Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published: May 15, 2020
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Colossians 3:18-25 (L 22)
Welcome back to HBS where the Light of truth is always on.
Let’s refresh our memories.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:15-17).
Every saint in Christ Jesus has “peace with God” and therefore “have the peace of God.” This is in regard to their relationship to God the Father that is expressed elsewhere as “justification.” Justification is the divine act of making someone right with God; all their sins have been deleted. It’s just as though they had never sinned. This takes place when God declares those who place their faith in Christ to be righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ became our substitute on the cross so that we could be made “just” or right with God through Christ, through faith. Because of His righteousness before God the Father we “have peace with God.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11).
Because of justification we are no longer considered enemies of God; we are known instead as His beloved children; co-heirs with Christ. We’re no longer under divine judgment and wrath, as Believers positioned in Christ, we now stand in the never ending flow of God’s Grace. So then, it is “the peace of God” that is to “rule in our hearts.” Since this is true, Paul is saying it ought to affect every thought, word, and deed or how we interact with one another and those currently outside of Christ.
Paul closed this section of scripture with this summary statement:
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (3:17)
He Paul presents the recipe for Christ-like living. This Bible verse ought to guide our every thought, word, and deed. This is one of the beneficial aspects produced by “the word of Christ dwelling in you richly in all wisdom;” That being the case, Paul said if what you’re doing glorifies God, then it’s the right thing to do. On the other hand, if what you’re about to do dishonors God and your testimony, then flee from it:
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles (nations), nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many (to what end), that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 2 Timothy 2:19).
Please know Satan, the god of this world, would have you walk in darkness, fear and uncertainty thereby preventing the light of the glorious gospel of Christ from shining unto the hearts of all mankind:
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (See Colossians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; ).
God countered Satan’s threat not with manmade traditions, religious rules and human philosophies, but with the shed blood of His Beloved Son for the sins of the world. This knowledge is revealed to us in “the truth of the gospel” and “the word of Christ” (printed in black ink not red) in the writings of our apostle Paul. These are directed to every saved, sanctified saint in Christ. Therefore, walk as His ambassadors here on earth, in all knowledge and wisdom (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Please open your Bible at Colossians 3:18-25.
Pauline Doctrine Pertaining To Human Relationships
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”
God’s grace amazes me 24/7/365; because it never runs out on us and because there is no list of do’s and don’ts attached to it. In response to the lost sinner’s faith in Paul’s gospel, the Grace of God takes the vilest sinner and gives them a place at His right hand in the heavenlies in Christ (Colossians 3:1 Romans 2:16); “he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6),” and declared us complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10), and proclaimed us to be “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). But there’s so much more. In chapter three of Colossians we find the Lord Jesus Christ condescending further by interceding in the lives of every saint and teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves so as to live amicably with one another and glorifying the Father in the process (3:17).
That’s what should be, however, based on what I’m seeing and experiencing most people are oblivious to these instructions in Colossians 3 and that’s directly attributed to a lack of Bible knowledge and resulting in wisdom. Although the Bible is a best seller year after year, it remains the most cherished, unread book of all time. Instead of looking to Christ Jesus for answers people derive their knowledge from the world around them which explains why their lives are chaotic resulting in cynicism and dismay. In almost every bookstore you’ll find a section devoted to the humanities; that is, the study of all languages and literatures, the arts, history, and philosophy and the like. If that’s not enough on T.V. you’ll find reality programs such as Dr. Phil at one end of the spectrum and Jerry Springer at the other. A great deal is written about human relationships these days, but nothing compares with Paul’s letter to the Colossians in its divine wisdom, and nothing that works as well, brings about such positive results, and glorifies God.
In Paul’s writings we find vastly different instructions from those which we read in the world’s books on human relations, even religious books on the subject. In the world, the cry is constantly, “Give me what’s rightfully mine,” thinking if they get their wish, they’ll be happier for it. In contrast to that mindset, God said do what is right and you’ll be better for it. So, instead of demanding “your rights,” seek “righteousness,” and its fruit, “peace” and “joy” will certainly be yours.
So then, in Colossians 3:18-25 Paul, who was inspired by God the Spirit when he put his thoughts to paper, directs them to wives and husbands, first, then to children and fathers, and finally to servants and their masters, and please note he mentions the weaker vessel first, then the strongest. That thought brings to mind Paul’s instructions in his second letter to young Timothy:
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20-21).
