The best way to understand the benefits of the Bible Study Toolbox is to see it in action!

Consider this scenario:

You are preparing to preach a sermon for next Sunday or scheduled to teach a small group this Friday, or maybe you are just studying through Second Timothy. Whatever the circumstance, you want to learn more about 2 Timothy 2:15:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

How can the Chinese Bible Study Toolbox help you in your preparation?

1. Determine the Context

By Pressing on  you can easily see the immediate context of this verse. The various Bible versions agree that 2 Timothy 2:15 is part of a larger section that starts at verse 14 and ends at verse 26. To understand this verse in its context, you need to study 2 Timothy 2:14-26.

2. Understand the Background

Before you go any further in your study of this passage, you need to get a handle on the background of this book. Who wrote it? What was the purpose? What was the situation behind the writing? To obtain this information, go to the right side and look for the tabs with 导论.

Hint: To read this in a bigger window press 2 or 3. To return to the default view press 1.

From reading this you find several helpful insights:

  1. Paul is writing as a prisoner Roman dungeon.
  2. This is the last epistle Paul wrote before his death
  3. The purpose of the letter is to encourage Timothy in his ministry in the Ephesus Church and deal with church matters
  4. The primary theme of the letter is the need for faithfulness in the face of hardship.

From the Introduction to 1 Timothy we learn that:

  1. Paul was like a spiritual father to Timothy, referring to him as "my true son in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2) and "my dear son" (2 Tim. 1:2; cf. Phil. 2:22). Young Timothy was very dear to Paul.
  2. The commentator says:

"Timothy may have been by nature somewhat passive, timid, retiring, and easily intimidated (cf. 2 Tim. 1:7). Thus Paul repeatedly spurred him into action (1 Tim. 1:3; 4:11; 5:7; 6:2; 2 Tim. 3:14; 4:2, 5). He was to let nothing, including his relative youth (1 Tim. 4:12) stand in the way of his performance of duty (2 Tim. 2:1–7; 4:5).

Like a good soldier he was to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12), aggressively protecting and propagating the gospel, using the full range of his gifts (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)."

Hint: By double clicking on any Bible reference you can view the verse.

3. Read the Letter as a Whole

Only reading part of a letter, makes it likely that you will misinterpret or misapply what you read. At this point in your study, go to the center window and read the entire letter. Reading it several times will only increase your understanding. Also make use of the exegetical outlines in the upper left window to understand the major divisions and where 2Timothy 2:14-26 fits into these divisions.

Hint: Clicking on  allows one to expand the upper left window. Clicking on  and  will give you the above view as you seek to read, observe and understand this letter as a whole

4. Compare Different Bible Versions

One of the easiest ways to find interpretive difficulties in the text is to compare Bible versions. For example, if you look at verse 15 in the tab, you can understand the fuller meaning of 在神面前得蒙喜悦. Examine how the other versions have translated this phrase.Furthermore, by clicking on 1384 in the 原和合本, you can immediately see the Greek word and the various ways it was translated in the Union version allowing you to understand the fuller meaning of 蒙喜悦 in the original language.

Hint: By clicking on  you can view all the occurrences and fuller meaning of the Greek.

5. Glean Insights from the Commentaries

The commentaries help you answer interpretive questions, get a deeper understanding of the passage, and fill out the sermon outline with insights, quotes, cross references, etc. Some of these insights are:

v.14 Remind them The instruction of the previous verses was not for Timothy only. Timothy was to keep reminding others of these things. The verb is a present imperative, which means that this was to be Timothy's regular practice. The bulk of preaching to a knowledgeable audience frequently consists of reminding them of what they already know.

v.14 quarrel about words A mere war of words displeases Paul (Titus 3:9) …useless…merely upsets the hearers.

v.14 Such wrangling is of no value, but worse, actually ruins those who listen (cf. 2 Tim. 2:16, 18; 3:6), The destructiveness, but especially the worthlessness, of false teaching is a recurrent note in the Pastorals.

v.15 As for Timothy, he was to do his best (lit., "be zealous") to be sure he would meet with God's approval, a "laborer" (ergatēn; cf. Matt. 20:1, 8) who does not need to be ashamed. Paul had spoken of shame before men (2 Tim. 1:8, 12, 16); far worse is shame before God. Timothy need not fear such shame if he would correctly handle the Word of truth.

v.15 "rightly handling" Parry argues that the metaphor is the stone mason cutting the stones straight since τεμνω [temnō] and ὀρθος [orthos] are so used. Since Paul was a tent-maker and knew how to cut straight the rough camel-hair cloth, this is likely the metaphor he was thinking of. Certainly plenty of exegesis is crooked enough (crazy-quilt patterns) to call for careful cutting to set it straight.

v.16-17 avoid godless chatter (lit., "shun profane empty utterances"; cf. 1 Tim. 6:20) which only advances ungodliness like gangrene (gangraina). (Such godless chatter contrasts with "the Word of truth" [2 Tim. 2:15] and "the truth" [v. 18].) The medical image is striking. Participating with those who engage in such profane speculations will only, literally, "give their words a feeding place like gangrene." They must be amputated instead. Two who deserved such treatment were Philetus about whom nothing is known, and Hymenaeus, whom Paul had already "delivered over to Satan" for chastisement (1 Tim. 1:20).

v. 17 will eat (νομην ἑξει [nomēn hexei]). "Will have (future active of ἐχω [echō]) pasturage or increase" (νομη [nomē], old word from νεμω [nemō], to pasture, in N. T. only here and John 10:9).

v.17 gangrene From γραω [graō] or γραινω [grainō], to gnaw, to eat, an eating, spreading disease.

v.18 the resurrection. Greek philosophers typically viewed the soul as immortal and the body as its temporal prison. The idea of the physical resurrection of the body, both Christ's and the Christians', was therefore foreign and difficult for them to grasp. Hence there was a natural tendency toward heresies which rejected bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 15; Acts 17:32) … But bodily resurrection is the keystone of Christian doctrine, as Paul showed (1 Cor. 15). Without it, the entire edifice of the gospel collapses. Little wonder then that Paul said that these two false teachers destroy the faith of some. Contact:

6. Use the Preaching Outline to help form your Message

Although you will probably end up modifying this preaching outline, it is a good starting place to help you create a message that explains the text and applies it to people today.

Introduction: A short story showing the negative results of conflict in the church.

Explain the background: Paul and Timothy's relationship and current situation, the theme and purpose of the letter, and the larger context of chapters one and two.

Transition Statement: Paul from a Roman dungeon writes one of his final letters to encourage and instruct a young pastor Timothy, SO THAT all those who shepherd the church will understand their God-given responsibilities towards believers in the church.

A. Remind your people of the great scriptural truths (2:14a).

  • Grammar Point: Emphasize that this needs to be the regular practice of a shepherd.
  • Key Reference: 2 Timothy 4:1-2

B. Warn them against petty arguments (2:14b)

  • Key Thought: Such wrangling is of no value, but worse, actually ruins those who listen
  • Key References: Titus 3:9; 1 Tim 6:3-5; cf. 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:23

C. Strive to become an approved workman before God (2:15).

  • Grammar Point: A command (imperative) to be zealous to accurately handle God's truth.
  • Key Thought: There is shame that believers feel before men (2 Tim. 1:8, 12, 16); but far worse will be shame before God. Paul tells Timothy that he need not fear such shame if he would correctly handle the Word of truth.
  • Key References: 2 Cor. 10:18; Ga. 1:10; 1 Th. 2:4

D. Avoid godless controversies (2:16–19, 23–26).

  1. The examples (2:16–17): Paul points out two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have involved themselves in these controversies.
    • Note: Hymenaeus had already been "delivered over to Satan" for chastisement (1 Tim. 1:20).
    • Grammar Point: Like gangrene will eat or spread in your body, ungodliness will spread (future), find pasturage, increase in the church.
    • Key References: 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:20; Titus 3:9

    Continue in this way to fill out the remaining points.

  2. The error (2:18–19): They are claiming that the resurrection from the dead has already occurred.
  3. The endeavor (2:23–26): Timothy must gently instruct those who would oppose him with the goal of leading them to repentance.

E. Present your body as a clean vessel to God (2:20–21)

F. Avoid evil, and pursue good (2:22)

7. Conclusion

Only the Word of God is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." The Bible Study Toolbox was designed to help you to "accurately handle the word of Truth". The Holy Spirit will take that truth and change your life and the lives of those whom you shepherd.