Tag Archives: how to conduct a bible study

Study To Shew Thyself Approved

Most of our readers are probably aware of Paul’s admonition to Timothy (KJV): “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).   Strictly speaking, the Greek word that has been translated “study” (spoudazo) means “to make effort, be prompt or earnest…diligence, be diligent, endeavour, labour” (Strong).  It means “to hasten, make haste” (Thayer).  The word was used in ancient military literature to compliment a soldier who followed his orders out of more than a sense of duty or obligation, but because the warrior was convinced that the fight was worth the sacrifice.  He not only followed his orders but he believed in them.  Of the infantry man who gave his all in the line of fire, it was said he had spoudason.  He was intensely in pursuit of his objective.   The King James translators selected the word “study” in view of the closing words of the verse: “rightly dividing the word of truth.”  It seems rather obvious that in order for someone to “rightly divide the word of truth” he must be “diligent” in something that would help him to achieve that end; hence he must be a good “student” of the word. 

 Study is hard work. There is a difference between “reading” and “studying.”  A person might “read” the newspaper, but unless he is deeply involved in the stock market, it is unlikely that a person would spend much time “studying” the newspaper.  Study is a gathering of facts; it is determining the meaning of words, and their relationship one to another in any given sentence, paragraph or larger context such as a book, manuscript or essay.  Study seeks to determine the meaning of a passage based upon the intent of the author.   A good student of any science or art takes the time to study various fields related to the particular subject he is endeavoring to learn.  It is no different with the Bible. 

 Study begins with reading the Bible; unfortunately most folks never get past this first step.   Having read a passage, the challenge lies in digging deep into that passage to glean heaven’s meaning, and then make application to our life.  It has been properly observed, “The books which help you most are those which make you think most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty” (author unknown).   No book challenges the thinking of men more than the Bible.   Simple in its structure, it is a storehouse of spiritual truth that is easily understood while at the same time challenging to even the most scholarly of men.  As one writer put it, “The Bible is an ocean of knowledge that little children can wade around in, yet no man can fathom the depths thereof.” 

 Perhaps one of the reasons men do not study the Bible is due to a failure to understand the rich value of Bible study.  The following is attributed to Henry Van Dyke: “Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its  own everywhere.  It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man.  Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life.  The wicked and proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother’s voice.  It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, sympathy, devotion, memory, and hope put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech.  No man is poor or desolate who  has this treasure for his own.  When the landscape darkens, and the trembling pilgrim comes to the valley of the shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, ‘Goodbye; we shall meet again’; and, confronted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness to light”

 Perhaps as this year draws to a close it would benefit each of us to make our resolution a month in advance of ushering in 2009.  Let each one of us determine that we are going to be students of God’s word so that we might reap the wonderful spiritual benefits that comes with “Giving diligence to show thyself approved unto God.”

By Tom Wacaster

Reading the Bible versus studying the Bible:  A Bible survey on reading the Bible versus studying the Bible.  Do you most often “read the Bible” or do you most often “study the Bible”?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How to correct false doctrine

How Can I Teach Without Fussing?

2 Tim. 2:23-26:


A.  One of the concerns Christians express is, “How do I teach someone without making him mad or angry?”

      1.  “How do I correct a doctrine that is wrong and not create animosity?”

      2.  This is the kind of teaching Paul has in mind at the end of 2 Timothy 2.  cf. 2 Tim. 2:23-26 

           a.  “In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they

                may know the truth.”  2 Tim. 2:25 

           b.  Correct (Strong’s: 3811), paideuo, ”to chastise or castigate with words, to correct.”

B.  Some discussions create fusses.  “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  And a

     servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.”  2 Tim. 2:23-24

     1.  Strife (Strong’s: 3163), macesqai, “quarrel.”

           a.  The word was used of armed combatants, or those who engage in hand-to-hand struggle.

           b.  Then it was used of those who engage in a war of words—quarrel, wrangle, dispute. 

     2.  “How do I chastise a person without creating a quarrel?”


I.  Realize that proper correction is an act of love and kindness


    A.  A good friend is someone who will tell you when you food stuck in your teeth or your slip is showing.”  (A friend

          will not withhold information; an enemy will). 


    B.  A good surgeon is invaluable when surgery is needed.  “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.
          Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Prov. 27:5-6


II.  “How can I communicate that I care during correction?”


     A.  Don’t fuss.


           1.  Think about what you’re going to say.  “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for

                 necessary edification, that it may impart graces to the hearers.”  Eph. 4:29

           2.  Think about how you are going to communicate it. 

                 a.  “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer

                      each one.”  Col. 4:6

                 b.  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Prov. 15:1


     B.  Be gentle.


           1.  “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”  1 Thess. 2:7

                a.  Gentle (Strong’s: 2261), hpios,“mild.”

