Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part column.
When one looks up the word “challenged,” the definition is given as “presented with difficulties.” This word fits the subject of this study very well in that the rigors of life challenge anyone who desires to truly study the word of God.
Jobs, family, recreation, church responsibilities are all legitimate things that can push Bible study aside, if one is not careful. One must treat Bible study like any other thing he desires to do, which may mean scheduling a time to study.
Setting a definite time and place to study is a great idea. Dedicated study will draw one closer to God and help to accomplish the plea of Peter as he wrote, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” This challenge needs to be taken seriously. God’s people, under the Law of Moses, saw times when they had forgotten the Law of Jehovah – and in doing so were led away from God and eventually led away into captivity. The northern tribes were captured by Assyria, and then a little over 130 years later the southern tribes were overthrown by Babylon.
This was a sorry time for God’s people. The prophets gave numerous warnings, but they refused to listen to God’s spokesmen. The words of those prophets serve as a warning to Christians today that the study of God’s word is important.
The challenge of finding the right time to study is only one way of understanding the challenge to study. When the Spirit directed Paul to pen the second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Each person must ask themselves the questions, “Am I studying daily?” “Am I approved unto God?” Knowing that God, in his great wisdom, has told man to study should cause one to want to accept the challenge.
Again, the words of Paul need to be taken personally and seriously if one is to “study to show thyself approved unto God ...” This makes it a personal thing. In the context of the passage, Paul was talking to Timothy; however, the application can be made to all who follow Christ.
On one occasion Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
One must be aware of what the Bible teaches. If a person does not know the way to live his life, how will they be ready for the day of judgment? The individual’s destiny will not depend on how much their ancestors knew about the Bible, or how much a spouse knows. Each person will be judged based on their life (II Cor. 5:10).
The passage continues: “... a workman that needeth not to be ashamed...” Anyone who is a follower of God ought to know that he is to be a workman.
When thinking of being a workman, the words of Jesus come to mind: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest (Matt. 9:37).
Christians are to teach and baptize others. If the entire world would follow God’s plan for man’s salvation and then live for Christ each day, the world would be a much better place.
The second part, “that needed not to be ashamed,” means that one is a dedicated worker, a true student of the word. It also means they seek to grow and to teach others; they then can know that they have no reason to blush for they have done their best.
Next week we will continue our thoughts on being “challenged to study the word of God.”