In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul writes, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There are several things the church needs to hear about this text.

In the first place, the Christian ministry must be populated by men who work hard. Like the farmer in 2 Timothy 2:6 who is described as “The hardworking farmer,” ministers are to labor diligently in the word and doctrine. Second, the Christian minister is to seek the approval of God, not men. This is not to say that he should purposefully try and offend men, but he should not cater to men by sacrificing the truth of God’s word. If God is pleased with the minister of the gospel, that is the minister’s greatest reward. Third, it is only as the minister is diligent and approved by God that he will have a clear conscience (“a worker who does not need to be ashamed”). If he is lazy, seeking the favor of men, and otherwise negligent in his calling, then he should be ashamed.

There is, unfortunately, a common misunderstanding concerning the ministry of the word that is associated with Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:19. Jesus said, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak.” In the context, Christ gives specific instructions to the apostles for their missionary endeavors. Verses 16-23 deal specifically with the persecution the apostles would face when they preached the gospel to unbelieving Jews and later in the Roman Empire (note Acts 4:8-12 for the specific application of this promise in the ministry of Peter). It should be obvious that Christ is not giving universal rules for the normative conduct of gospel ministers, but He is giving an extraordinary promise of the Spirit’s aid for the coming persecution that His apostles would face. France writes, “As in [Matthew] 6:25-34, the assurance is not an excuse for failure to make responsible provision for foreseeable needs; to take this assurance as an excuse for lazy preachers, insisting that all Christian utterance must be spontaneous and unprepared, is to take it seriously out of context.”[1]

The normative instruction for gospel ministers is found in our text, for Paul says the minister of the gospel must rightly divide the word of truth. This is consistent with Paul’s emphasis on sound doctrine throughout the Pastoral Epistles (cf. 1 Tim 1:10; 2:4; 3:2; 3:15; 4:6; 4:13; 2 Tim 1:13; 3:16-17; 4:3; Tit 1:1; 1:9; 2:1). For the minister to rightly divide the word of truth (or, handle “accurately the word of truth” NASB), he must study; he must prepare; he must strive to accurately expound the Scriptures. He does this, of course, with prayerfulness and with dependence on the Holy Spirit, but he must “Be diligent to show [himself] approved to God…”

It is not an either/or scenario: godly ministers will only depend on the Holy Spirit, or godly ministers will only study. Rather, it is both/and: godly ministers will give themselves to the study of God’s word and do so in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Only then will they be able to prepare sermons that will feed the sheep of Christ.

[1] R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007), 392.

It is common for persons to have various interests in various things. When persons have such interests, they typically learn about what they’re interested in. This may mean reading a book on the subject, watching a documentary, or just getting involved in the activity or topic that interests them. It is often the case that those things that interest people have specific words or terminology associated with the topic. Hockey lovers know what a “hat trick” is; foodies know what a “soufflé” is; gardeners know what a “perennial” is.

Christians profess to worship and adore God Almighty. He, therefore, should be the supreme interest of all Click to read more about “What Interests You?”

The genius of Particular Baptist covenant theology is seen in the 2nd London Confession of Faith 1677/1689 (2LCF) Chapter 7. In paragraph 1, the general necessity of God’s working through covenant is stated. It is because of “voluntary condescension on God’s part” that he establishes the covenant of grace to bring the “reward of life” to his elect. In paragraph 2, the essential elements of the covenant of grace are highlighted:
Click to read more about “The Covenant of Grace”

The covenant of redemption was pretemporal; the covenant of works was established by God for Adam and his posterity in the Garden of Eden. The Westminster Confession of Faith 7:2 (WCF) gives a helpful summary statement of the covenant of works: “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.” Though this paragraph is absent from the 2LCF, this should not be understood as a rejection of the covenant of works by the Particular Baptists. The 2LCF refers to the covenant of works in 7:3, 19:6, and 20:1 and thereby affirms its biblical status. Therefore, as confessional Baptists, we must reject the current tendency represented in various theological camps to do away with the covenant of works. One’s view of the covenant of works will affect one’s view of the covenant of grace and the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Click to read more about “The Covenant of Works”

In the 2nd London Confession of Faith, chapter 2:1, we read concerning God: “The Lord our God is but one only living and true God…without body, parts, or passions…” The denial of passions with reference to God is referred to as the doctrine of divine impassibility.

A Statement of the Doctrine

A standard definition of impassibility is, “That divine attribute whereby God is said not to experience inner emotional changes, whether enacted freely from within or effected by his relationship to and interaction with human beings and the created order.” Click to read more about “What does ‘God…without passions’ Mean?”