Grace for God’s Workers

Key Verse: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
—II Timothy 2:15

Selected Scripture:
II Timothy 2:1-15

PAUL WROTE THE SECOND epistle to Timothy while in prison at Rome. The emperor Nero was showing greater hostility toward Christians. Paul may have realized that his time was drawing to a close. He expresses these sentiments towards the close of this epistle. What can he tell Timothy that would be helpful to him? Timothy was like a son to Paul. Their relationship in the Lord went back a long ways. Paul mentions this at the beginning of this epistle. He wanted to impart to Timothy encouragement and strength, so he wrote, “My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (chap. 2:1,2) He then used three illustrations of the Christian way. The first was that of a soldier who would devote himself to his military duties and not be involved with civilian affairs, trying to please his commanding officer. The second was that of an athlete who would not be crowned as a victor unless he strove to compete according to the rules. The third was that of a farmer who labored hard to grow the crops and was entitled to partake of the fruits. Paul was hoping that Timothy would understand how to perform the work that had to be done through these illustrations.

In his own personal situation he was glad to suffer for the cause of Christ. Although he was shackled as a prisoner, he reminded Timothy that no one can shackle the Word of God. Paul knew that the work being done in his day, and continuing to our day, is the selection of those willing to follow Jesus by taking up their cross and denying themselves. Hence he says that he is willing to “endure all things for the elect’s sakes,” or those chosen by God to be partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that these may “obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”—vss. 9,10

This is a class of people who make a consecration of their lives and are considered to be dead with Christ. As Paul wrote before, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3) Paul writes, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”—II Tim. 2:11-13

Paul then advises Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God.” He was to study God’s Word—the doctrine—to become completely acquainted with God’s plan. He was to study himself, his heart and his life. He was to rightly divide the word of Truth by placing scripture properly to the present or future, to natural Israel or spiritual Israel, or to the world. In so doing he would be “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” (vs. 15) We also are to apply these words given to Timothy to ourselves. We are to study God’s Word in every way to be assured we are walking in the right direction.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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