Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published: June 13, 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).
Welcome my friends in Christ to HBS.
Let’s begin with a brief review.
“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” (4:2)
Last week’s Bible lesson was centered on God and the Believer’ communication with Him, otherwise referred to as “prayer and supplication” in the age of Grace. Paul instructed the Colossians to “Continue in prayer,” or do not give up praying, “and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” that is, be awake (alert) when you pray ever mindful of who you’re praying to; and always pray with a thankful heart, for God is gracious, and merciful toward all His beloved children. His grace is sufficient for every need: “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Colossians 1:9-21).
We also learned the Body of Christ’s prayer instructions differ greatly from those the Lord gave to the nation of Israel. Therefore when we pray we’re to follow God’s design for prayer in Philippians 4:5-7: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“Peace with God” is one thing; “the peace of God” is another thing altogether. To enjoy the latter, we must first experience the former, for “the peace of God, ruling in our hearts,” is the result of “peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our apostle Paul declared by divine inspiration that “(Christ) was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification (and that) therefore, being justified by faith,” we, who once were at enmity with God, may enjoy “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 4:25, 5:1).
The result of “peace with God” is “the peace of God,” the peace that “passeth all understanding” God gives to His own in the midst of the troubles of life. This truth prompted Paul to write: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13).
While only those who are at peace with God can and should know “the peace of God,” it’s also true all those who are at peace with God don’t necessarily revel in “the peace of God.” Believers can appreciate “the peace of God” only as they practice God’s instructions for prayer in Philippians 4:6. In doing so, God’s promise to the Believer will certainly be fulfilled: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Verse 4: 7).
As Believers in Christ “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Therefore we should not worry about anything or be overwhelmed and defeated by life’s adversities to the point that we cease praying. Instead, we ought to heed the exhortations of the apostle Paul below:
“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15).
“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means…”
(2 Thessalonians 3:16a).
Please open your Bible at Colossians 4:3-6.
“Withal (at the same time; together as one) praying also for us (specifically), that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Open Door – Open Mouth – Open Mind
In connection with the blessed truth which the holy Spirit designates “the mystery of Christ” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” I direct your attention to the Bible verses below:
Concerning the Open Door
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Colossians 4:3-4).
Concerning the Open Mouth
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
Concerning An Open Mind
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding (the mind) being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:17-18).
So far as this blessed and glorious truth of Ephesians and Colossians is concerned, it remains a mystery with the vast majority of Christendom or those who call themselves Christians. Most of these folks remain woefully ignorant of God’s mystery (secret) re: the Body of Christ and what He is doing with His Church today. If people are unable to understand God’s purpose and plan for His church today, you need look no further than Satan for he stands in opposition to the truth, the Spirit designated “the mystery,” by blinding the minds of countless people:
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world (Satan) 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 4:3-4).
The devil shoulders the primary responsibility for having the mystery of God’s grace distorted, twisted, and outright ignored by the man-made religions beginning with Paul’s apostolic ministry to this very day (2 Peter 3:14-18). I’ve met with church elders, deacons, and pastors from more than a few denominational churches over the years that couldn’t or wouldn’t open their hearts and minds to the revelation of the mystery. The majority of these folks confuse the hope of Israel with the blessed hope set forth in our apostle Paul’s prison epistles (letters) that are written to every saved saint, in Christ. Truth be told, in their blindness regarding the mystery, they stand in opposition to God’s message of grace; that is, salvation through Christ Jesus, by faith alone, without works of any kind or the gospel Paul preached to all nations:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations; for his name:” (Romans 1:1-5).
Once again, please bear in mind the bitter resistance to the truth of God began the very moment Paul began to preach God’s “good news” of the mystery (Ephesians 2:8-9) and the opposition continues today. But God who knows the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things has given us both encouragement and warning, and He has laid the responsibility for sharing His “good news” with others (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). In addition, God has also told us what to expect in the way of opposition from the religious Bible teachers who are either unwilling or unable to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) in accordance with God’s will.
