Intensify Your Study of Scriptures and Make God Smile: Rightly Divide the Word of Truth!

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

Amplified: Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)

Darby: Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth.

Wuest: Bend your every effort to present yourself to God, approved, a workman unashamed, expounding soundly the word of the truth. (Eerdmans)

Young’s Literal: be diligent to present thyself approved to God–a workman irreproachable, rightly dividing the word of the truth;

BE DILIGENT: spoudason (2SAAM):

Wuest = “Bend your every effort”.


Be diligent (4704) (spoudazo from spoude = earnestness, diligence) conveys the idea hastening to do something with the implication of associated energy or with intense effort and motivation. It suggest zealous concentration and diligent effort. Spoudazo speaks of intensity of purpose followed by intensity of effort toward the realization of that purpose.

Spoudazo is in the aorist imperative, a command to do this now. Don’t delay. Do it effectively. Demonstrate a zealous persistence to accomplish an objective. ”Do your utmost for His highest’!  It is vitally important that we understand Paul’s charge to “Just Do It!” Paul is not seeking to put us under the burden of the law but quite to the contrary he expects us to submit to the Spirit of Grace (Heb 10:29), the only One Who can enable us to keep this command. Stated another way ,God’s commandments always come “pre-packaged” with His enablement (His “Enabler” the indwelling Spirit)! This command can only be obeyed as we are yield to the indwelling Spirit Who continually “energizes” us Php 2:13NLTnote! Therefore it is imperative (pun intended) that we stay filled! (Eph 5:18note! – even the desire to stay filled is “paradoxically possible” only by the Spirit! Oh, what a divine delightful mystery!) Daily filled we must daily walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16note) not grieving Him (Eph 4:30note) or quenching Him (1Th 5:19note). Then we can be diligent!

Study of God’s Word takes effort! Inductive Bible study is the most difficult Bible study I have have ever done has also been by far the most rewarding and edifying.

Spoudazo – 11v in NT – Gal 2:10Ep 4:31Th. 2:172Ti 2:152Ti 4:92Ti 4:21Titus 3:12He 4:112Pe 1:102Pe 1:153:14. NAS renders as – diligent(6), eager(2), make every effort(3).

Spoudazo is used in the papyri in such senses as “do your best, take care, hurry on the doing of something.”

Spoudazo is marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application. The idea is give maximum effort, do your best, spare no effort, hurry on, be eager! Hasten to do a thing, exert yourself, endeavour to do it. It means not only to be willing to do with eagerness, but to follow through and make diligent effort. Give your utmost for His highest!

In other words spoudazo does not stop with affecting one’s state of mind, but also affects one’s activity.

Spoudazo conveys the idea of exertion. It means to be conscientious, zealous and earnest in discharging a duty or obligation.

The verb speaks of intensity of purpose followed by intensity of effort toward the realization of that purpose.

To be diligent is to exert steady, earnest, and energetic effort and suggests earnest application to some specific object or pursuit. The idea is careful and persevering in carrying out tasks or duties. It means to be assiduous (marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application).

Spoudazo basically means to make haste, and from that come the meanings of zeal and diligence. One commentator describes it as a holy zeal that demands full dedication.

Wuest says that spoudazo means “to make haste, do one’s best, take care, desire. The idea of making haste, being eager, giving diligence, and putting forth effort are in the word. The word speaks of intense effort and determination.” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

The supreme purpose of the diligent and selfless teacher is to please God. – For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?” Paul asked Galatian believers. “Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:10note)

Every Christian teacher and preacher should be able to say, “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts (1Thes 2:4note).

His greatest desire is to hear his Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Mt 25:21).”

Charles Kingsley – Have thy tools ready; God will find thee work.

The most beneficial study of God’s Word requires diligence and perseverance, but the results are worth the effort. A. B. Simpson said…

God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul. All nature is arrayed against the lounger and the idler. The nut is hidden in its thorny case; the pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves; the gold is imprisoned in the rocky bosom of the mountains; the gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it; the very soil gives its harvest as a reward to the laboring farmer. So truth and God must be earnestly sought.

Steven Cole what the key is for a saint to be diligent to rightly divide the Word…

So many Christians are haphazard and lazy rather than diligent in their approach to God’s Word. They don’t systematically read, study, or memorize it. If they read it at all, they jump from passage to passage, pulling verses out of context. They aren’t seeking to know God and how He wants them to think, to believe, and to relate to others. Their lives and relationships are falling apart, but they don’t search diligently to discover what God’s Word tells them

to do about these problems.

The key to being diligent in God’s Word is to be motivated. Motivation is the key to learning. Have you ever been on an airplane and watched the passengers as the stewardess gives the instructions on how to use the emergency breathing apparatus? They’re reading their newspapers or impatiently thinking, “Hurry up so we can get going!” They’re not motivated to hear her boring instructions. But suppose they’re airborne and the pilot comes on the intercom and says, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re experiencing some severe trouble with our engines. We’re going to have to depressurize the cabin and make an emergency landing. The stewardess is going to explain how to use the emergency breathing apparatus.” Do you think he would have to add, “Please give her your full attention”? People would be motivated!

So the key to being motivated to be diligent in God’s Word is to recognize, “I live in the presence of God! Someday soon I will give an account to Him. His Word alone contains His wisdom on how to live in a way that pleases Him, which is the only way to true happiness for me. So I’ve got to be diligent to search out what the Scriptures say about knowing God and His wisdom for living.” (See full message 2 Timothy 2:14-19 Using the Word Properly)


Present (3936) (paristemi from pará = near + hístemi = place, stand) literally means to stand beside or near, to present and includes idea of yielding, to place at the disposal of another and so to lay oneself out for the use of another. In the Septuagint (LXX) paristemi was used as a technical term for priest’s placing offering on altar. This word conveys the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. Josephus (Ant., 4, 113) writes

“He then slew the sacrifices, and offered (paristemi) them as burnt offerings, that he might observe some signal of the flight of the Hebrews.”

The aorist tense here indicates a decisive, wholehearted act, yet in this case it is one requiring the diligence of repetition.

Paristemi – 40v in NT (study the uses especially in Romans) – Matt. 26:53Mk. 4:2914:47697015:3539Lk. 1:192:2219:24Jn. 18:2219:26Acts 1:3104:10269:394123:24243324:1327:23fRom. 6:13161912:114:1016:21 Co. 8:82 Co. 4:1411:2Eph. 5:27Col. 1:22282 Tim. 2:154:1722NAS renders paristemias -bystanders(5), come(1), commend(1), help(1), present(11), presented(4), presenting(1),prove(1), provide(1), put at My disposal(1), stand before(2), standing(2), standing beside(1), standing nearby(1), stands(1),stands here(1), stood(2), stood before(1), stood beside(2), took their stand(1).

It is a standing alongside of or before God, of presenting oneself for inspection, as it were, in order to be approved by Him.

