How to Handle the Word

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:15

Our verse is the one from which the AWANA kid’s program derives its name: Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed.”  In its context, it is a part of the Apostle Paul’s message to Timothy regarding how he might prove himself to be “useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).  At the heart of that calling is the need to exercise great care in the study of the Scriptures.

You’ve likely sat through the instructions given by a flight attendant on an airplane concerning what to do in case of an emergency.  Perhaps you’ve listened attentively, most don’t.  You’ll see passengers chatting, or reading, or doing just about anything except listening!  Imagine instead if those same instructions were being given following the pilot’s announcement of an engine failure, pending depressurization of the cabin and emergency landing.  No doubt people would hang onto every word of the instructions, even anxiously digging through the seat pouch to find the printed version, so they could double check everything.  What changed?  In the second case, they were listening to the same instructions, but with a sense of urgency, which motivated them to pay careful attention.  How motivated am I in my reading and study of the Bible?  Am I more akin to the first case, or the second?

This verse is a call to the believer to exercise great awareness in the handling of the Scriptures.  And while we may not be called to teach in the same way Timothy was, we all “teach” in some manner, whether it be in relationship to our children, our spouse, or to others God has put into our lives.  If we are to prove useful to the master, it is necessary for us to exercise great care in the way we interact with our Bibles, approaching the Scriptures with an attitude of awe, respect and prayerful dependence on the Spirit.

A Bible study methods book, or course, will typically speak of these four steps to studying the Bible: preparation, observation, interpretation and application.  I’ve taught such courses, even to my dear Ugandan friends.  I would heartily encourage anyone to find and read a good book on Bible study methods if you haven’t been through such a study before. It’s of utmost importance that we exercise great care in our study of the Bible!

Ray Pritchard has commented on this: “Those who serve the Lord must take care in the way they handle the Word of God.  We must not use the Word of God to support a pet theory or our own ideas, but must follow the true teaching of the Word of God, making it the straight pattern for life. This involves knowing the Word and being able to explain it accurately to others.  First, I must know the Word. Second, I must apply it to my own life. Third, I must diligently study it in order to teach it. Fourth, I must teach it correctly so that others will understand it…So how are you doing in your knowledge of the Word? Do you read the Bible on a daily basis? What steps have you taken to grow deeper in the Word? If you want to be an “approved worker” whom God can use, you must be grounded in the Word. And remember, it doesn’t happen by accident. Make it your aim to know God’s Word deeply so God can use you greatly.”

“We must approach God’s Word as if our lives depended on it–because they do.”



Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Songwriters: Lynn Deshazo
Ancient Words lyrics © Capitol CMG Publishing, Integrity Music

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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