“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy ii.15 NKJV
One of the most important and indispensable elements of church life is the ministry of God’s Word. God’s Word – the Bible – is spiritual nourishment for a Christian’s soul and an agent of healing for his body. No amount of prayer, worship or music can compensate for the lack of robust preaching and teaching.
Therefore, ministers who can divide the word of truth rightly are foundational to any local church. The training and deployment of such ministers should therefore be the prime concern of any church leader. No one is born as a perfect teacher or preacher. Any one who thinks that he is called of God to lead a church should work hard – be diligent – at attaining excellence in this ministry.
The gold standard for all Bible teaching is not of terrestrial origin. God decides who preaches His Word rightly. Despite popular notions that there is no right way to interpret or teach the Scriptures, God is looking for ministers who will rightly divide the word of truth. To such men, who exercise great care and effort in this heavenly ministry, God grants His seal of approval. No human ordination can be a substitute for God’s seal of approval. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God …”
Those who fail to work hard at the proper study and ministry of God’s Word will have reasons to be ashamed of themselves when God examines their work. This explains why St. Paul exhorted Timothy to be a a worker who does not need to be ashamed. Those whose works are compared to wood, hay and straw will be shocked to see their work getting consumed by God’s fiery test. What appears to be praiseworthy and popular among people may get rejected by God. On the other hand, Christians whose works are relatively small and inglorious but precious like gold, silver and precious stones, will have reason to rejoice in that Day of reckoning. (Cf. 1 Corinthians iii.12-15)
Do you work hard at presenting yourself as a workman approved to God? Or, are you feeding those under your care with borrowed, stale food? Do you stand for the truth or do you dilute it with the world’s wisdom and cheap humor? If you are called of God to lead and feed God’s people, do not seek to please any man; do not seek to conform to any man-made creed. Instead, submit to God and to His Word of truth; seek His approval.
Winning God’s approval can set you at odds with several people. Christians will try in vain to fit you in one of their denominational straitjackets. Once they fail to so, they will cast you out. Often, ministers who are approved by God are not found among the exalted pantheon of bishops and professional clergy. They may be on the fringes of Christianity, bearing witness to God’s truth while suffering rejection and persecution from false ministers.