The verb paristemi is used in a similar manner by Paul in his letter to the Romans where he writes “why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before(paristemi) the judgment seat of God.” (Ro 14:10note)

Note that this judgment has to do with a believer’s service, not his sins (1Co 3:1112131415). It is a time of review and reward, and is not to be confused with the Judgment of the Gentile nations (Mt 25:31323334353637383940414243444546) or the Judgment of the Great White Throne (Rev 20:1112131415notes). The latter is the final judgment of all the wicked dead.

Be diligent that you might receive your degree…

Approved Unto God

Steven Cole points out that…

Present is used (2 Cor 11:2Ep 5:27 [note]) to speak of a bride being presented to her bridegroom. It’s a very personal, loving act when a young woman gives herself to a young man in marriage. In that culture (pre-women’s lib) it meant that she was giving herself completely to him: her devotion, her time, her body, her complete focus was now toward her husband because of his love for her and her love for him. That’s how we should come to the Bible. It’s not just a book of principles for how to live. It tells us of Christ’s enduring love for His bride. As His bride, we should seek to please Him and be available to do His will. As such, our focus should not be on what others think of us, but on what God thinks. Too many pastors fall into the trap of pleasing people, rather than pleasing God. While it’s nice to be liked, my main focus is to be, “approved to God.” Our goal is to please our heavenly Bridegroom who loved us and gave Himself for us.

When Jim Elliot, who was later martyred in the jungles of Ecuador, was a student at Wheaton College, he wrote in his diary, “My grades came through this week, and were, as expected, lower than last semester. However, I make no apologies, and admit I’ve let them drag a bit for study of the Bible, in which I seek the degree A.U.G., ‘approved unto God’” (Shadow of the Almighty [Zondervan], p. 43).

Come to the Bible to deepen your love life with the Lord, to learn how you can please Him more. (See full message 2 Timothy 2:14-19 Using the Word Properly)

APPROVED TO GOD: dokimon parastesai (AAN) to theo:

Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. (2Co 5:9note)

The Steps of Those Whom He Approves
Wait on the Lord and keep His way,
And then, by Him approved,
Thy heritage shall still remain
When sinners are removed.

Approved (1384) (dokimos from dokime = test, proof, trial = idea is that when you put metal through a fiery testing and it comes out on the other side enduring it “proven”, “authentic” or “genuine” Click discussion of related word dokimazo and the antonym = adokimos) describes one who has stood the test.

Vine writes that dokimos signifies “that which is approved by being proved, that which stands the test (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Wuest adds this description that dokimos means to “put to the test for the purpose of being approved, and having met specifications, having the stamp of approval placed upon one. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

dokimos man or dokimos character is like metal which has been cleansed of all alloy and impurity. In James 1:12 (see below) the weaknesses of such a one have been eradicated and he emerges strong and pure. That which is dokimos is shown to be trustworthy and genuine.

Approved describes anything tested and fit for service. As alluded to above, this term was used of gold and silver which has been purified by fire of all alloy.

Dokimos is the word describing money which is genuine or as we would say sterling (silver) [sterling = conforming to the highest standard]. In other words, a persons must first be “proved” before being “approved”. One so approved is assayed by the One Who has eyes like flames of fire (Rev 1:14note) yet passes this scrutiny and is counted as worthy.

Dokimos is a word which motivates one to have a “God consciousness” (cp “Coram Deo” – before the face of God!), a consciousness of His presence and of living and acting in His sight, so as to please Him in all things. (e.g., see the use by James below)

Sometimes it is helpful to get a sense of the meaning of a word by observing uses of its antonym and here Isaiah 1:22note presents us with a clear picture, where God is speaking to faithless Israel declaring “Your silver has become dross (Hebrew = siyg = literally that which is turned away or skimmed off in the refining process, the waste or impurity, the refuse after smelting precious metal and figuratively that which is base or worthless), Your drink diluted with water. (Comment: The Septuagint -LXX translates siyg with the Greek word adokimos)

Richards writes that dokimos “is used in the NT in the sense of recognition, of being officially approved and accepted.

Barclay – The Greek for one who has stood the test is dokimos, which describes anything which has been tested and is fit for service. For instance, it describes gold or silver which has been purified of all alloy in the fire. It is therefore the word for money which is genuine, or, as we would say, sterling. It is the word used for a stone which is fit to be fitted into its place in a building. A stone with a flaw in it was marked with a capital A, standing for adokimastos, which means tested and found wanting. Timothy was to be tested that he might be a fit weapon for the work of Christ, and therefore a workman who had no need to be ashamed. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible)

The root dek-, dechomai, accept, gives two verbal derivatives dokeo and dokao. The former means (intrans.) to appear, have the appearance, (trans.) to think, believe, consider right; the latter means expect. Derivatives of the former are: (a) dokimos, trustworthy, reliable, tested, recognized, used as a technical term for genuine, current coinage, but also applied to persons enjoying general esteem; (b) adokimos, untested, not respected; (c) indirectly also dokimion, test, probation; (d) from dokimos are also derived dokimazo, test, pronounce good, establish by trial, recognize, and apodokimazo, disapprove of, reject, blame; dokimasis and dokimasia, investigation, testing (preparatory to installing in an office); dokime, approved character, trial. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Dokimos is used 7 times in the NT…

Romans 14:18 (note) For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

John MacArthur comments: Dokimos (approved) refers to acceptance after careful examination, as when a jeweler carefully inspects a gem under a magnifying glass to determine its genuineness and value. When we serve Christ selflessly, we prove ourselves “to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (see note Philippians 2:15). (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)

Romans 16:10 (note) Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.

Comment: O, that the “tribe” of Apelles might increase for whatever it was he did in the way of ministry and service, it was done in the sphere of [sufficiency of, power of, grace of] Christ, allowing Christ to live out His supernatural life through him. Apelles understood the vital principle Jesus taught in John 15:5 that “if you abide in Me and I abide in you shall bear much fruit for apart from Me you can do absolutely nothing that will pass the test.” The “works” of Apelles will be tried by fire in 1 Corinthians 3:13-14 and even as pure gold will be found to pass the test of purity in the eyes of the Refiner. May God be pleased to raise up many Apelles in the modern church in America. Amen.

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approvedmay have become evident among you.

2 Corinthians 10:18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

2 Corinthians 13:7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.

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.

James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial (the test is not designed to destroy us but to display the genuineness of our faith); for once he has been approved (dokimos – in the context he has passed the test and his faith is intact), he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (Comment: The principle is simple and clear that perseverance brings God’s approval, and His approval brings the crown of life)

There are 6 uses of dokimos in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen 23:161 Ki 10:181 Chr 28:1829:42 Chr 9:17Zech 11:13) and here are some representative uses…

Genesis 23:16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard (Lxx = “approved [dokimos] with merchants”.