Paul is telling Timothy how to deal with what appears to be some difficult problems resulting in conflict in the church at Ephesus where he was ministering. In the verses just before, he exhorted him to use the scriptures properly, not as Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose false teaching had led some of the brethren astray. He reminds Timothy, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Now he urges Timothy to be a cleansed man who flees sin and pursues godliness, summed up under four qualities: righteousness, faith, love, and peace with the Lord’s true people, for “the Lord knoweth them that are his.” He accomplished this by using the illustration of a large house that uses different kinds of vessels. The gold and silver vessels are kept clean so that they may be used for honorable purposes, such as celebratory dinners and special occasions. The other vessels made of wood and earthenware are used for dishonorable purpose, such as in the performance of menial tasks in the kitchen and for carrying out the garbage at day’s end. These often become broken or blemished and are cheaply replaced. The point Paul’s making is the large house represents the Body of Christ, a.k.a. the Church. Some of it’s members are truly new creatures walking in newness of life. Others, namely, Hymenaeus and Philetus are described as being false teachers, and they therefore are the vessels of dishonor. Paul’s saying this should not be said of Timothy or of any one in the Body of Christ.
That scripture text reveals the kind of person God uses. You may think God only uses people who have impressive abilities and gifts, such as a winning smile, good looks, excels in public speaking, and so forth. I’m not saying certain spiritual gifts do not play a part in “the ministry of reconciliation,” but that’s not the criteria God looks for or uses. The world pursues such notions but God uses those who pursue righteousness and godliness. Case in point, almost every time I turn the news on there’s a negative story about a pastor or youth minister caught up in a scandal of some sort, so they obviously are not pursuing righteousness and their iniquity does not glorify God. They have disgraced the name of Christ, so these folks are dishonorable vessels as well.
You might also be thinking God only uses those who have graduated from seminary. While institutes of higher learning have a place, I can name several people who have been to seminary and graduated but they’re preaching is so far removed from what God is doing with His Church today that there’s zero resemblance to “the word of Christ.” They like Hymenaeus and Philetus are leading people astray. Paul said Timothy is not to be counted among them, and the same is true for every saved saint:
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Philippians 2:13-15).
Wives & Husbands
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Before we examine this passage let's review and remember what Paul wrote in 3:17:
“And whatsoever ye do in word of deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Paul continued his thought in 3:17 by telling the wives the first thing they are to do “in the name of Christ Jesus,” that is, “submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” Among other things, this Bible verse discloses the importance of the marital relationship in our society. Please note it’s the very first thing Paul thought of when he reflected on what it meant to “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Colossians 3 instructs the Believer in Colosse (and us) about how their union with Christ richly benefits them in their relationships with others from all walks of life. The self-serving practices which characterized their earthly nature are to be “put to death,” not simply because they are injurious to others, but because they are fundamentally inconsistent with who and what they are in Christ. Our Bible text then continues to speak of practical sanctification. Paul is showing the Colossians where “the rubber meets the road,” so to speak. The three areas Paul mentioned are where we have contact with opportunities to show the difference “the word of Christ” has made in our lives. They are areas almost all of us have dealings with, namely, the marriage relationship, our homes, and the workplace. You might wonder why Paul began with the marriage relationship and the wives. To answer this question properly we need to go now to the book of Genesis; a.k.a the book of beginnings or origins.
There are essentially two models of how life came to be on the earth. You either believe the biblical record of creation, that God created all things (Colossians 1:15-16), or you believe the theory of evolution. Both are basically faith systems in that neither can be proven scientifically. Each of these systems of belief, however, has a distinct effect on one’s worldview. If you hold to evolution, for example, humanism will guide your life and marriage. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a philosophy that says there are no absolutes. Morals, justice, right and wrong are all determined by human reason. On the other hand, if you believe God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, then “the Word of Christ” should govern all your relationships, including marriage.
The very first verse in Genesis is a profound declaration to all who will hear and believe what God has said, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Interestingly, the Hebrew name for God here is Elohim (El-o-heem), which expresses the idea that God is supreme and all-powerful. He created all things in heaven and earth without so much as lifting a hand; He merely spoke and worlds came into being. God then shows His power is limitless:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
Here, with the term “the Lord God,” we are introduced to a new name of God: Yahweh or “Jehovah,” the self-existent One who now is about to make Himself known to His creation. In short, He becomes the divine Communicator between God and His creation. This clearly shows a change in purpose. As God, He desires to relate personally to His creation. This is seen in His discourse with Adam and Eve and then His long-standing relationship with Israel. We must bear in mind that Jehovah, the Lord God of the Old Testament, is the Lord Jesus Christ in the N. T. As in time past, He desires to have a personal relationship with all those who call on His name and believe His word. He is interested in every detail of your life including your marriage and your family. After all, God is the divine architect of both. It has been correctly said that there is a vast difference between a Christian home and a place where Christians dwell. Simply because a number of family members know the Lord does not mean they have “the peace of God,” resulting in an harmonious climate in that particular home.