Concerning The Open Door
In Colossians 4:3-4 we have a humble, specific, prayer or petition for God’s help known as “supplication.” God alone can open doors for the truth separate from any and all of the covenant promises the LORD God gave to the nation of Israel. The saved saint’s identification with the risen and glorified Christ in death, burial, resurrection, and glorification (See Romans 6), all by the baptism of the holy Spirit into one body (Ephesians 1:1-9; 4:1-5) has nothing to do with Israel’s hope or Israel’s baptism under the Law. Certainly to mix the hope of the Body of Christ and God’s inheritance in the members of that Body, the mystery among the Gentiles (nations), with the hope and inheritance of Israel is not only a great blunder, it stands in opposition to God’s command to study the word of truth using right division (2 Timothy 2:15). As I previously said, there is much we ought to pray for, therefore, let us not just rejoice in this glorious truth, let us pray earnestly that God will open doors so that his blessed message of grace might be presented untainted when an opportunity comes our way.
Concerning Open Mouths
To say the preaching of the mystery is unpopular today is an understatement. It is detested by many people so they stubbornly refuse to proclaim it as the truth of God for this dispensation. Knowing this helps us understand why Paul coveted the prayers of the saints, specifically asking, “that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ (crucified for the sins of all) for which I am also (His ambassador) in bonds:” Paul was placed under house arrest in Rome for two years while awaiting trial before Caesar; that’s what he meant by “I am also in bonds.” Obviously, we are not suffering that kind of trouble, or at least I pray that’s not the case, but “bonds” come in many man-made forms. My family and friends removed the welcome mat from their front door, so to speak, when I introduced the subject of the mystery to them. I soon learned my faith repelled more people than it attracted. My belief in what God has clearly said has alienated me from the people I consider most dear. The majority of my friendships have fallen by the wayside and my siblings who are Catholic have all but written me off as a heretic on the highway to hell. But it got worse not better for my wife loathed the attention and time I devoted to this Bible study. She labeled me a “cultist” and filed for divorce in 2017 because I followed Paul who followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). I suppose I could have acquiesced and renounced my faith that might have pleased her and everyone else, but that would mean denying Christ, the gospel of my salvation, and who I am in Christ. So, let’s be clear I choose to serve the risen Lord of glory first and foremost, bearing these words from our apostle Paul in mind: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Galatians 1:8-10).
But there’s another “bond” that people tie themselves up with and that is “fear.” Fear of rejection, reprisal, or fear of the unknown. People also say, “I’m not an evangelist; someone somewhere is being paid to do that very thing.” But that’s a “cop out.” Evangelism is merely telling people what God is doing today through His Son. Most folks are aware of the Lord’s marching orders to the twelve in Matthew 28:16-20 known as “The Great Commission.” However, those commands are not directed to us (the Body of Christ,) but to the nation of Israel under God’s Prophetic Program (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Please know when you fail to share your faith with someone you’re not giving them the opportunity to say, “Yes, I see what you’re saying;” you are in fact saying, “No, I’m not interested in that” for them.
While digging deeper into this subject, I came across a Barna Group poll dated August 17, 2018. People from different age groups provided these responses to the question, “Why don’t you share your faith?” I pray you find it enlightening.
· Religious conversations always seem to create tension or arguments: 28%
· I’m not religious and don’t care about these kinds of topics: 23%
· I’m put off by how religion has been politicized: 17%
· I don’t feel like I know enough to talk about religious or spiritual topics: 17%
· I don’t want to be known as a religious person: 7%
· I don’t know how to talk about religious or spiritual topics without sounding weird: 6%
· I’m afraid people will see me as a fanatic or extremist: 5%
· I’m embarrassed by the way religious language has been used in popular culture: 5%
· I’ve been hurt by religious conversations in the past: 4%
· Religious language and jargon feels cheesy or outdated: 4%
“Additionally, as we know from other research, young adults are more likely than any other age group to have friends who are different from them: different ethnicities, different religions, different social and political beliefs. They tend, therefore, to be more sensitive to offending other groups. They expect to live in a pluralistic society and so fear association with a group—fundamentalist Christians—that is often represented as opposed to ways of thinking or believing other than their own.”
Again, this speaks of man-made bonds or fear of what might happen if the person you’re speaking to becomes offended by hearing the truth. Therefore, Believers must understand, if not us, who? If not now, when? In light of this, every saved saint ought to pray, “that utterance may be given unto me (insert your name here), that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (4:3). We must pray that God will strengthen us and all the saints to whom the message of God’s grace has been revealed that they will open their mouths and speak the truth in love with boldness when the opportunity presents itself (Romans 1:16).
Concerning the Mind
I encourage the diligent Bible student to study Ephesians 1:17-18 prayerfully because it concerns every member of the Body of Christ. Let us not forget the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful, and the god of this age (Satan) stands accused of the crime of deceiving the whole world. I mention again he also stands in opposition to the truth re: the Body of Christ and uses every spiritual weapon at his disposal to keep people, including so-called believers from understanding this truth along with the mystery of Christ (4:3). It’s also true apart from God we’re not able to comprehend the truth of Ephesians and Colossians. He alone is the One that is able to give to the Believer the “spirit of wisdom” and revelation in “the knowledge” of Himself, and thereby “enlighten the eyes of understanding (the mind).”
In connection with that prayer, let us also read with understanding the prayer of Ephesians 3:16-19:
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Let us “pray together as one” that God will open doors, open mouths, and open minds and enable every true Believer who has knowledge of the glorious truth of the mystery given to them by Christ through His chosen vessel, Paul. Let us all rest in the all sufficiency and preeminence of Christ Jesus, wholly satisfied with the blessed truths of Christ, without religion’s noise, knowing the Father of glory was so well-pleased with His perfect life and perfect sacrifice that nothing but the precious blood of His beloved Son is required for acceptance (salvation) by Him, and that none of Israel’s religious program under the Law will aid us in our daily “walk” with the Lord.
That last comment takes us to verses 4:5-6:
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Walk in Wisdom
It’s not possible to over emphasize, in the dispensation of the grace of God, there is little understanding of its significance on the part of Fundamental Christians or the thousands of denominational churches in existence today, that supposedly preach truth. There is one obvious reason for their lack of understanding, ignorance. Ignorance of Paul’ apostolic authority and his preaching of the mystery to all nations. Unless one recognizes the unique message committed to Paul and utilizes right division while studying their Bible one is left walking in confusion re: his apostleship, his unique ministry to the gentiles, and the very plan and purpose of God for His Church today. Below I listed several biblical facts about Paul’s ministry:
While ministering in His fleshly presence on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ addressed and instructed none but the nation of Israel with a few gentile exceptions (Romans 15:8; Matthew 15:24).
Saul of Tarsus (the chief persecutor of the little flock) was saved and called to be the sole apostle to the gentiles (Luke 12:32; Romans 15:15-16, 11:13; I Timothy 1:12-13, 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11).
Paul became the exclusive dispenser of a secret revelation given to him by the risen Lord (Ephesians 3:1-9; Galatians 1:11-12; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). Thus, the only way Christ speaks from heaven is through the Apostle Paul and not Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:
Under Paul’s ministry the Church which is the Body of Christ was established according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25-26; Colossians 1:23b-27).
The Church which is the Body of Christ is composed of both Jew and Gentile, the law as a wall of partition between Jew and Gentile was taken out of the way (Romans 10:4, 6:14; Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 2:13-14).
Two declarations from our apostle Paul to Timothy stand out and clearly steer us in the right direction of discernment in understanding the written word of God:
1) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
2) ”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).
All Scripture is written for the Church’s enlightenment but not all Scripture is written All Scripture must be studied in light of Paul’s epistles for only in his writings do we find instructions to the Body of Christ.the Body of Christ nor is it us.
