Approved unto God

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

I think this verse is fairly well known; it is the basis of the children’s AWANA program (AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed). [I worked with the AWANA program a long time ago]

This verse was recently brought to my attention at church, and part of this article comes from observations made by others. I am enthused about some of the truths that this verse holds, and I wanted to share thoughts about it.

None of us enjoy being ashamed, but we do enjoy approval: here, we are encouraged to seek the approval of God. It is so easy to skip over little phrases like this, but it is paramount that we seek the approval of God… not so much the approval of parents, or pastor, or friends, or school authorities, but of God. If we will seek God’s approval, and the authority is also seeking God’s approval, the authority will approve what we do. It is easy to say this, but it is so common to fall short here. (Q: “Why do you dress like that?” or “Why do you listen to that music?” A1: “My parents make me.” A2: “My church has these rules {or standards}” A3: “Bro BigName doesn’t have a problem with it”). If these are true answers, then we have not bothered to seek the approval of God, and are letting others do the work for us. The command is to study for ourselves; we don’t need to automatically reject what others say, but we must study for ourselves and become convinced that “this” (whatever “this” is) has God’s approval. A better answer to the question is “Because it honors God”; or, if you like a longer answer “Because I am convinced from my study of God’s word that it is approved by Him”.

Now we have the goal: to became approved unto God. How do we accomplish this goal? In a word, “study”. Study is not just reading or not just reading slowly. Studying is engaging the mind: pausing or stopping to consider what we read.

We know from this verse what happens when we don’t study… we could (and probably will) become “ashamed”.

Finally, there is the requirement that God’s word (“the word of truth”) be rightly divided… properly understood and interpreted — there are a lot of material on this subject, and is way beyond the scope of today’s thought.

Example

As an example (and I may have used this before), let us do a quick “study” on hair length. Does God have anything to say about this subject? Yes; in fact, God has something to say about everything – there are passages in the Bible that talk about “in everything” and “whatsoever ye do”. Having said that, He gives more detail about some areas.

It is clear from a quick look at 1 Cor 11 that God desires men to have shorter hair than women. But there is more: the Bible tells us that the woman’s hair is given to her for a “covering”. Thus, it is also clear that a woman’s hair should be covering something that is not covered by the shorter hair on men. So, we can rule out the scalp, since that is covered by both. Eyes, nose, and mouth can be excluded for obvious reasons, leaving us with ears and/or neck. Thus, we can conclude that God would have women’s neck and/or ears by covered by hair, and men should not be.

That’s as far as I’m going with this example… perhaps further study could reveal more; I once heard a man teach that the basis of the word “covering” implied “down the side”, which, if true, would give weight to covering the ears. However, to use this article’s wording, from my own study of the Scriptures, I am not convinced.

Happy studying!

About Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.
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