1 Kings 10:18 Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined (Hebrew = pazaz = refined; Lxx = dokimos) gold.

1 Chronicles 29:4 namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined (Hebrew = zaqaq = purified, refined, purged; Lxx = dokimos) silver, to overlay the walls of the buildings;

2 Chronicles 9:17 Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure (Hebrew = tahor = pure, clean, genuine – used ninety times in the Old Testament, primarily to distinguish things that were culturally pure, capable of being used in, or taking part in the religious rituals of Israel; Lxx = dokimos) gold.

Donald Barnhouse has the following interesting explanation of dokimos writing that

In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved

AS A WORKMAN: ergaten:

This was Paul’s warp and woof, to be God’s man, God’s workman who expressed his earnest expectation and hope this way “that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Php 1:20-see note) (And we should each seek to be imitators of Paul, just as he was of Christ)

Workman (2040) (ergates from ergazomai = meaning to engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort. It is the root of English words like ergs, ergonomics, etc) literally describes a worker (workman) or laborer, someone who is engaged in labor (Mt 10:10Mt 20:1-28, etc). An ergates is one who effects something or brings about an effect through exertion of effort, whether mental or physical. In the spiritual realm, some of the workers are good (believers – Mt 9:37381Ti 5:182Ti 2:15) and some are evil (unbelievers = deceitful workers in 2Cor 11:13, evil workers – Php 3:2, workers of evil literally in Lk 13:27)

Liddell-Scott – (I) a workman: esp. one who works the soil, a husbandman, Herodotus, the country-folk. 2. as Adj. hard-working, strenuous, Xenophon (II). one who practices an art, c. gen., Id. (II) a doer, worker, Sophocles, Xenophon.

Ergates – 16x in 15v – not found in non-apocryphal Septuagint (“evildoer” in 1Macc 3:6).

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Matthew 10:10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 “When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’

Luke 10:2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

7 “Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

Luke 13:27note and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’ (Literally workers of unrighteousness)

Comment: Jesus is just – these individuals just don’t accidentally (or unintentionally) fall into sin, but actually “work at” committing sin. Their punishment (eternal damnation) fits their crime (“tireless” evil workers).

Acts 19:25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

Philippians 3:2note Beware (3 separate present imperatives – commanding continual vigilance) of the dogs, beware of the evil workersbeware of the false circumcision;

1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

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

James 5:4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

There are also a number of metaphorical uses in the NT (as here in 2Ti 2:15) describing one who is engaged in the work of some spiritual activity, whether good or bad (study the uses below, noting the repeated association that the ergates is “worthy of his wages” – beloved the hard working farmer should be the first to receive his share of the “wages” even now [2Ti 2:6note] and yet even better he is storing up wages in the “bank of heaven” (cp 1Ti 4:8noteMt 6:20note, cp Mt 19:211Ti 6:171819He 10:34noteHe 11:26note1Pe 1:4note). Are you working for this life or the life to come? Do not lose heart as you labor [Gal 6:910], striving according to His power which mightily works within you [Col 1:28noteCol 1:29noteHe 13:2021note], for your “payday” awaits eternity and the bema seat [word study] of Christ [2Cor 5:101Co 3:1112131415], the Lord of the harvest. Redeem the work days you have [Ep 5:16noteRo 13:11noteRo 13:12note] for the days are evil and our life is but a vapor – cp Ps 90:12noteJas 1:1011noteJas 4:14Ps 102:3notePs 102:11notePs 103:1516notePs 144:4noteIsa 40:671Pe1:2425noteJob 7:6)

Only one life
Twill soon pass
Only what’s done for (in) Christ will last

So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.
— Moses – Ps 90:12note

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset,
two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes.
No reward offered, for they are gone for ever.

Redeem the time! God only knows
How soon our little life may close,
With all its pleasures and its woes,
Redeem the time!
— Anonymous

God set a goal, yet gave the choice
To mortals how time may be spent,
Admonishing that worth, not length,
Values time’s accomplishment.
— Mortenson

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
(Julius Caesar, 4.3.217)

Whatever your hand finds to do,
verily, do it with all your might;
for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol
where you are going. (Eccl 9:10)

Life is too short for us to do everything we want to do; but it is long enough for us to do everything God wants us to do. – Anon.

Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act. – Richard Baxter

Time should not be spent, it should be invested in the kingdom of God. -John Blanchard (Blanchard, John: Complete Gathered Gold: A Treasury of Quotations for Christians – Recommended)

Time is not yours to dispose of as you please; it is a glorious talent that men must be accountable for as well as any other talent. – Thomas Brooks

There is nothing puts a more serious frame into a man’s spirit than to know the worth of his time. -Thomas Brooks

We are to redeem the time because we ourselves are redeemed.-Richard Chester

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life to save. -Will Rogers

Too busy for all that is holy on earth beneath the sky,
Too busy to serve the Master, but—not too busy to die!—Anon.

ETERNITY will be appreciated only in the measure that we have rightly handled TIME!-F. King

Adoniram Judson alluded to making the most of your opportunities when he wrote that…

A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity…the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever…each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny….How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness…! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.

Many years ago when the great missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs he penned a chapter entitled: “What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson.” That lighted countenance had changed his life. Even as flowers thrive when they bend to the light, so shining, radiant faces come to those who constantly turn toward Christ! Over 3000 years ago Moses prayed a prayer that is reflected in the life of Adoniram Judson and might well be an appropriate prayer of every saint who loves “His (Christ’s) appearing” (2Ti 4:8note) (Spurgeon’s devotional)…

So teach us to number our days,
that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom
(Psalm 90:12) (Spurgeon’s note)

Ergates in the ancient world was used especially of one who works the soil. Xenophon uses ergates to describe one who practices an art.

Ergates is used 15 times in the NT (no uses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint) and is rendered in the NAS as laborer(2), laborers(6), worker(1), workers(4), workman(1), workmen(1).

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Matthew 10:10 or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2 “And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:8 “And when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’

Luke 10:2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Luke 10:7 “And stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

Luke 13:27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers (literally “doers of unrighteousness” = ergates adikia).’

Acts 19:25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

Philippians 3:2note Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

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.

James 5:4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

The Word of Truth is the workman’s tool for building, measuring, and repairing God’s people. Carriers of the truth of God are to represent that truth and the God of truth well enough that we need never apologize for ourselves. God wants His people to be well prepared in the interpretation of God’s truth. The messenger who interprets God’s truth for others is an agent of His revelation.

