2 Timothy 2.15
“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.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that the word of God is the sword of the spirit. It is an essential weapon in our ongoing battle with the enemy. When Timothy was pastor of the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote to him and challenged him to “rightly handle the word of truth.”
This applies to all who follow Christ. We must all be workmen who know the scriptures and understand how to apply it to our lives.
Note the emphasis on being a “worker.” In this passage Paul paints a picture of the Christian as a skillful craftsman for whom the word is a tool that needs to be “rightly handled.” That means we must put in the time and effort to learn what the bible says, and we must put in time and effort to learn how to apply the bible to our lives.
We could put it this way: Be skillful in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
Orthodoxy = What does scripture say?
Orthopraxy = How does scripture apply to the situations of your life?
If the word of God needs to be “rightly handled,” that means it can also be “wrongly handled.” The enemy wants the people of God to be ignorant of what the Word says, and he wants them to be lazy and sloppy in how it applies.
Sadly, the enemy has often been successful in accomplishing this in our time. Many Christians are ignorant in their bible knowledge and lazy/sloppy in how they apply the bible to their lives.
This ignorance and sloppiness is no trivial thing.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” the Lord says in Hosea 4:6. Earlier in the same chapter the prophet said, “Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” (Hosea 4:1-2).
So it seems to be in our day, as well. Keep in mind that in the Hosea passage the Lord is not speaking to the pagan nations; he is speaking to his covenant people. The people he redeemed from Egypt. The people to whom he gave the Law at Mt Sinai. The people he blessed and to whom he gave the promised land. The people he called to be his agents on earth.
A few verses later in chapter 4, Hosea gives an ominous warning: “A people without understanding shall come to ruin.” (Hosea 4:14)
We are the covenant people today. We are the Israel of God. Like OT Israel, we have been redeemed from slavery; we have been given God’s word; we have been blessed and given the promise of the coming kingdom; we are the people the Lord has called to be his agents on earth.
May we hear and respond to the truth of the word of God. May we be faithful workers—spiritual craftsmen—who wisely and skillfully handle the sword of the Spirit as we apply it to the way we go about our lives every day.
Trust God and do the work.