"Show Thyself Approved . . . . "

Eugene Crawley
Shelbyville, Tennessee

In writing to Timothy, among other things, Paul made this very interesting and vital admonition, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

This is a statement with which most brethren are quite familiar. It is one that we have read, heard quoted and heard read ever so many times. But are we impressed as we ought to be with all that is found in it? Maybe we are not aware of some of the very important and impressive truths. Let us see!

1. Study is enjoined. Perhaps this is the thing (duty) we remember most from this reference – that we should study! For sure, and I would not discount or discourage to any degree the important and essentiality of study, and the value of it to all of us.

2. Approval of oneself is seen. Certainly no one can so live, act or teach so that he may secure or gain God's approval for someone else. Individual, personal duty surely is emphasized here. If one is ever approved unto God it must be by his own work, his own efforts.

3. To be a workman. Christianity is indeed an active, demanding religion; one surely must work. We should remember that we are "workers together with God," as Paul admonished the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:9). By our work we may reach the place that we need not be ashamed, either before God or man.

4. Word to be rightly divided. We must recognize the value and importance of proper division of the word of truth. We should fear making an improper division and, if proper division can be made, so can improper. Thus, we need to strive for correct dividing and proper understanding.

5. Approved unto God. Have we put so much emphasis and attention to some things, as these, and failed to notice and be impressed with this truth? Do we appreciate and respect the demand made here? Some things that are not required here are "approved unto men," "approved unto brethren," or "approved unto self." Seemingly much effort is made by not a few to have the approval of either brethren or men, sometimes both, even to the oversight and neglect of gaining God's approval. Do we not realize the vital requirement here is "approved unto God"? Let us recognize this, and then let us strive by study and effort to gain God's approval, even though we may not gain the approval of men, for this is what will really count in the last day!

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Author: jfm

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