2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Explanation and Commentary of 2 Timothy 2:15
We are saved and sanctified by grace. There is a sense in which even in our obedience we would see God’s gracious hand guiding us and helping us to follow him. If we obey and do what he requires of us, we should thank him at the end of it.
That said, the New Testament authors continually exhort us to make effort to be godly, righteous, holy, and loving. We are taught to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” and to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love (2 Pt 1:5-7). Grace is not opposed to effort. It is only opposed to earning. Salvation is free by grace. But we have been set free so that we can live in the “newness of life” (Ro 6:4).
God has dealt with our guilt and shame by the cross. We can monitor ourselves moving forward by the level of shame after receiving the free gift of life. It makes us ashamed not to live up “to what we have attained” (Phil 3:16). Once free in Christ, we should be able to walk upright, seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we do this, there will be no cause for shame. This, along with teaching accurately, is how to correctly handle “the word of truth.”
Breaking Down the Key Parts of 2 Timothy 2:15
#1 “Do your best…”
“You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). But in this temporary flesh in a fallen world, we might slip on occasion, and if so, we must repent and get back on the narrow path. But we are charged to “do [our] best.” The trouble with most people is not that their best for God isn’t good enough. It is that, in reality, they are not giving God their best.
#2 “…to present yourself to God as one approved,”
You are already “one approved” if you are a believer in Christ. The question is always, “will we act like it?” Our best effort is required to live up to the standard of approval that our Father has given us. He has chosen to make us righteous. It is right to seek to live unto God as a result of the Holy Spirit given to us.
#3 “a worker who does not need to be ashamed…”
Being ashamed has characterized humanity since the fall (Gen 3:7). Jesus diagnosed those who would not bear their cross daily and follow him as “ashamed of him” (Lk 9:26). He said of them that he would be ashamed at his second coming. We are to be “workers” for the Lord, always abounding in this work (1 Cor 15:56). We will not be ashamed if what we say we believe and how we live line up with each other.
#4 “…who correctly handles the word of truth.”
This could mean that the worker for the Lord is to teach God’s Word properly and with proper interpretation, but it can also simply mean that to “handle” the word of truth is to understand the truth and live accordingly. The opposite would be to know the truth but fail to live up to it, betraying our lack of true belief.
Bible Study on 2 Timothy 2:15
Expert Overview of 2 Timothy
Biblical Translations of 2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.