2 Timothy 2:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

2 Timothy 2:15, NIV: "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."

2 Timothy 2:15, ESV: "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."

2 Timothy 2:15, KJV: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

2 Timothy 2:15, NASB: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."

2 Timothy 2:15, NLT: "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."

2 Timothy 2:15, CSB: "Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn't need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth."

What does 2 Timothy 2:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After commenting about false teachers in the previous verse, Paul urges Timothy to view himself as a worker seeking to please God. Any worker or servant should desire to satisfy the expectations of his or her boss. Timothy was to view his work for God in the same way. He was not serving to please other people, but to please the Lord. Paul knew well the many ways the world can distract a Christian's focus. These worldly forces would seek to draw Timothy's attention to making people happy, rather than viewing the Lord as the one to please.

Timothy's challenge is not only to be approved, but to be a worker "who has no need to be ashamed." Paul had already spoken of not being ashamed on three occasions in the previous chapter (2 Timothy 1:8, 12, 16). During times of suffering, Paul felt the need to emphasize boldness in faith to those tempted to avoid hardship and persecution. His boldness also involved "rightly handling the word of truth." In contrast with the false teachers who argued over words, Timothy had learned the Scriptures from his youth and was to handle it accurately.

The distinction presented here is important. In the prior verse, Paul condemned pointless bickering. Here, he commends deeper study. Putting these two ideas together gives us an accurate picture of what Christian discernment is meant to look like. There are some issues which involve the "soundness" of the gospel message, and others which do not. We need to study diligently, not only to defend the faith, but to know the difference between something worth battling over, and something which is just a distracting argument.