Understanding 2 Tim. 2:15
I am Jessie Mills, Ph.D.
Child & Adult Clinical Psychology - Mills

Understanding 2 Tim. 2:15

             Christ speaking to His Disciples in John 16:14 said.  “That the Holy Spirit will   take the things of mine and disclose it to you”.  To the Apostles they were being led by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. This is sometimes referred to as the first century Holy Spirit. The use of miracles was to prove that was the promised Messiah.

            After the first century, and to the new converts of the first century Peter the Apostle said in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. New converts did not receive the miraculous, except those to whom the Apostles laid their hands upon and conveyed the miraculous to them.

            The Lord gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit so that He could teach us spiritual matters. On the same subject the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor. 2:10-16, Paul says in verse 14,” But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised”. Thus in order for anyone to understand the Holy Word of God, he must be born again. The old man of sin must die. John 3:5, Romans chapter 6.  Likewise, John the Apostle follows up with instructions which a person should know and understand, John 9:31, “We know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God fearing, AND DOES HIS WILL, He hears him”.

            Therefore, this lesson is not about the Holy Spirit as such, rather it is about understanding the Holy Spirit as well as other Church doctrines, and in general a fair understanding of God’s Word. It is about you, and me and how we respond to Jesus Christ, and the instructions in which we must follow in order to ever have hope of eternal life, our attitude change, and our willingness to accept Christ on His terms.


            Even this document is worthless, unless it’s understood. We must be submissive and open their heart mind, and spirit in order to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say about salvation, and life after biological death. The Holy Spirit wants us to know that each and every scripture is given by the inspiration of the God whom we would serve, and that scripture is profitable for instruction, correction and reproof, 2 Tim 3:16. The word “correction” does not imply that we should attempt to correct or bring about a change in scripture; rather the scripture is designed by God to make corrections in our lives.

            People do not have a firm understanding of Rom 10:10,” For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. Religion today has led and encouraged people to reverse the order of this scripture. Ministers have told people to confess with their mouth first, and then ask Jesus to come into their hearts for salvation! Instead of informing the person of Rom 10:14-15, “ How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? And how can they preach unless they are filled with the gift of the Holt Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God Dwells in you Rom. 8:9?

             Ministers and Elders are responsible for feeding the flock of God with spiritual food. Instead they are watering down God’s instructions for salvation by informing people that all they have to do is to confess they are sinners, and come forward and pray the sinners prayer,” Lord Jesus come into my heart”! People must understand that they must come to God on His terms. The above in no way will satisfy the terms of God. Instead of the confession above coming from a believing heart, it comes from the persuasion of an ambitious minister who are more interested in building Congregations which in turn builds his popularity, rather than being interested in building and saving souls for Christ, and totally submitting to God’s terms.

              When a man totally submits to the saving terms of Jesus Christ, he lets go of every thing else in his heart because of his love for Jesus. This repentant person will not be joined to anything in his or her heart; the Lord will be priority because he loves Jesus so much. Letting go of every thing of the world is true belief.

              This points up a distinction between understanding, and not understanding. It also points up the Lordship of Jesus and His terms for salvation, the “doctrine” repent and submit from the heart. Today’s teaching of the personal savior philosophy does not require any faith. This philosophy is a self-centered approach. It puts more emphasis on the phrase “ being saved” than it does in loving and serving, and being faithful to Christ and His terms for maintaining salvation.

              The “Personal savior philosophy” says by its actions that God’s attitude toward me is more important than my attitude God. In fact the advocates of this doctrine pray: Lord, save me; heal me; Lord bless me; Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit. These advocates believe that faith is something you use to get something from God!

               On the other hand the doctrine of faith, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ says: Lord I am nothing, I do not belong to self, 1.Cor 6:19-20, and deserve nothing, so let me know you, and let me serve you in my attitude of love and conduct. Therefore, understanding comes from a willing heart ready to submit to Christ, and then involve your self in a study to learn and know the Father and Son 2 Tim. 2:15.

                Faith in Jesus Christ means: truly believing from a contrite heart that Jesus is the promised Messiah, that He is the Son of God, and that He is the Creator and has been give all authority in Heaven and on Earth by the Father, and that He reigns supreme. Further, all who profess Christianity will readily testify that they believe and trust in Christ for salvation. A statement of belief must be tested by at least one undeniable scripture found in James 2:20, it says: “ Faith without works is dead”!

                Again we see people not understanding the great dangers of the doctrine of “Personal savior philosophy”. It threatens the very core of Christianity. It was a mixture of this kind in the first century that Gnosticism, and syncretism raised its evil head. Syncretism is a mixture of ancient beliefs in cultic religions. The nation of Turkey in the tenth century was the center of Christianity, but Turkey succumbed to Buddhism in the middle ages, leaving scarcely a trace of Christianity. It was the result of syncretism taking strong roots in the people; this destroyed Christianity in Turkey then, and can do so now.

                 When you take the personal savior philosophy, sensationalism, syncretism, and Catholicism, mixed with Gnosticism, and begin to mix these doctrines with the doctrines of Christ and His Church, then the Church is weakened and in time will be compelled to give way to division.

                  Christians are compelled to study God’s plan, know what God demands of His people, the “called out” practice and believe only what the Gospel of Christ has published. You can only accomplish this by obeying 2.Tim 2:15,” Study to show thyself approved by God”. The obvious is very present here, the Greek text reflects on this verse in this way, “Try hard to show thyself approved by God”. The obvious is, if we do not study we are not approved, if we are not approved, then we are CONDEMNED! If we believe in Christianity, we fight to preserve and save that which saves us.

                  Ethiopia received the Gospel in the first century, already there were a great Jewish element that went down to Ethiopia during the time of King Solomon; they embraced Christianity. The conversion by Philip of the Ethiopian Eunuch who was the treasurer of that nation helped in the acceptance by the Queen of Ethiopia in favor of Christianity and made a national decree that as a nation Ethiopia would be ruled by the precepts of Christianity. Ethiopia became a blessed nation by God, and enjoyed God’s blessings from the first century until 1935 when the ruler of Ethiopia for large sums of money allowed foreign missionaries into the country, the people changed, the doctrines changed, the missionaries made salvation easy, the people sinned; they paid the price by 1995 they were beginning to beg for food, their gold mines no longer produced, their world feather market fell through, their birds died, the economy collapsed. During the Middle Ages their military was supreme; they fought one war for three hundred years to preserve their nation as a Christian nation, they won all the wars against evil forces

               Our greatest need in the Lord’s Church today is understanding. And our greatest source for understanding is the written Word. But we cannot understand if we do not study. Study begets study, and the more we study the more we understand.

                Our young people are not schooled at home in regards to God’s scheme of redemption. Recently I taught in a seminar, I taught for two hours with one ten-minute break. My subject was the origin of the Church Of God. My object was to clearly show that God established a spiritual institution in the beginning of the creation of Heaven, even before the creation of angels. Since God was to create angels, I assumed that no man could deny that angels were to worship God; therefore, God would have need for some form of government, that government would have rules and regulations, which would govern all created beings. That government was the Church of God. How else could Christ have purchased the Church of God, Acts 20:28? I asked the question: can you purchase any thing that has never existed in use before? This same Church of God was offered to Adam and Eve with all its spiritual blessings. Adam and Eve rejected the Church and chose to serve the evil one, the devil. The Church was traced down to the day of Pentecost when it was restored as a spiritual system, and then Christ purchased it. People had never heard of such! Why? People read, but there is a distinction between reading and that of study.

               There is another reason why people do not understand; their hearts is not in tune with God. How can anyone detect error if there is no knowledge of error in his or her heart? No study begets ignorance, but now God calls every person to repentance, for the lack of knowledge Acts 17:30. The Apostle Paul informed the Church at Rome that whatever was not of faith it was sin: Rom 14:23. The key to understanding is “whatever is not of faith is sin”.

                The subject matter of the Church of God having its beginning in the paragraph above was done to show how little amount of knowledge that people has of the beginning, and of the creation of all things. It is really sad when people has the idea that God woke up one morning from a long sleep and just spoke everything into being in one six day period! God had the power of foreseeing from the beginning through eternity. Such knowledge gave Him insight into all the ages to come in such a way as would allow God the ability to draw up His plans in the way of transition in each forthcoming age or dispensation, until the fullness of the times had come. The fullness of time was when the spiritual covenant would be restored, but only when Christ had removed the scepter from Judah. Gen. 49:10, this happened in A.D. 70, Christ ratified the new covenant of Jer. 31:29-31, and took His Bride the Church which He had purchased from God, Acts 20:28.

              These brief articles are sent forth as a modest attempt to ward off the danger of those errors within the Church of Christ. They are not intended as a theoretical reckoning between heathenism and Christianity; but as an unpretentious attempt to those who at this time in our subtly dangerous age of syncretism would know the difference between religion and Christianity, that their souls might be saved through knowledge of God only. Example: A man by the name of James Thomas wrote “ If you try to improve one person by being an example to him, you’re improving two persons. If you try to improve without being a good example, you won’t improve anybody.”

