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 (King James Version)
In the movie “Enter the Dragon” we are introduced to a man named Lee (played by the late Bruce Lee), a master of Kung Fu who must defeat a renegade in order to redeem his honor. At the beginning of the film, Lee is asked by his aged master about what it means to be a true martial artist. His final answer was when it came time for him to attack, he didn’t hit but the hit came by itself.
What did Lee mean by this statement? In order to be good at anything, whether it is martial arts, dancing, singing, acting, or even public speaking; one has to practice many times in order to achieve mastery. When that mastery comes, the techniques no longer need to be memorized but become almost an extension of that person; hence the hit comes by itself.
This principle of mastery can also be applied to those who are followers of Jesus Christ. The purpose for every believer is to grow in a way that resembles the One who saved us, the Lord Jesus. What must a believer do in order to be like Christ?
Paul explains this process in his letter to Timothy. Timothy was a young pastor of a church that was originally under the leadership of Paul. One can assume that Timothy must have felt inadequate in taking the place of such a colossus of faith as Paul was.
In order to grow in the likeness of Christ, Paul explains, a believer must devote himself/herself to studying the Word of God. Now when he said study, Paul isn’t talking about reading a few verses and moving on. Instead, he is talking about a studying that requires in-depth thinking of the words written in the Holy Scriptures.
This kind of studying would require us to memorize what we have read. Now this memorization goes way beyond just rote repetition which can be easily remembered and then forgotten. Instead it is an application memorization; each word of the verse is examined as a piece and then as a whole in order to experience the full flavor what God wants us to know about Him.
Now this type of study can’t be mastered overnight. It takes a great deal of patience and practice in order to be a true child of God who is in the image of Christ. Fortunately, we are not alone in our training, for the Holy Spirit is our teacher and will reveal to us God’s will the more we study it.
Has reading and studying God’s Word become second nature to you? To be quite honest, I myself have not reached that level of mastery; indeed I believe none of us have reached that level yet. Only through hard work and in-depth study on a consistent basis can help us achieve this; and when that happens we become effective workmen of God who would not be ashamed of the Gospel (due to ignorance of His ways) for the truth doesn’t come, it comes by itself through us.