Unfortunately, we are witnessing some very troubling trends today when it comes to the Christian home. Many marriages are in trouble and much of the secular counsel given by the world is unsound having omitted or disregarded “the word of Christ.” Said differently, many couples have departed from God’s original design and therein lies the problem. His blueprint for marriage has either been changed or ignored altogether. I liken this to the blueprint of a home. It gives a detailed description of the structure. It shows the floor plan, the dimensions of the rooms, and the materials that are to be used in constructing it, and so on. In like manner, “the word of Christ” found in the writings of our apostle Paul gives us the blueprint for marriage. Since marriage and the home originated with God, we can avert many problems by simply following His original design.
It isn’t surprising that when a couple departs from the divine Architect’s guidelines, their marriage fails to pass the test of time. It’s the equivalent of ignoring the blueprint for a minefield. But there is hope! Paul’s writings are recognized as scripture. They provide the answers for us! That being said, we need to faithfully commit to our children and grandchildren what God requires of them when they become adults and enter into the marriage relationship. Who teaches this today? Exactly! The solution is really quite simple: we must submit ourselves to the Author and Finisher of our faith, who designed marriage in the beginning. Of course, the skeptic is quick to point out that there are no easy answers to deeply rooted marital problems that are related to: pride, stubbornness, carnality, coveting, and failure to apply God’s roles consistently in the marriage relationship. The Christian home is far from being a perfect environment. Why? Imperfect sinners live there; sinners who are saved by the grace of God. Thus, it should be a place where wives and husbands desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, and when problems arise (and they will) they go to “the word of Christ” together to find a biblical solution.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
It’s worth mentioning Paul issued a similar command to the Ephesians, but he added a few details that are not found in the Colossian passage:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (5:22-25).
Problem Solving 101
Once again, married couples in Colosse were experiencing marital problems, the honeymoon was over, so to speak, and now they have to deal with reality. The reality is life is not fair and they are still capable of sinning. But Paul’s saying there’s a biblical solution. Permit me to illustrate: let’s suppose you own an old Chevy that has a major electrical issue. You consult your next door neighbor, who is a backyard mechanic, but he’s completely baffled. So you take it to your mechanic where most of your repairs are done. But he is unable to resolve the problem. Finally you go the GM dealership where you purchased the vehicle. The dealership represents the company that designed and built it. They diagnose the problem and the matter is resolved, simply because they engineered and assembled the electrical circuits that originally went into the vehicle, in short, they know the car inside and out.
Similarly, since the LORD God (Jehovah) designed the institution of marriage, wouldn’t it be prudent to consult Him concerning the blueprint of the marriage relationship instead of Dr. Phil or whomever? I pray you answered yes because Jehovah a.k.a. the Lord Jesus Christ has established roles within the relationship that, if obeyed, will ultimately bring harmony otherwise known as marital bliss. I consistently hear the phrase, “A happy wife means a happy life,” but I disagree. Happiness is often determined by “what is happening,” therefore, it is fleeting. Although this may seem rather simplistic, perhaps one should recognize it was meant to be. Fact of the matter is most marital problems can be traced back to a failure to acknowledge and follow God’s original blueprint or design for marriage.
The addition of humanistic resolutions have proven they fall well-short of the goal.
With this in mind, wives and husbands must ask themselves if they are fulfilling their God-given roles. Husbands are to love their wives with agape (sacrificial) love and, in so doing, they emulate the love of Christ for His Church. Wives, on the other hand, are to submit themselves to their husbands in everything, which symbolizes the Church’s submission to Christ’s divine authority alway. This does not mean that she is to obey his every whim or grovel at his feet. She is not his step-and-fetch, in other words. Many husbands have confused their role with that of a tyrant in the home. Therefore, perhaps we should examine a few general principles God has established re: marriage.
God’s Creative Genius
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28).
That man is created in the image of God is significant for a number of reasons. First and foremost, God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When God molded man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, He created him a triune being as well, i.e., possessing a body, soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). Second, God possesses the characteristics of personality; therefore, He created the man with an intellect, emotions, and free will. In these two senses, it can be correctly said that the man and the woman are created equal. The woman as well as the man is a triune being, which means she too possesses a personality consisting of intellect, emotions, and will. But here is where equality gives way to diversity. In many ways, men and women are as different as fingerprints.