               Jesus said in Matt 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom, and His righteousness.” The word “seek” is one we should stand up and take notice to. The Greek text indicates that a person should seek out, to desire, to require, to question. {Zeteo} Only the person who is really interested in what he can do for the Lord, not what the Lord can do for him, but with a contrite heart search for the truth, search for what God and Christ authorizes in His Church. Kingdom and Church is used in many places in synonymous terms, that is they are the same spiritual institution, so the scripture could have read “see’ ye the Church” and the results would be the same.

               Then to, “Seek His righteousness”. Again the Greek text will inform you that one is to “seek” out the righteousness of our lord. Have a sincere desire to imitate our Lord in every day living, using Matt 5:16, “Let your light so shine among men that they may see Christ in you”. Question yourself when problems arise, “What would Christ do, or say regarding this problem”. 1. Cor 11:1, “Be ye imitators of me, just as I am of Christ”. Seeking the righteousness of Christ will result in being adopted sons of God; it will produce faith in attendance on the Lords Day. Heb 10:25, “Do not forsake the assembly of the Saints, as the manner of some is”. In the first century there were those who would intentionally forsake the assembly, what their excuses were we do not know, this we do know, God and the Holy Spirit said not to forsake the assembly! Christ will not accept unjustified excuses. The Holy Spirit is here now for Christ, the spirit knows when we are faking it, and when we have a legal excuse, just feeling bad will not be accepted. Example, Matt 8:21-22, says. “And another of the disciples said to Him, Lord permit me first to go bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, follow Me; and allow the dead to bury the dead.” In this case the father here were spiritually dead. Nevertheless, the excuse were made and rejected by Christ.

                We should not try to second-guess the Holy Spirit. And we should never take for granted the blessings that has come from Heaven to us, but should recognize that those blessings can be taken away, and the latter end be worse that the first

                No one will ever have a true knowledge of the Church, which Christ purchased from God without a sincere study in God’s Word, without seeking, without searching, without proper study, study that will be approved by God. Example, Matt 16:18, Jesus informs Peter that upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Without further study, one assumes that Christ was to build another Church other than the existing Church of God, but that is not the case in this passage, the Greek text and Greek works explains the above statement. Christ would build upon another, and that is just what He done when He purchased the Church of God, He did not build another which would have been a separate entity, only one was authorized Col. 1:16-18, Eph. 4:4-5.

               Religious people try to justify themselves regarding their past, present and future. They do not depend, nor trust God to justify them because of the Word and repentance. That is why people are still under the law, instead of grace. This causes some people to follow the one Jesus sends rather than to follow Jesus. Ministers seem to shy away from teaching the Cross-, which says that people must die in order to live. God kills the old man of sin before giving a new life. This occurs in the regeneration process at baptism. If ministers preached this they would not get any response. People have not been taught the truth, therefore they do not understand. Perhaps the Elders, and preacher should take a long look at what they authorize to be taught, and what not to teach. 2 Tim. 3:16, informs us that every scripture is inspired by God. Yet there is Elders and preachers, which refuse to teach, or discuss many of the scriptures, which God said through the Holy Spirit, were inspired by Him. The one qualification that Elders must possess “Apt to teach”. Teach what? The inspired word, if he is apt to teach he is capable and required to teach, or discuss any subject in God’s Word. An Elder who loves his Lord will never be heard to say, “Well I just don’t believe that”. You are telling me that you have a choice to accept or reject the words of the Holy Spirit, that is malice against the Holy Spirit, and falls into blasphemy, Matt. 12:32.

               I like to read what the Prophet had to say about people: “ For all of us have become like one unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf and our iniquities like the wind, takes us away.” Ministers, and I have been one for fifty two years, yet when I especially hear younger preachers preach, it seems that they are fearful if they teach on the Cross of Christ, and His righteousness I can detect that they have adjusted their lesson just a little bit; just enough to elevate the offense of the words Cross, and the righteousness of Christ. So the compromising appeal is that Jesus is Savior first and His Lordship is optional!

              No body can earn, or learn righteousness. It comes by hearing, believing, and cultivating faith. Rom. 9:30, the only way to righteousness is through the Cross of Jesus Christ. This dying to the flesh was not odious to the people of the first century. But today it has become odious and offensive. However in the first century these matters brought about the fulfillment of the saying of Jesus Christ, as well as God, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. This truly demonstrates first century Christianity, and above all shows the sacrifice of even death for the Gospel of the Cross. Thousands upon thousands of people burned as human torches, thousands gave up their children to be fed to wild animals while they had to watch, thousands were beheaded for the sake of the gospel of the Cross. What have we given? I will close this lesson by asking the question that Paul asked the Church at Galatia, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth, Gal. 4:16.


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