It is clear from both the OT and NT, as well as from church history and our own time, that many of the worst false teachers claim to be servants of God (2Co 11:13). The majority of scribes, Pharisees, and other Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day considered themselves to be the godliest of the godly, as well as the only reliable interpreters of Scripture. Jesus called these men “blind guides of the blind” (Mt 15:14Mt 23:1624)

Wuest writes that “A workman approved is a workman who has been put to the test, and meeting the specifications, has won the approval of the one who has subjected him to the test. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

Steven Cole illustrates the approval every workman should strive for “A young man once studied violin under a world-renowned master. When his first big recital came, the crowd cheered after each number, but the young performer seemed dissatisfied. Even after the final number, despite the applause, the musician seemed unhappy. As he took his bows, he was watching an elderly man in the balcony. Finally, the elderly one smiled and nodded in approval. Immediately, the young man beamed with joy. He was not looking for the approval of the crowd. He was waiting for the approval of his master. Christians should be living for God’s approval. We will be approved unto Him as we use the Bible to grow in godliness. Are you growing as a craftsman who uses God’s Word of truth accurately and skillfully to grow in godliness? The misuse of the Bible will lead you to ruin. The proper use will lead you to godliness. (2 Timothy 2:14-19 Using the Word Properly)

Paid loafers and social parasites! – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 It is easy for preachers to become paid loafers and social parasites, wasting their days in pleasure, recreation, and bumming around with open palms and an expectant look. Sadly, the religious hucksters and hirelings of the world have earned their reputation. Let no gospel preacher do so! The pastor has no boss within sight. He is not required to keep regular office hours. And no one checks up on him, to be sure he is working. That is as it should be. Yet, the very fact that a church treats her pastor as she should, makes it possible for the pastor to abuse his office, neglect his work, give himself to idleness, or to providing luxuries for himself and his family; when he should give himself relentlessly to study, and prayer, and preaching. If we devote ourselves to this labor, there will be little time or energy for other things. “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely.” 1 Timothy 4:15-16


Not…ashamed (422) (anepaischuntos from a = without + epaischúnomai = be ashamed) describes the absence of a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.

The diligent workman who handles the Word rightly is irreprehensible (blameless)

Diligence in handling the Word now prevents one from one day having to stand before God and experience the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of having done something dishonorable with the Word of Truth. Let us always seek to Be Bereans – Acts 17:11.

I want among the victor throng
Someday to have my name confessed;
And hear my Master say at last,
“You stand approved, you did your best!”

The diligent workman has no cause for shame and is not liable to be put to shame when his work is inspected.

Application: Could I challenge you to consider measuring all your thoughts, words and deeds by the phrase…

“A workman who does not need to be ashamed.”


Handling accurately (3718) (orthotomeo from orthós = right, standing upright, continuing in a straight direction, figuratively = right, true, of ethically correct behavior + témno = cut or divide) means to make a straight cut, cut straight (of a craftsman cutting a straight line, farmer plowing a straight furrow, mason setting a straight line of bricks, workmen building a straight road.

Metaphorically as used here it speaks of carefully performing a task.

The present tense calls for us to continually rightly divide the Word of Truth. We are to take no short cuts or vacations when it comes to handling God’s Worth in a trustworthy manner. Every time you teach or preach God’s Word of truth you must seek by the Spirit’s illumination and the enabling grace of Christ to cut the Word of Truth straight. In marked contrast are the false teachers who twist the Scriptures to their temporal benefit and their and their hearers eternal detriment!

John MacArthur explains that “Because Paul is a tentmaker, he may have been using an expression that tied in with his trade. When Paul made tents, he used certain patterns. In those days tents were made from the skins of animals in a patchwork sort of design. Every piece would have to be cut and fit together properly. Paul was simply saying, “If one doesn’t cut the pieces right, the whole won’t fit together properly.” It’s the same thing with Scripture. If one doesn’t interpret correctly the different parts, the whole message won’t come through correctly. In Bible study and interpretation the Christian should cut it straight. He should be precise… and accurate. (MacArthur, J: The Charismatics. Zondervan)

BDAG writes that orthotomeo is ” found elsewhere independently of the NT only Pr 3:611:5, where it is used with hodos and plainly means ‘cut a path in a straight direction’ or ‘cut a road across country (that is forested or otherwise difficult to pass through) in a straight direction’, so that the traveler may go directly to his destination. (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)

NIDNTT adds that “orthotomeo is found elsewhere only at Prov. 3:6 (In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.) and Pr 11:5 (Lxx = Righteousness traces out blameless paths: but ungodliness encounters unjust dealing.), where it is used in connexion with (hodos = way, path) cutting a path in a straight direction. It is connected with temno, cut. The idea is that of cutting a path through a forest or difficult terrain so that the traveller may go directly to his destination (Arndt, 584). The vb. occurs only at 2 Tim. 2:15 where the RSV has: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling [orthotomounta] the word of truth.” The phrase may be compared with Plato, Laws 7, 801E: “to proceed along the way of legislation which has been cleared [tetmemenen hodon] by our present discourse.” Arndt suggests that the meaning in 2 Tim. is to guide the word of truth along a straight path, like a road that goes straight to its goal. Other interpretations are to teach the word aright, expound it soundly, shape rightly, and preach fearlessly (cf. Moulton-Milligan, 456 f.). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

The careful exegete and expositor of God’s word of truth must be meticulous in the way he interprets and pieces together the many individual truths found in Scripture. The first and most important principle is that of basing doctrine and standards of living on Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura), a key watchword of the Protestant Reformation.

The image of orthotomeo is that of laying out a road. The teacher is to lay out a clearly marked pathway for others to walk. This effort requires study. Teachers are those who have been gifted by the Spirit and have devoted their minds to God so that they might impart His wisdom to His people. The Word of God however can be abused as well as used. It is always in danger of being distorted by teachers who handle it casually. The only effective way to prevent distortion of the Word of truth is diligent preparation at the study desk.

Where teachers and learners are lax in their study of the Scriptures, Bible classes are often filled with godless chatter and vain babblings. Instead of becoming mature in the faith, members and teachers become ungodly. Yet they claim success because their teaching becomes so popular, spreading “like gangrene.”

Spurgeon commenting on “handling accurately” writes ““Rightly dividing, or Straight Cutting. A ploughman stands here with his plough, and he ploughs right along from this end of the field to the other, making a straight furrow. And so Paul would have Timothy make a straight furrow right through the word of truth. I believe there is no preaching that God will ever accept but that which goes decidedly through the whole line of truth from end to end, and is always thorough, honest, and downright. As truth is a straight line, so must our handling of the truth be straightforward and honest, without shifts or tricks. There are two or three furrows which I have labored hard to plough. One is the furrow of free grace. “Salvation is of the Lord,” — he begins it, he carries it on, he completes it. Salvation is not of man, neither by man, but of grace alone. Grace in election, grace in redemption, grace in effectual calling, grace in final perseverance, grace in conferring the perfection of glory; it is all grace from beginning to end. If we say at any time anything which is really contrary to this distinct testimony that salvation is of grace, believe us not. This furrow must be ploughed fairly, plainly, and beyond all mistake. Sinner, you cannot be saved by any merit, penance, preparation, or feeling of your own. The Lord alone must save you as a work of gratis mercy, not because you deserve it, but because he wills to no it to magnify his abundant love. That is the straight furrow of the Word. (click full sermon “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth”)

Barclay comments that orthotomeo “literally means to cut rightly. It has many pictures in it. Calvin connected it with a father dividing out the food at a meal and cutting it up so that each member of the family received the right portion. Beza connected it with the cutting up of sacrificial victims so that each part was correctly apportioned to the altar or to the priest. The Greeks themselves used the word in three different connections. They used it for driving a straight road across country, for ploughing a straight furrow across a field, and for the work of a mason in cutting and squaring a stone so that it fitted into its correct place in the structure of the building. So the man who rightly divides the word of truth, drives a straight road through the truth and refuses to be lured down pleasant but irrelevant bypaths; he ploughs a straight furrow across the field of truth; he takes each section of the truth, and fits it into its correct position, as a mason does a stone, allowing no part to usurp an undue place and so knock the whole structure out of balance. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible)

Let us continually seek to be like the Psalmist who wrote…

Thy word is very pure,
Therefore Thy servant loves it.
Psalm 119:140
– note

Spurgeon (note) commenting on this verse writes…

Thy word is very pure. It is truth distilled, holiness in its quintessence. In the word of God there is no admixture of error or sin. It is pure in its sense, pure in its language, pure in its spirit, pure in its influence, and all this to the very highest degree — “very pure.”

“Therefore thy servant loveth it,” which is a proof that he himself was pure in heart, for only those who are pure love God’s word because of its purity. His heart was knit to the word because of its glorious holiness and truth. He admired it, delighted in it, sought to practise it, and longed to come under its purifying power.

George Horne – Thy word is very pure. In the original, “tried, purified, like gold in the furnace,” absolutely perfect, without the dross vanity and fallibility, which runs through human writings. The more we try the promises, the surer we shall find them. Pure gold is so fixed, Boerhaave, informs us of an ounce of it set in the eye of a glass furnace for two months, without losing a single grain.

John Morison – Thy word is very pure; therefore, etc. The word of God is not only “pure,” free from all base admixture, but it is a purifier; it cleanses from sin and guilt every heart with which into comes into contact. “Now ye are clean,” said Jesus Christ to his disciples, “by the word which I have spoken unto you”: John 15:3. It is this its pure quality combined with its tendency to purify every nature that yields to its holy influence, that endears it to every child of God. Here it is that he finds those views of the divine character, those promises, those precepts, those representations of the deformity of sin, of the beauty of holiness, which lead him, above all things, to seek conformity to the divine image. A child of God in his best moments does not wish the word of God brought down to a level with his own imperfect character, but desires rather that his character may be gradually raised to a conformity to that blessed word. Because it is altogether pure, and because it tends to convey to those who make it their constant study a measure of its own purity, the child of God loves it, and delights to meditate in it day and night.

Sir William Jones (1746-1794) wrote…

Thy word is very pure. Before I knew the word of God in spirit and in truth, for its great antiquity, its interesting narratives, its impartial biography, its pure morality, its sublime poetry, in a word, for its beautiful and wonderful variety, I preferred it to all other books; but since I have entered into its spirit, like the Psalmist, I love it above all things for its purity; and desire, whatever else I read, it may tend to increase my knowledge of the Bible, and strengthen my affection for its divine and holy truths.

Graham writes the following concerning “Thy word“…

Let us refresh our minds and our memories with some of the Scripture adjuncts connected with “the word,” and realize, in some degree at least, the manifold relations which it bears both to God and our souls. It is called “the word of Christ,” because much of it was given by him, and it all bears testimony to him…It is called “the word of his grace,” because the glorious theme on which it loves to expatiate is grace, and especially grace as it is seen in Christ’s dying love for sinful men. It is called ololoj tou staurou, “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18), because in the crucifixion of the divine Redeemer we see eternal mercy in its brightest lustre. It is called “the word of the gospel,” because it brings glad tidings of great joy to all nations. It is called “the word of the kingdom,” because it holds out to all believers the hope of an everlasting kingdom of righteousness and peace. It is called “the word of salvation,” because the purpose for which it was given is the salvation of sinners. It is called “the word of truth,” because, as Chillingworth says, it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without mixture of error for its contents. And we will only add, it is called “the word of life,” because it reveals to a sinful, perishing world the doctrines of life and immortality. — IV. Graham, in “A Commentary on the First Epistle of John,” 1857.

Rightly Dividing The Word – In 1879, James Murray was hired as the editor of The Oxford English Dictionary. He had little advanced education, but he was a gifted linguist. Murray enlisted a large number of volunteers around the world to read widely and send him usages of assigned words. At Oxford, he and a small staff of scholars cataloged and edited the definitions they received.

During his lifetime, Murray was knighted and awarded an honorary doctorate from Oxford. Today, the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary is still recognized as one of the most accurate and comprehensive dictionaries in the world.

Murray’s legacy of precision and accuracy with words reminds me of what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor of the Ephesian church: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2Ti 2:15). The phrase “rightly dividing” is a metaphor derived from the stonemason’s craft of cutting stones straight to fit into their proper place in a building.

(Ed commentIf a man like James Murray would be willing to invest such zeal and passion for that which is passing, how much more invigorated and motivated should believers be to purely divide and passionately proclaim the living and active, eternal, life changing Word of Truth!)

Precision with words is essential to an accurate interpretation of God’s Word. Let’s be people who care deeply about what the Bible says and what it means. — Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Correctly handling the Word of truth
Takes diligence and care;
So make the time to study it
And then that truth declare. —Hess

Rightly dividing the Word
multiplies our understanding.

Imagine That!  – My friends and I were anticipating a contemplative time looking at a collection of artwork about the prodigal son who returned home to a forgiving father (Luke 15). When we arrived at the information table, we noticed the brochures, books, and a sign pointing to the artwork.

Also on the table was a dinner plate with bread, a napkin, and a glass. Each of us privately pondered what the significance of the plate could be. We wondered if it represented communion fellowship between the prodigal son and his father when he returned home. But as we examined it more closely, we realized simultaneously: Someone had left a dirty plate on the display table. And it wasn’t bread, but leftover cookie bars! Our imaginations had been wrong.

We had a good laugh, but then it made me think about how sometimes we imagine more than what’s really there while reading the Bible. Rather than assuming that our speculation is correct, however, we need to be sure our interpretation fits with the whole of Scripture. Peter said that “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). As we depend on the Spirit’s instruction, a careful study of the context, and the wisdom of respected Bible teachers, we’ll avoid seeing things in the Word that aren’t really there. (Anne Cetas)

We must correctly hear God’s Word,
Or we will be misled;
We must give careful thought and prayer
To what the Author said.

A text out of context is often a dangerous pretext.

THE WORD OF TRUTH: ton logon tes aletheias:


Word of Truth – What a beautiful name for the Bible, especially in a world which is becoming more and more the opposite, where men’s words are no longer binding. How we need to remember that Satan is a liar, the father of lies and has no truth in him, which emphasizes our great need to be totally dependent on the Word of Truth to counter his evil but very deceptive lies! Take a moment and ponder each of the 5 Biblical uses of this great phrase Word of Truth (Ps. 119:432Co. 6:7Col. 1:52Ti 2:15Jas 1:18)

Think of God’s Word of Truth as the “sun” (Son) and then consider how the planets function in such order as they rotate around the sun. In a similar way believers should live their entire Christian life within the orbit of God’s Word of Truth, ultimately manifest in the Logos, His precious Son, Our Lord and King. Amen.

The following “outlines” on the Word of Truth are adapted from Spurgeon’s notes on Psalm 119:140 (see notes directly preceding)

The crystal stream (of the Word of Truth)

(a) Flows from under the throne.

(b) Mirrors heaven.

(c) Undefiled through the ages.

(d) Nourishes holiness as it flows.

The enraptured pilgrim.

(a) Keeping by its brink.

(b) Delighted with its lucid depths.

Pleased with its mirrored revelations — self, heaven, God.

Cleansed and refreshed by its waters. –W.B.H

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The purity of God’s Word (of Truth)

(a) It proceeds from a perfectly pure source: “Thy word.”

(b) It reveals a purity otherwise unknown.

(c) It treats impure subjects with absolute purity.

(d) It inculcates the most perfect purity.

(e) It produces such purity in those who are subject to its power. —

The love which its purity inspires in gracious souls.

(a) They love it because, while it reveals their natural impurity, it shows them how to escape from it.

(b) They love it because it conforms them to its own purity.

(c) They love it because to a pure heart the purity of the word is one of its chief commendations. —

The evidences of this love to the pure word.

(a) Desire to possess it in its purity.

(b) Subjection to its spirit and teachings.

(c) Zeal for its honour and diffusion. –W.H.J.P.

Word (3056) (logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as “something that is said, a statement, an utterance”, the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex.

Cremer explains that lógos is used of the living, spoken word,

the word not in its outward form, but with reference to the thought connected with the form,… in short, not the word of language, but of conversation, of discourse; not the word as a part of speech, but the word as part of what is uttered.

Barclay adds that

the Greek term for word is lógos; but lógos does not only mean word; it also means reason. For John, and for all the great thinkers who made use of this idea, these two meanings were always closely intertwined. Whenever they used lógos the twin ideas of the Word of God and the Reason of God were in their minds. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press)

In the Greek mind and as used by secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object’s name. Let me illustrate this somewhat subtle nuance in the meaning of lógos with an example from the Septuagint (LXX) (Greek of the Hebrew OT) in which lógos is used in the well known phrase the Ten Commandments.

The Septuagint translates this phrase using the word lógos as “the ten (deka) words (logoi)” (Ex 34:28), this phrase giving us the familiar term Decalogue. Clearly each of the “Ten Commandments” is not just words but words which express a thought or concept behind those words.

That which corresponds to or adequately expresses what is real (Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion).

This then is the essence of the meaning of lógos and so it should not be surprising that depending on the context lógos is translated with words such as “saying, instruction, message, news, preaching, question, statement, teaching, etc”. This understanding of lógos also helps understand John’s repeated usage of this Greek word as a synonym for the second Person of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Truth (225) (aletheia from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English “latent” from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is (this idea is discussed more below).

The basic understanding of aletheia is that it is the manifestation of a hidden reality (eg, click discussion of Jesus as “the Truth”). For example, when you are a witness in a trial, the court attendant says “Raise your right hand. Do you swear that you will tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?” And you say, “I do” and you sit down. The question the court attendant is asking is “Are you willing to come into this courtroom and manifest something that is hidden to us that only you know so that you will bear evidence to that?” Therefore when you speak the truth, you are manifesting a “hidden reality“. Does that make sense? An parallel example in Scripture is the case of the woman in the crowd who had touched Jesus (Read context = Mk 5:24-2526-2728-293031-32), but when she became “aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth ” (Mk 5:33) and nothing but the truth. She did not lie. She spoke no falsehoods.

Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe the reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, “what you see is what you get”. Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth of Creation (Natural Revelation) and the Truth of Scripture (Special Revelation). Thus it is not surprising that rebellious, sinful men actively hold down or suppress the Truth of Creation (and the glorious Creator) (Ro 1:18) and even exchange this clearly manifested (and objective) reality (Creation) for a lie (Ro 1:25).

Gilbrant on aletheia – One of the principal terms for expressing the concept of “truth” in the Greek language is alētheia. Originally the word denoted something which was not hidden or a disclosure of something which was hidden. In Greek philosophy the word often carries the sense of that which really exists, “the reality behind all apparent reality.” Therefore, it has been customary to conclude from this that there is a marked contrast between the Greek and Hebrew view of the nature of “truth.” According to this view, in classical Greek alētheia stands in opposition to that which is only apparent or perceived to be real. The Hebrew notion of truth points to that which is sure and reliable as the “truth.” No doubt this is substantially correct. But it would be erroneous to assume that alētheia should solely or principally imply a philosophic concept of reality. Obviously Greeks as well as Hebrews needed a word which decisively expressed truth as over against falsehood and deceit. Such a concrete sense can also be discovered in the Greek alētheia just as it can in the Hebrew ’ĕmeth. Both of these terms have distinct shades of meaning which are worthwhile to investigate. Alētheia functions in various contexts. To the philosophers it expressed “being” in the absolute sense of the word, i.e., “existence.” Historians used the term to signify real events as distinct from myths. In forensic language (legal) the term characterizes an accurate assessment of a fact, in contrast to an incorrect observation or assertion. Alētheia not only stands for irrefutable facts, but it also expresses the truth itself, that which is unattainable to the human mind and which can only be perceived in ecstasy or through divine revelation. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)


One of the attributes of God is Truth. God is the definition of truth; He is absolutely true, and all truth accords with God’s actions. God is all that He as God should be and that His word and revelation are completely reliable. He is absolutely dependable, without falseness of any kind. God’s plan, principles, and promises are completely reliable, accurate, real, and factual. God is real not imaginary, vain and empty like the idols of the pagans, who represent a so-called god of their own vain imagination. Truth can be depended upon and does not fail, change, or disappoint and so practically God’s promises are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus and His word cannot fail or disappoint. The practical aspect of God’s unchanging truthfulness is that we can stand on His promises with full assurance of faith no matter how we feel, no matter how dire our circumstances. We can trust and rest on this great attribute of God, forever and forever. Amen. And since God is truth, He desires that those who would give a proper opinion of Him also be truthful in the words and deeds. (Ro 12:9). Scripture on God is truth: Ex 34:6Nu 23:19Ps 19:991:4100:5146:6Isa 25:165:16 Da 4:37Mic7:20Jn 17:172 Cor 1:20Rev 16:7. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). His word to mankind is absolutely reliable and can be trusted implicitly. It means He will never renege on any promise He has made. (See also Truthful by C H Spurgeon; The Truth of Godby Bob Deffinbaugh; The Truth of God by Thomas Watson – Scroll down; Of the Veracity of God by John Gill; Let God Be True! by Richard Strauss)

Lewis Sperry Chafer writes that “Truth” is “the character of God is in view when He is called the God of Truth. He not only advances and confirms that which is true, but in faithfulness abides by His promise, and executes every threat or warning He has made. Apart from the element of truth in God there would be no certainty whatsoever in this life, and men would wander on in comfortless perplexity not knowing whence they came or whither they are going. Without truth in God, a revelation is only a mockery. On the contrary, as asserted in the Bible, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Ro3:4). Though men deceive, the veracity of God can never be questioned to the slightest degree. Truth in God is surety that what He has disclosed is according to the nature of things and that His disclosures may be depended upon with plenary certainty. This certainty characterizes alike every revelation from God by whatever means.”(Biblical Theism Pt 3/4 The Attributes of God – Bibliotheca Sacra: Vol. 96, Page 14-16, 1939)

Charles Simeon wrote that “truth is a conformity of our feelings and actions to our professions and this God requires of us in the whole of our spirit and conduct.

Noah Webster defined truth as “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. (1828 Dictionary)

Nelson’s New Illustrated Dictionary says truths is “conformity to fact or actuality; faithfulness to an original or to a standard. In the Old and New Testaments, truth is a fundamental moral and personal quality of God. (Ex 34:6Dt 32:4Ps 25:10)

Friberg gives one of the best summaries of aletheia (the following is modified slightly) and includes the Greek word that is the antonym…

(1) Truth speaks of what has certainty and validity (Ep 4.21), The opposite = plane [word study] = going astray from the path of truth, thus error

(2) Truth describes the real state of affairs, especially as divinely disclosed truth (Ro 1.18). The opposite = muthos [word study] = fiction, myth

(3) Truth speaks of the concept of the Gospel message as being absolute truth (2Th 2.12)

(4) Truth can describe the true-to-fact statements (Lk 4.25). The opposite = pseudos [word study] (lie, falsehood); (See devotional related to lying – Which Tire Was It – Our Daily Bread)

(5) Truth speak of what is characterized by love of truth (truthfulness, uprightness, fidelity – in one’s words or conduct = thus equates with sincerity, veracity) (1Co 5.813.6). The opposite = adikia [word study] = wrong, evil

(6) Truth describes reality as opposed to pretense or mere appearance (Phil 1.18). The opposite = prophasis [word study] =pretext, excuse.

(a) Idiomatically “in truth” = really, truly, indeed (Mt 22:16)

(b) Idiomatically “according to truth” =. rightly (Ro 2.2)

(c) Idiomatically “upon or on truth” = of a truth, as the fact or event shows, really, actually (Acts 4:2710:34 [lit. = “of a truth”], Lk 4:25Job 9:2Is 37:18KJV) (Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker Academic)

Aletheia is a reality which is firm, solid, binding. When aletheia is used of individuals, it characterizes their action, their words or their thoughts and conveys the general sense of integrity (integer = one) (See Integrity – A Few Thoughts)

Truth is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set it forth. Words are truewhen they correspond with objective reality: Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession. Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth. Ultimately Jesus is “the Truth” and He is “the Word”.

Aletheia speaks of veracity, reality, sincerity, accuracy, integrity (“what you see is what you get”).

Vine – Aletheia, truth “expresses that which is consistent with reality.”

Aletheia is the opposite of fictitious, feigned, false.


Charles Spurgeon once said that

The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.

God deals in truth, but Satan traffics in untruth (lies) (Jn 8:44). As a corollary God deals in faith, while Satan traffics in fear (What then is the “antidote” for fear? See Fear, How to Handle It). It follows that spiritual warfare is not a power struggle as much as it is a truth struggle and the battlefield is our mind. The only way to defeat the lie of the devil is with the truth of God and His Word. It therefore behooves all believers to make it their continual practice to take in the Word of Truth that we might be able to wage war with the deceiving Devil. Jesus is our model in this spiritual war with unseen forces of darkness, fending off the enemies fiery missiles of temptation and lies with the Word of truth in Deuteronomy (Mt 4:3-4 quoting Dt 8:3Mt 4:5,67 quoting Dt 6:16Mt 4:8-910quoting Dt 6:1310:20). Beloved, if Jesus memorized the truth of Scripture to counter to lies of Satan, how can we do less? (See Memorizing His Word and Memory Verses by Topic) The only antidote for the poison of Satan’s lies is the Truth of God’s Word. “God’s truth stops the spin of Satan’s lies.” (See Breaking The Spin Cycle – Our Daily Bread)

Beloved, if you need some motivation to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus in this war (2Ti 2:3,4) take a moment and let this grand old hymn stir the passions in your heart…

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
(Play – Battle Hymn of the Republic)

And if that doesn’t make your pulse quicken listen to Martin Luther’s great hymn…

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little (truth) word shall fell him.

That word (truth) above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
(Play – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)

Truth is like a “bluegill” fish in our continual “war of terror”

San Francisco and New York City are using bluegill fish to check for the presence of toxins in their water supply, which could be a possible target for a terrorist attack. A small number of bluegills are kept in a tank at the bottom of some water treatment plants because the fish are sensitive to chemical imbalances in their environment. When a disturbance is present in the water, the bluegills react against it.

Like these bluegills, Paul wanted the Galatians to beware of and react against any toxic disturbance in the “true gospel” that was being preached. The toxin was defined as the false principle that God grants acceptance to people and considers them righteous on the basis of their obedience to a set of rules (especially circumcision and dietary laws). In short, obedience to the law was needed, apart from faith in Jesus. This false teaching was a toxic disturbance of the truth and the Galatians were told to react strongly against it. Paul said that anyone preaching a gospel that is not based on grace through faith in Christ alone should be accursed (Gal. 1:89).

Let’s faithfully study the Scriptures so we can detect the toxins of false teaching and proclaim the truth of God’s wonderful salvation through faith in Jesus. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, teach us from Your holy Word
All error to discern,
And by Your Spirit’s light help us
From Satan’s snares to turn. —Bosch

If you know the truth,
you can discern what’s false.

Alvin Plantinga adds that

The contemporary intellectual world is a battle or arena in which rages a battle for our souls.

James Dobson concurs noting that

The heated dispute over values in Western nations is simply a continuation of the age-old struggle between the principles of righteousness and the kingdom of darkness.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) describing his own day

Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth, we can not know it.

J. C. Ryle

Let us never forget that truth, distorted and exaggerated, can become the mother of the most dangerous heresies.

The Theological Lexicon of the NT says

To speak the whole truth is to conceal nothing, and alētheia is the opposite of lying or forgetfulness. An event is true (alēthēs) when it is unveiled; a hidden reality becomes explicit. A person who is true or sincere is one who conceals nothing and does not try to deceive.

Greek philosophy and religious strivings were dominated by the search for truth (Thucydides 1.20.3), as Plato explicates it: “By searching for truth I strive to make myself as perfect as possible in life and, when the time comes to die, in death.” The truth not only gives life; it gives the good life (Epictetus 1.4.31; 3.24.40), because it orients action: “If you knew the truth, you would necessarily act rightly.” (Spicq, C., & Ernest, J. D. Theological Lexicon of the New Testament. 1:66. Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson. 1994)

Comment: How fascinating that the pagans had within them (surely placed there by God) a sense of the importance of truth in order to assure a genuine appreciation of this present life. So close but yet so far for they did not know “the Truth” (Jn 14:6)!

Whatever God says is truth and so is to be regarded as the standard of all truth. In Christ’s high priestly prayer, He declares that the Word of God is truth (John 17:17). In other words, the Word of God does not just contain truth (which of course it does), but is truth in its very essence.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the One Who leads Christians into all spiritual truth (Jn 16:13). And because the Holy Spirit is truth, the world cannot comprehend Him and His ministry (John 14:17).

Wayne Detzler adds that aletheia

was seen mainly as a contrast with a lie. Homer wrote that a lie is either the absence of truth or a partial truth. If one deceived another by telling only part of the truth, this was a lie. In writing his Odyssey, Homer mentioned the role of a judge in a race. His job was to tell the truth about the winners and losers of a race.

Thucydides contrasted truth with exaggeration. Anyone who expanded or embellished the truth was really telling a lie. Thus truth is contrasted with boasting or flattery.

Plato contrasted truth with appearance. Some things may appear to be real, but actually are an illusion.

Truth is seen mainly by contrast. It contrasts with a lie of statement or understatement. Another contrast is seen between truth and exaggeration. Finally, truth stands out in contrast with appearance….

Truth in the Scripture is tied inextricably to the person of our God. He is the 380 Source of all truth, and the Trinity emphasizes this aspect of God’s character. No Christian can either know or practice truth, apart from constant reliance on the One who is Truth. He is Truth, because He conforms to and indeed creates ultimate reality. (Wayne A Detzler. New Testament Words in Today’s Language)


Perhaps the most common use of the noun alētheia and the two corresponding adjectives is to refer to something that is accurate. For example, Paul claims before Festus and Agrippa that what he said regarding Jesus and the resurrection is “the truth” and reasonable (Acts 26:25). Jesus’ testimony is true and valid because the Father testifies about him (Jn 5:3132; cf. Rev 21:522:6); our testimony about Jesus is also true (Titus 1:133 Jn. 12). But truth is not only in statements. Paul uses that adjective alēthinos to describe God Himself. The Thessalonians turned from idols in order to “serve the living and true God” (1Th. 1:9). And because God is true, what God speaks is also truth; “your word is truth” (Jn 17:17). Not only is God true, but Jesus is “True” as well (Rev 19:11). He is “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1417). In fact, Jesus Himself is “truth” (Jn 14:6), and if we are His disciples, we will “know the truth” (Jn 8:32). Jesus is “the true vine,” through which his followers draw nourishment. John uses the adjective alēthēs to denote a spiritual reality about Jesus that is beyond the observable world. Jesus proclaims that his flesh is “true food” and his blood is “true drink” (Jn 6:55). Furthermore, especially in John’s writings, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:1715:2616:13; cf. 1Jn. 4:65:6). The Holy Spirit recalls to our minds the words of Jesus and certifies to our hearts that they are true (Jn 15:26). (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan)

Aletheia is a key word in the Gospel of John (24x or almost 1 in 4 NT uses – also 28x in John’s epistles – 1Jn =16, 2Jn=5, 3Jn=7) but is much less common in the synoptic Gospels (7x in all 3 Synoptics).

Horatio Bonar wrote that…

Truth is not the feeble thing which men often think they can afford to disparage. Truth is power; let it be treated and trusted as such.

Note the association of aletheia with the Gospel (Col 1:5Gal 2:5Ep 1:13). The Gospel is the expression of truth, ultimately the truth about God, the truth about man in sin and the truth about the provision of redemption from our sinful state. Although 1Ti 2:4 and 2Ti 2:25 do not use the word “Gospel”, clearly the context of both passages associates salvation (which comes only through the Gospel) and the knowledge of the truth. Sadly, truth can be turned aside from (2Ti 2:18) or resisted (2Ti 3:8). To turn from the truth of the Gospel does not make it any less true!

Everett Harrison – In Homer (truth) aletheia denotes veracity as opposed to falsehood. Later classical times witness an enlargement of usage, since it comes to express what is real or factual as opposed to appearance or opinion. That which is true corresponds with the nature of things. In this sense the truth is eternal and divine, for the Greek recognized no distinction between the natural and the supernatural. These values are continued in the Septuagint use of aletheia, but because of the circumstance that it was often used to translate ‘emeth, a Hebrew word for truth which stresses the elements of reliability and trustworthiness, a new content becomes added. Often the word is used to describe God and also His Word. On these one may rest with confidence, for they will not fail. So, whereas the classical aletheia largely serves as an intellectual term, the same word in its Septuagint setting has often a decidedly moral connotation, especially when used with reference to the divine. New Testament writers draw from both streams of meaning, so that the exegete must be constantly on the alert to detect, if he can, whether aletheia means reality or trustworthiness. John and Paul make largest use of the term. The Greek sense seems clearly present in passages like Romans 1:25, whereas a comparison of Romans 3:3 and 3:4 shows with equal clearness that here the Hebraic background is powerfully operative. Paul is especially fond of linking the word truth with the gospel. Here the two strains may be said to unite, for the gospel message corresponds to reality (that is, it is ultimate truth, much in the same way that the writer to the Hebrews argues the finality of the Christian dispensation with the aid of the related word alethinos, as John does likewise), and for that very reason is reliable, but even more so because the gospel originates with God and possesses His own guarantee. For John the acme of the concept lies in its application to Jesus Christ. To be set free by the truth and to be set free by the Son are two ways of saying the same thing (John 8:3236). Dodd observes that whereas the Jewish conception was to the effect that the divine truth (’emeth) was expressed in the Torah, John places it in the person of Christ (see the discussion in Kittel, op. cit., pp. 88-90). Paul comes close to doing the same thing (Eph 4:21). The New Testament, then, has arrived at a synthesis of the two approaches to truth, and this synthesis is thoroughly defensible in the court of reason, for only that which possesses reality is worthy of confidence. But the daring step taken here is in the identification of truth in all its finality with the man Christ Jesus. (The Importance of the Septuagint for Biblical Studies )

Courtesy of Precept Austin Bible Study Website: – The Word of God


About goodnessofgod2010

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