In regard to the roles that God gave to the man and woman to uphold in marriage, they are equally important, but they are not identical. We should carefully note from the above passage that “in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” In other words, the woman (the weaker vessel) is also created in His image and, to abuse her in any way, whether physically or emotionally, is to show contempt for the image of God. Peter wrote, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being theirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7).
It is the responsibility of the husband to know everything there is to know about his wife. He should be familiar with everything about her, such as her fears, her strengths and weaknesses, and her likes and dislikes. A husband should also be sensitive to his wife’s emotional makeup, which is considerably different from his own. She often wears her emotions on her sleeve, as they say, and can be brought to tears simply by reading a sad novel or by watching a romantic movie. That’s how God made her. Husbands who thoughtlessly say, “You’re being ridiculous” are gluttons for punishment. Such insensitivity will usually leave a husband searching for the right Hallmark card and flowers afterwards. So, a word to the wise as they say should be sufficient.
Peter adds husbands are to honor their wives “as unto the weaker vessel” (verse 7b). I know this isn’t PC (politically correct) today, but there are only two genders (men and women) and they are not designed the same. They possess different abilities and strengths. For example, men and women think differently. You may have heard of the secular book titled: “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus.” Although the jury is still out, medical science has discovered that a man tends to think with only one hemisphere of the brain at a time, whereas a woman uses both hemispheres at the same time. Have you not heard of the wife who is capable of “multi-tasking?” This may help to explain why men are so focused. Case in point, ladies, have you noticed when you attempt to communicate with your husband while he’s reading the newspaper it’s as though you were talking to a tree? Dialogs might resemble one or more of these, “Dear, how was your day?” “Fine.” “Did you call the doctor for an appointment?” “No.” You son drove your new car into the lake. The car is totaled but he’s okay.” “That’s nice.” Once again, ladies, he’s focused.
On the other hand, the mind of a woman is similar to a scanner. She’s able to handle three or four things at one time and that’s because she’s a multi-tasker. While planning a long-distance car adventure, I could usually be found studying the road atlas and tuned out to everything else going on around me. That’s because I’m focused. In contrast to that my wife (now ex-wife) could be found paying bills online, conversing with one of her children on the speaker phone, while watching the weather report, and pointing to the mailbox reminding me to get the mail before we head out. So then, if a wife understands her husband is not necessarily ignoring her or being disrespectful, but merely being focused, it will save both of them a tremendous amount of anxiety and frustration. Wives must learn the importance of getting their husband’s attention and establishing eye-contact before addressing any issue. Next, the husband who helps his wife at home with all the things she needs to accomplish will win her affection on a daily basis. Aim to be thoughtful and not thoughtless in this department. This may seem like a small matter to some, but if husbands and wives are attentive to the fact that they function on different wavelengths, it will greatly ease tension within the marriage relationship and result in harmonious living conditions, a.k.a. marital bliss.
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:21-24).
Here we have the first surgical procedure in history that required some form of anesthesia, “the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam.” He then surgically removed a rib from Adam’s side, “and the LORD God made he a woman.”
Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “rib” here is plural and literally denotes “Adam’s side chamber.” In short, the LORD God removed both bone and flesh from the man’s side and created the woman. Whereupon Adam states, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman.” Adam recognized the woman was literally taken from him, and like him was a person created in the image of God, possessing emotion, intellect, and free will. Thus, the woman was a suitable “help meet,” that is, fit for the man, one who would not be the same as he but a perfect complement to him. In the fullest sense of the word, she completes the man physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We should also note here that by order of creation the man is given the position of headship. In addition to God’s creative genius, He ordained the institution of marriage. Marriage was not a product of primitive man, often portrayed as dragging a woman by the hair with one hand and carrying a club in the other. The evolutionist believes this to be the beginning of a monogamous relationship. But not so much. Mankind has indeed established many institutions; however, marriage isn’t one of them.
God established the marriage relationship and gave us the regulations to govern it. In fact, God Himself walked the first bride down the aisle, so to speak, “and brought her unto the man.” Consequently, marriage is not to be entered into or taken lightly by anyone; instead, it must be approached soberly and reverently, and “in the fear of God.” The goal of every married couple should be to understand their God-given roles, pursue righteousness, and permit the Author and Finisher of our faith to instruct and guide them not just in the marital relationship but in all our relationships.
(To be continued)
© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved