Stewards of God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Disciples Learn

About 20 years ago my church family met to pray together and develop some vital core values for who we believed God was calling us to be as a church. We emphasized what a follower of Jesus Christ ought to look like. For example, we agreed that we ought to be loving disciples, serving disciples, compassionate disciples, and so on.

The one that really connected with me, as Minister of Discipleship, was “Learning Disciples.”

Our Vision Committee said unanimously, disciples of Jesus Christ must be students and teachers of God’s Word. That is, we must learn what Scripture says as well as pass on those same wonderful, life-changing truths to others.

Stewardship

In other words, disciples of Jesus Christ are called to be faithful stewards of what God has so lovingly and graciously given to us. A steward is one who cares for something that belongs to someone else. God calls us to be stewards (caretakers) of his resources. Of what belongs to him.

We’re called to be stewards of our time, talent, treasure, relationships, and truth. Because in reality, it all belongs to him.

Our Scripture puts it this way,

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Paul told Timothy he must study Scripture, so he would have no reason to be ashamed before God, but instead, so that he would be approved by him. Up to this point in this chapter Paul had been warning Timothy to stand firm against the false teachers of his day. Timothy had a great responsibility to correctly handle God’s Word. And Paul is letting Timothy know that this great responsibility is not for the approval of other people, but for God’s approval.

And not only was Timothy to stay away from the empty, deceptive, and misleading words of the false teachers, but he was to help others do the same. That effort won’t always be appreciated and applauded by others. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul reminded Timothy that people very often run after teachers who tell them what they want to hear. As we learn in John 6, hard teachings, even when they come from Jesus, will cause dissatisfaction from the hearers.

Therefore, Paul wanted Timothy to avoid empty disputes over empty and false words by “correctly handling the word of truth.” But you can’t do that if you don’t know what the word of truth says. It takes work. That’s why Paul tells Timothy he’s going to have be a “worker.” The image is of someone who is a “hard worker.” There’s nothing casual or easy about being a steward of the word of truth.

The word of truth Paul had in mind was the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the redemptive truth of God. And we find this redemptive word of truth in the pages of God’s inspired Word, the Bible.

The Bible: God’s Inspired Word

So, why is it important to view and accept Scripture as God’s inspired Word? Here’s how John Wesley put it,

I want to know one thing – the way to heaven, how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. For this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: Here is knowledge enough for me. Only God is here.”

Brothers, how precious is it, that God loves us so much, that he didn’t just create us and then leave us alone to stumble through life in the dark? Instead, he gave us a light. Psalm 119:105 declares,

“Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light to my path.”

Renew Your Mind

Just think about all the influences in our culture that compete for our attention and loyalty, every single hour of every single day. We have images and information coming in from every direction – from the Internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, friends, family – all of this and more.

And in subtle ways that are easy to miss and in obvious ways that are seemingly impossible to miss, these things mold and shape us, and not always for the better. Just think about the following everyday temptations…

  • “Find your identity in…
    • how you look,
    • how much money you make,
    • how many friends you have,
    • how any people follow you on social media,
    • your job title,
    • how well-behaved your kids are in public
    • the grades you make,”
  • “Value what we value.”
  • “Trust in technology.”
  • “This political party will save us.”

Now, the point is not that each and every influence is evil and harmful to us. The point is, we need to be discerning. And we can’t be discerning if we’re not actively growing as learning disciples, as faithful stewards of God’s Word.

Paul knew the danger well, which is why he wrote these words in Romans 12:2,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Emphasis mine)

How can we resist being conformed to what the world wants us to be? How can we know God’s will? By being transformed by the renewing of our minds. And how do we renew our minds? By studying God’s inspired Word. So, what do we mean when we say Scripture is “inspired?”

God-Breathed

Well, to answer that we have to look at another Scripture in 2 Timothy. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (Emphasis mine)

That phrase, “God-breathed,” in the NIV, or “breathed out by God,” in the ESV, comes from the same word, from which we get “inspired.” “Inspired” really means “expired.” Not expired, as in, “Your coupons have expired.” Or, “The Milk in the back of your refrigerator has expired.”

Instead, it means God “breathed out” his Word through the writers of Scripture, so that what we have in the Bible is not a collection of human opinions, but God’s revealed truth. We’re using the word “inspired” differently than if we said, “the choir or praise band gave us an inspired performance during worship this morning.”

Instead, when we say the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we’re saying that what we have in the Bible is exactly what God wants us to have. It’s exactly what he wants us to know. It came from him.

And what does he want us to know? Well, let’s take a look at the verses that precede and follow 2 Timothy 3:16.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17) (Emphases mine)

  • Through God’s Word, he makes us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Through God’s Word, he teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. 
  • Through God’s Word, he equips us for every good work.

​And that’s what God tells us about his Word in just these four verses!

The Difference It Makes

Can you see why it’s so important that followers of Jesus Christ make it a constant priority to continue growing as learning disciples? God has made us stewards of his inspired Word. And as we work hard to study it, and even harder to obey it, and even harder to teach it to others, not only will we glorify God; not only will we please God; not only will we be blessed; but we’ll also be a blessing to others as we point them to the fullness of salvation they can enjoy through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Walking Points

  • So, how are you doing with this? Are you a learning disciple? What changes would you have to make in your life to become one? Or, if you are one, talk about the difference it’s made in your life. Discuss your questions, answers, and thoughts with two or three other brothers in Christ.
  • You can always study Scripture on your own. But check to discover if there are opportunities to study God’s Word with others at your church or another church in your community. If there isn’t, perhaps you can invite some men to your house once a week to study together. Or at a local restaurant.
  • I believe learning God’s Word with our brothers in Christ is the best way to practice the stewardship we’re talking about. Not only can you receive from others, but you can also pass along what you’ve learned to others. And, you can grow in fellowship, as well as pray and care for one another. Take some time right now to pray about this.

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