividing” means to “analyze correctly” or “to cut straight.”
Faithful study of God’s word keeps us grounded in the truth. (16–19)
I know firsthand the damage some people cause to Christianity because they love fighting over God’s word. Paul described such fighting as “irreverent.” The result of such irreverent, empty speech is godlessness that spreads throughout the body like gangrene or cancer, causing the death of living cells.
Individuals denying the resurrection is an example of death producing gangrene in the church. Today, there are “Christian” teachers that deny the future bodily resurrection. They limit the concept of resurrection to “spiritual resurrection.”
Obeying and sharing what we learn from God’s word benefits God’s kingdom. (22–26)
Like a good preacher, Paul begins to meddle in these verses. Paul challenged Timothy (and all Christians) in two areas of the Christian life: a command to flee and a command to pursue.
These two commands are how Christians can be “prepared for every good work” (v. 21). Flee youthful desires such as coveting or lust (two sins that are not limited to youth).
The remedy from Paul for the moral disease of lust is the command to purposely pursue godly virtues such as righteousness, faith, love, peace and calling “on the Lord [for help] out of a pure heart.” Pursing Christian virtues necessitates avoiding foolish disputes. A Christian should humbly seek to correct wayward Christians with the hope they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida