What does “rightly dividing the word of truth” mean to us young people of the church? This text in II Timothy 2:15 is not easy to understand for us relatively immature believers who need direction and guidance.
In an attempt to unravel this subject, let’s begin by asking what place the Bible has in our lives. Is it replaced by worldly novels? by sports? by entertainment? by self-pleasure? Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, these things ought not to be so. How can a born-again Christian be stagnant in the things of the world? How can one born into the truth of righteousness live in the lie of wickedness?
Of course, every one of us hears the preaching of the Word every Sunday. We ought to know that our human natures are still heavy upon us, causing us to sometimes remain in our sinful “habits.” But we also ought to know that the power of God within us is far, far stronger than that sinful nature. How then are we to show ourselves “approved of God”?
This verse sets priorities with its first word “study.” How often do we really study this precious gift God has given us? Do we begin and end each day reading a portion of the Scriptures? Do we attend Bible studies or hold our own studies? We need to search the Scriptures, comparing, examining, and meditating upon them, something that is not always easy to start, let alone to continue. However, with the proper attitude, this can be maintained and benefited from greatly.
One thing that amazes me about new believers is their steadfast reading of the Bible. Why is it so hard for us who have grown up in the faith to have this kind of zeal for reading the sourcebook of our instruction? We can always learn more from this wondrous book. Shouldn’t this be the chief means of “getting wisdom” as the author of Proverbs puts it?
Verse 15 also mentions not being ashamed. We as young people must step forward on this issue. For example, what do we do when confronted by the unbelieving neighbor? Are we too embarrassed of the gospel to make a stand? We need not be ashamed; we have the Almighty God on our side. Another example is our actions when we get together. Do we tempt each other and encourage each other in all kinds of wickedness? The Bible calls us instead to build one another up by speaking of Him Who has redeemed us. We should talk of what God has done in our lives. We need to speak out against sin, and the pleasures we sometimes take in enjoying those sins.
Finally, brethren, rightly dividing the word of truth can be applied to prayer. Sadly enough, our lack of this requirement probably outweighs the presence of it among us. It is also hard to pray and to remain vigilant in prayer. But prayer is especially important in two aspects of our lives: temptation and spiritual growth. When we are tempted, do we rely on our own strength (which is nothing but weakness), or do we call upon our Father as our shield from all the fiery darts of the devil and his host? In allowing Satan to tempt us, God is trying our faith. He is, in effect, telling us we need to grow in specific areas. Ought we not to express to Him that we can only make it through His trials with His help?
Prayer is not only necessary to overcome the sins stemming from temptation, but it also will cause us to grow spiritually. Can we maintain a steadfast study of the Bible on our own without a good prayer life? Can we be ready to always explain the hope that is in us without talking to Him who provides that hope? Of course not! We need to daily ask God for more grace to carry on. In these ways, we, as the future body of Christ, can be strengthened to carry on the good fight. Then we will be able to discern between right and wrong and use the principles of this Word to the glory of our merciful Savior.