           2.  Ex: A good dentist will be gentle, warn when he has to hurt, and then apologize for the hurt.

                 a.  A fuss often evolves, not because we did not have the truth, but because we did not have the touch.

                 b.  We can use a reasonable amount of the pain-killer of gentleness and perform the same operation with

                       less pain.


     C.  Be prepared.


           1.  “Able to teach…”  v. 24

           2.  didaktikos, means “skillful in teaching.”  (This is the same word used of the qualifications of shepherds in

                 1 Tim. 3:2). 

                 a.  Where does skill come from?  (Skill comes from instruction and practice.  A personal who wouldn’t think of

                      driving or going hunting without practice will attempt to rearrange another person’s life and faith without

                      any teaching, practice, or supervision.

                 b.  Many times a fuss/quarrel is a cover-up for a lack of information or a lack of skill and being unwilling to

                       admit it.


     D.  Be patient.


           1.  “Patient” or “…Not resentful under injuries…” (Williams).

                 a.  I sometimes get into a fuss when I take rejection personally.

                 b.  Ex:

                       .  Israel murmured against Moses when she didn’t have food.  Ex. 16:2-3, 7

                       .  Israel wanted a king when Samuel was old and his sons were disobedient.  1 Sam. 8:7

                 c.  I have fallen into the trap of thinking, “He is rejecting me by not accepting the gospel.”  (My hurt feelings

                      can create a fuss).

           2.  Patience also mean giving folks time to work through their family and denomination past.  Ex: Pam Cornett

                 during Bible study

                 a.  A farmer doesn’t sow and reap on the same day.

                 b.  Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gives the increase.”  1 Cor. 3:6  (My job is to plant seed and

                      fertilize the soul—then wait.”

                 c.  If I try to force the harvest, the student may be baptized outwardly, but he may not be converted inwardly.

                 d.  If I force the harvest now when he’s not ready, he may not remain faithful and fall away at some point in

                       future because he wasn’t immersed for the right reason.


      E.  Be aware of your power.


            1.  This chastising with words is to be done with power.  “In humility correcting those who are in opposition…”

                  v. 25

                  a.  Humility (Strong’s: 1877), prauths, “meekness, gentle, submissiveness.”

                  b.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek…”  Mt. 5:5a  (Meekness has to do with strength under control, like a

                       horse which has been broken). 

            2.  You and I have a lot of power at our desposal.

                  a.  Information and knowledge.  Ex: One lady was unwilling and afraid to study with me, because she wasn’t a

                       student of the Scriptures and she was scared she would be embarrassed by her lack of the Word.

                  b.  Age.

                  c.  Size.

                  d.  Position.

                       .  Paul could have made demands as an apostle.  “Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from

                          others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.  But we were gentle among you, just as

                          a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”  1 Thess. 2:6-7

                       .  Paul chose not to use his power and authority.

            3.  If I am not aware of my power or I deny that I have any power, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep it

                  under control.

                  a.  Some people say, “Well, I just tell it like it is—I tell them how I feel, and let the chips fall where they may.”

                  b.  A lot of folks have been “run off” because a person wouldn’t admit that 1) he had power and, 2) he had a

                       hard time controlling it.  Ex:  If I find myself using my position to demand my way, it might be good to ask,

                       “Do I have my strength/power under control?”  “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them

                       back.”  Prov. 29:11

                  c.  The issue is not whether or not I have power; clearly I do, but how much of that should I use?  Ex:  There

                       are 13,800 volts of electricity flowing into some of the transmission lines that run to my house.  The line

                       actually coming into my house bring 220 volts.

                       .  We would receive more benefit from a candle and a Coleman stove than to turn 13,800 volts of

                          uncontrolled power into our houses.

                       .  The oven, cook top, and dryer need 220; the lights need 110.

                       .  The challenge of using electricity well is to use is wisely.  (Likewise, the challenge is not whether or not I

                          have power, but how do I keep it in control when I’m teaching somebody).



A.  One of the most difficult things in the world to do, and to do well, is to correct false belief and false teaching.

B.  May I suggest that it needs to be done in a caring way.

C.  One author gives a good rule of thumb, “If it is very painful for you to criticize your friends, you are safe in doing it.

      But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that is the time to hold your tongue” (Alice Miller, in The Friendship Factor by

       Alan Loy McGinnis, 68).


–Mike Benson


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized