How can we get APPROVAL from GOD? "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim 2:15)
Apostle Paul is counseling his beloved spiritual son Timothy (1:2) to be “diligent” (which implies constant earnest effort) to get God’s approval since that is what matters most. Approval means one has been put to the test and measures up, thus winning the approval of the person testing him/her. Timothy’s efforts should involve a total effort of his mind, emotion, and will. Apostle Paul counsels Timothy that he should make earnest efforts to properly interpret the Word of God.
Truth defines the nature of Scripture. It is a beacon of truth in the darkness of all kinds of falsehoods. As a teacher of the Bible, Timothy should make every effort to handle God’s Word accurately. Failure to do so will ultimately lead to divine judgment (see James 3:1).
In the Greek Old Testament, the word "rightly dividing" is used in Prov. 3:6; 11:5 to depict God’s provision of a straight path for the righteous. This is used by a skilled craftsman cutting something straight. Paul encouraged Timothy to handle the word of truth in a straight way, like a road that goes straight to its goal, without being turned aside by useless debates. All of the Word of God is true. There are no contradictions when rightly laid out. We cannot add to nor take away anything from God’s Word (Rev 22:19).
For us, this exhortation means that we should take time to study the Bible diligently while prayerfully asking guidance from the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth that God has intended through His Word. It also means that we should teach the truth directly and correctly. We need to apply ourselves first to study God’s Word and then apply His Word in our daily living. That is how we can get God’s approval.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12)