Paul’s distinctive message and ministry must be recognized in order for Believers in this dispensation to know their relationship with God and His revealed will (Ephesians 1:11). Once this is accomplished, we find that our identification with our apostle is diverse. He is much more to the Body of Christ than just our apostle. He is our example (Philippians 3:17), he is our minister (Colossians 1:25), and he is a father figure and instructor to all of us (I Corinthians 4:14-16).
The letters of Paul are directed to Believers who have been saved not under God’s Kingdom Program but under the gospel of the grace of God in the dispensation of His grace. Paul called this gospel “my gospel” (Acts 20:24; Romans 2:16, 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). As our mentor, and/or pattern, Paul enlightens us regarding our spiritual relationship and responsibility. We are to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1); “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32); and “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without” (Colossians 4:5). Paul prayed for all the saints, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17).
Our apostle Paul urges us to totally dedicate ourselves in the service of Christ (Romans 12:1); he affirms that we will “suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12); we are assured of enablement to perform the ministry to which we are appointed “For the love of Christ constraineth us….” And “I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me” (2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 4:13).
As the believing remnant in this dispensation of grace, we are to engage in the “Ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19); “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians. 4:15); “preaching the gospel of the grace of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9); and “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16; Colossians 4:5); “knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians3:24); “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Therefore, “Walk in the wisdom of the Lord” (Ephesians 4:17, 5:15-21; Colossians 4:5).
Redeeming The Time
Paul wants every saved saint to know “time” is a precious commodity. It’s here one minute and gone the next; and once gone it cannot be recaptured. While “digging deeper,” I found an item Jonathan Edwards wrote in his diary at the age of 20; he said: “(I’m) Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, but improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.”
If we were to paraphrase “redeeming the time,” it might read thusly, “Making wise use of the opportunities we are given.” Plainly said, we must ready to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to take advantage of the doors God opens for us, those opportunities, to share the “mystery of Christ” with others (4:3). Please don’t disregard those occasions to step out of your comfort zone to enlighten someone about what God has said re: the revelation of the mystery or you just might find yourself disappointed thinking, “I should have said something, when I had the chance.”
I can relate because like most people I have regrets about something I did or didn’t do at one “time” or another. My #1 regret is not sharing the good news of salvation by God’s grace alone to those in my Bible study classes at church, i.e., Sunday school. You see, I led all those children astray because I followed the lesson plan my church provided, as did all those with a teaching responsibility, instead of sharing “the word of Christ,” written for this dispensation. When I told the pastor in charge of the Children’s’ Ministry I would no longer teach from their hand-out, I was shown the backdoor of the church and informed my services were no longer required. My prayers for a “do-over” have gone unanswered for the most part, but God has allowed this sad event to enlighten me re: the truth of His Word, rightly divided, and it gave birth to a greater ministry known as Home Bible Study©, a world-wide outreach. My number one prayer today is that I share nothing with those who visit this website that isn’t the truth.
The true Believer must not assume or rationalize their Christian friends and family members are so deeply entrenched in denominationalism that they would never receive God’s message of grace to all. This might be true in some cases, but not in every case. With that thought in mind how many opportunities to share the mystery of God’s grace have you allowed to slip by, simply because of man-made bonds, such as, reluctance to “open your mouth boldly” out of fear of the unknown? If so, please know you’re not alone for that canoe, as they say, is quite crowded. Perhaps, then, it would behoove us all to take these words from Paul to heart:
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” (Ephesians 3:9).
“Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20).
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:5-6).
In closing, I consider it an enlightening fact that Paul had to ask for prayer to open his mouth boldly. This tells me he was not naturally “bold;” he was by nature sensitive and somewhat timid; this is why he repeatedly prayed and requested prayer from the saints for boldness i.e., “to speak as I ought to speak.” This stands both as an inspiration and a warning for all of us for we have knowledge of “the mystery of Christ,” but we clam up when the opportunity arises to share it. Our adversary, the devil, uses our natural timidity, uncertainty, and fear against us to ultimately do his will. Believe me, he doesn’t want people to hear the message of God’s grace for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Thus, we all should covet the prayers of the saints, specifically, “that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” as I ought to.
(To be continued)
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