God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ in whose steps we are to walk (I Peter 2:21).
In my over fifty-five years of ministry I have been abundantly blessed to have been associated with the greatest believers. They were men and women who loved the truth and committed their lives to the furtherance of the gospel. With some, I have spent years, with others, just days, but the privilege to stand together with them shoulder to shoulder, contending for the faith, has been an honor and a delight.
To know and work with men and women who were valiant for the truth brought life into focus and challenged me to develop a love for the truth. Their example of being fervent in the spirit has profoundly affected me. Their resolute dedication continues to spur me on to seek out the truth whatever the cost.
There is nothing I have or know which I did not receive. I am so thankful for what I have been taught and the teachers who have not only taught me but modeled for me the truth they communicated. I have always had beliefs which guided my life. However, when I learned that just because I believed something did not make it true and that truth was not relative but absolute my life changed so much for the better. When the quest for truth replaced my pursuit of personal preferences and parochial prejudices my life took on greater meaning and certainty.
I think most people, see truth as opposed to lies and true as opposed to false and rightly so. We will spend much time investigating both truth and lies. However, early in my college days, I read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Intellect. In it, he juxtaposed truth with repose. That insight has served me well for it has taught me that if one wants truth it is going to take work. Emerson wrote:
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, — you can never have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates. He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets, — most likely his father’s. He gets rest, commodity, and reputation; but he shuts the door of truth. He in whom the love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings, and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism, and recognize all the opposite negations, between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate for truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being.
II Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to be workmen. To rightly divide the scripture requires work. Although God laid out the principles by which it may be done, we still have to follow through and apply the research principles to get the result we desire. Work requires time and effort. We must be willing to invest both if we want to enjoy the promised harvest.
“Study,” spoudazō, in II Timothy 2:15 means to be swift or to make haste. However, the idea of being fast or speedy carries with it the idea of showing diligence by fully applying oneself and acting fervently to accomplish something. Ergatēs is the word for a workman in general. One who applies energy to accomplish something. A workman not only knows how to work efficaciously, but actually plies his trade to accomplish something. The rightly dividing of the scripture is not complete until it is lived out. A spoudazō lifestyle results in living the Word. It’s more than just knowing what it means or how it fits; it means actively pursuing it as we live.
Jesus challenged his disciples to continue in the truth he had taught them for doing so would make them free, free indeed.
John 8:30-32, 36:
As he [Jesus] spake these words, many believed on him. 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue [menō] in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed [alēthōs]; 32 And ye shall know the truth [alētheia], and the truth [alētheia] shall make you free. . . 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
“Continuing” entails remembering and actively pursuing the truth. It’s the Greek word menō which means to “stay,” “abide,” or “remain.” Alēthōs is the adverb form of alētheia, truth. It means “truly,” “really,” “certainly,” or “surely.” If they continued, they would truly be free. Many of the men who taught me the Word continued in it for years and their lifelong examples continue to encourage me today.