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Study to show ourselves approved to God

by Don Costello  
5/30/2008 / Bible Studies

2 Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

1. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God"

a. study [4704 * spoudazo] [Zodhiates: To be diligent, earnest, eager.]

b. The word translated "study" in 2 Timothy 2:15 is translated "labor" in Hebrews 4:11; "give diligence" in 2 Peter 1:10; "will endeavor" in 2 Peter 1:15. The word was translated "study" by the KJ translators because of the association with the phrase, "rightly dividing the word of truth", and I think there is room for it. Personally I believe the blessing of "rightly dividing the word of truth", is pending upon "showing ourselves approved unto God." The context will bear this out. In light of that, the rendering of spoudazo to the idea of "diligence" is more precise.

c. shew [3936 * paristano] [Zodhiates: To place or set before someone, present, exhibit.]

1). Romans 12:1 "present"; Romans 6:13; "yield" Romans 6:16 "yield" . In light of these uses, whoever we are consistently obeying, to them we are presenting ourselves as "living sacrifices", "servants", and as "weapons". In light of the use here in 2 Timothy 2:15 we can also add we are "showing" ourselves as such to either God or the devil.

d. approved [1384 * dokimos] [Zodhiates:Proved, tried as metals by fire and thus purified. Hence to be approved as acceptable men in the furnace of adversity. Approval does not mean self-commendation, but the commendation of the Lord.]

2. "a workman"

a. workman [2040 * ergates] [Zodhaites: A laborer, primarily in farming. In 2 Timothy 2:15, a spiritual workman or laborer.]

b. Our salvation is the gift of God, we cannot work our way to heaven.

1). Ephesians 2:8, 9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Not of works, lest any man should boast."

c. Yet in this verse we are called "workman". How? Why? Because we are co-laborers with God, we are to labor and grow within our covenant relationship with him. The following passages with show exactly that meaning.

1). 2 Corinthians 6:1 "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

2). Colossians 1:29 "Wherunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

3). Philippians 2:12, 13 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

3. "that needeth not to be ashamed"

a. needeth not to be ashamed [anepaischuntos; a-without; epi-on, upon; aischuno-shame] [Strongs: a presumed derivative of the compound word 1909 epi & 153 aischuno; not ashamed, i.e., by implication irreprehensible:-- that needeth not to be ashamed.]

b. The following two passages contain the Greek word for shame, aischuno, of which the word in 2 Timothy 2:15 is a derivative.

1). 1 John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."

2). Philippians 1:20 "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or death."

c. The next two passages contain the Greek word, epaischunomai, [1870], [Zodhiates: To bring shame upon oneself, to be ashamed of.]

1). 2 Timothy 1:12 "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

2). Mark 8:38 "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

d. The implication I believe is obvious. The choice of whether or not we are going to be ashamed rests on us. If we choose to be obedient to his word, no matter what the cost, when we stand before Jesus we will not be ashamed. However, if we let peer pressure, or other things keep us from being obedient to his words and we are ashamed to do them, Jesus will be ashamed of us.

4. "rightly dividing the word of truth."

a. rightly dividing [3718 * orthotomeo; ortho-straight; temno-to cut] [Vines: The meaning passed from the idea of cutting or dividing, to the more general sense of rightly dealing with a thing. Teaching Scripture accurately.] [Zodhiates: To handle correctly, skillfully; to correctly teach the word of truth.]

b. I am fully persuaded that our ability to receive the Spirit led revelation/interpretation, and then to Spirit led teach the Scriptures, is greatly affected by our free will to either diligently walk in the light revealed to us, or to entertain sin in our lives. I believe 2 Timothy 2:15 touches on it. We can see it also in 2 Peter 3:16.

1). 2Peter 3:16 "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction."

2 Timothy 2:16

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

1. "But shun profane and vain babblings"

a. shun [4026 * pariistemai] [Zodhiates: to place oneself from a distance from, avoiding.]

b. profane [952 * bebelos] [Zodhiates: unhallowed, the opposite of sacred. Profane, void of religion.] [A synonym of profane is secular.]

c. vain babblings [2757 * kenophonia; keno-vain; phone-a voice] [Zodhiates: Empty or fruitless speaking.]

d. Would it be so out of context to interpret it thus: Avoid, place much distance between yourself and secular vanities.

2. "for they will increase unto more ungodliness."

a. increase [4298 * prokopto; pro-before, forward; kopto-to cut, strike, impel] [Zodhiates: In 2 Timothy 2:16 it means to further.]

b. Profane, secular, empty speaking will increase [or descend] into ungodliness. The process is further described in the next verse.

2 Timothy 2:17

And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

1. "And their word will eat as doth a canker"

a. will eat [3542 * nome ] [Zodhiates: Pasture, the act of feeding. Used metaphorically for a feeding, eating, the spreading as gangrene.]

b. canker [1044 * gaggraima] [Zodhiates: Gangrene or mortification which, unless properly treated, spreads from the place affected and eats away or consumes the neighboring parts of the body and at length destroys the whole body.]

c. This verse reinforces the principle of the power of words. Here Paul writes that words, profane, unhallowed, and secular will further ungodliness. These kinds of words will eat like gangrene and instead of flesh it eats something else. The next two verses reveal just what it eats.

2. "of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;"

a. Hymenaeus [Unger's Bible Dictionary] "Pertaining to Hymen, the god of marriage, a person in Ephesus twice named in the Epistles of Timothy, who along with Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20) and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:18) had departed from the truth in faith and practice. The chief doctrinal error of these persons consisted in maintaining that "the resurrection was past already" 2 Timothy 2:18. The precise meaning of this expression is by no means clearly ascertained; the most general and perhaps best founded opinion is, that they understood the resurrection in a figurative sense of the great change produced by the gospel dispensation. Thus he stands as on of the earliest of the Gnostics."

b. As mentioned above the Apostle Paul had dealings with Hymenaeus that was recorded in his first epistle to Timothy.

1). 1 Timothy 1:19, 20 "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."

2). In Scripture the phrase to "deliver to Satan" is not mere expulsion from the body, it is that, but also carries with it some sort of physical punishment inflicted from satanic sources.

3). In 1 Timothy 1:19, 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are described as having "made shipwreck", because they put away faith. These individuals such, as who Jude described in Jude 12.

4). Jude 12 [NASB] "These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feats"

5). Reefs cause shipwreck.

2 Timothy 2:18

Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

1. "saying that the resurrection is past already"

a. The doctrine of the resurrection is one of the foundational doctrines of Christianity.

1). Hebrews 6:1, 2 "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

b. Saying the resurrection has already occurred is to deny a physical resurrection. The Apostle Paul called such an individual a "fool", 1 Corinthians 15:36.

2. "and overthrow the faith of some."

a. Perhaps this is what was being eaten away by the profane secular words as gangrene, their faith, their foundation.

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

1. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure."

a. In light of the context, I believe the foundation of God consists of two things. The first is Jesus Christ.

1). 1 Corinthians 3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

2. "having this seal"

a. seal [4973 * sphragis] [Zodhiates: A seal impressed as a guarantee of something's genuineness; as a motto, inscription.]

b. The seal consists of two things.

3. "The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

a. The seal is undoubtedly linked to departing from iniquity and being known by Jesus.

1). Matthew 7:21-27 "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock;
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

b. As Christians we must depart from iniquity.

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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