I have been in school my entire life, with years of taking classes and years of teaching students. I am constantly learning new techniques, gathering information, perfecting programs, refining my understanding, and researching new terms and ideas.
Because that is what it takes to do my job, to teach well.
Look at any profession. The workers who stand out – in a good way – are the ones who pay attention to the work. They learn the language of the job and their boss. They increase their understanding of the tasks; they make connections and work at building their expertise.
Whether waitress or lawyer, technician or teacher, learning is important.
The Christian walk is no different. If we want to be effective workers for God, we need to study His manual, the Bible.
When teaching, I can pour myself into my students, sharing knowledge, explaining, clarifying, questioning, challenging. At some point, however, the student must engage the brain with the information, or it will flow between the ears like a river to the sea leaving very little in its wake.
This is not unlike preachers and teachers who faithfully proclaim God’s Word every week to believers who never engage with the information. We expect our spiritual food to be chewed up for us and served in 30-minute segments once a week. The result of this lack of personal engagement with God’s Word is anemic Christians who struggle to stand in the work of every day life. Instead of showing up as prepared workers, we need the infirmary.
There is a solution for this. Paul gives it in II Timothy 2:15.
II Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Study. Know God’s Word.
I know ‘study’ is often seen as a dirty word, but don’t you want to read about Someone Who loves you and wants the absolute best for you?
Anyone can begin. Start with one chapter or one verse. Read it multiple times. Look up the words you don’t know. Think about how it applies to your life. Ask God to help you understand. He gives us His Holy Spirit for this very purpose.
An easy way to begin is to choose a book of the Bible. If you are just starting out, you may want to choose a New Testament book, like the Gospel of John. Read a short passage, and ask yourself these questions.
- Are there any promises for me in these verses?
- Are there any commands that I need to obey?
- Do these verses reveal any sins I need to confess?
Read with a pencil, recording your thoughts and underlining verses that stand out to you. Then, pray and ask God to help you obey and trust what He has given you in His Word.
The more you read, the more you will begin to understand and connect the thoughts in Scripture. You are learning God’s language for your life.
I have listed a couple of additional resources at the end of this post. There are many more, but don’t get so caught up in learning how that it keeps you from just reading the Scripture. We are easily sidetracked!
The most important step in becoming a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed is simply beginning to read. Don’t let this world keep you from the treasures in God’s Word. He intended for you to understand it. He wrote it to tell us of His love.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Good post. I think one of the disadvantages of having one man lead a congregation is like you said, many do not engage. I believe that if Christians saw themselves as “ministers” or “ambassadors” of Christ, rather than as a passive laity under a leader, they will be more inclined to read and study the Bible and be equipped. We need to be bereans and check the scriptures to see if what the pastor says is true.
We are most blessed when we have faithful ministers and consistent, personal study of the word.