(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Within this one verse of scripture lays the key to the process of our transformation into the image of our Lord Jesus the Christ while we are here on earth.
Why are we not to be conformed to the world?
In order to fully understand the answer to this question we must first understand who we are and what we are becoming through our walk with Christ Jesus. We know from the Genesis account of creation that we (mankind) were created in the image and likeness of God. (Gen 1:27). After the transgression in the garden of Eden what God had created and made became corrupt (that is to say cursed due to disobedience to God) (Gen 3). When mankind enters into the new covenant through Jesus the Christ, he/she becomes a new race of beings being transformed from glory to glory into the image of Our Lord and Savior, The Firstborn of Man.
(Eph 4:20) But ye have not so learned Christ;
(Eph 4:21) If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
(Eph 4:22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
(Eph 4:23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
(Eph 4:24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The biblical precept of the renewing of the mind can be clearly seen throughout our holy scriptures. Further more this new mind is not our mind rather the mind of Christ. We do not understand God or His ways by our own reasoning rather by direct revelation of God Himself. This biblical precept can also be seen throughout scripture.
This idea of all understanding coming from God meets a great deal of resistance both outside and from within the Christian community. There is always a remnant of the flesh which tries to hold on to or give importance our own understanding rather than to relinquish all to God and to the revelation He gives to His children. In fact this misunderstanding is the root cause of all spiritual blindness.
(Luk 10:21) In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
(Luk 10:22) All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
You see brothers and sisters, we can’t study our way to God. We can’t intellectualize Him. This is another misconception, another misunderstanding, which leads to spiritual blindness and deafness. It is true that The word of God (Holy Scriptures) indeed tells of God and about Him much in the same way that a biography tells us about a person. The only way however that we can come to know a person is to have a personal relationship with them. This is also true in terms of knowing our heavenly Father, His Son and or His Holy Spirit. We must enter a personal relationship with them through praise, worship and prayer!
The scripture often used to defend the position of studying our way to knowledge of God comes from:
(2Ti 2:15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Now this Greek word spoudazō (translated into the English word “study”) is only used 2 times in the KJV and 1 time in the NASV. The other time it is used in the KJV is found in:
(1Th 4:11) And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Spoudazō does not in any way, not even by implication, mean to be studious in the way we think of it today. It means literally to do a thing with haste. It implies and points to the earnestness & diligence of the worker. The root word of spoudazō is the word spoudē which is used 14 times in scripture and never meaning to study in the sense that we think of it today. How can we “study” to be quiet? Are there books like Being Quiet for Dummy’s out there that I don’t know about?
(2Ti 2:15) Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. (ASV)
(2Ti 2:15) Give diligence to present yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (LITV)
DILIGENCE, n. [L., to love earnestly; to choose.]
1. Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity.
The most accurate translation of this verse can be seen in The Scriptures 1998 translation which states: (2Ti 2:15) Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth. This translation falls perfectly within the transliterated Greek which states, “be you diligent” “endeavor you”.
So what these verses are actually saying is to give a constant effort, towards what? Presenting ourselves approved onto God and in being quiet. Nowhere in this chapter, the preceding chapter or the chapter which follows, is the word scripture even used or even implied.
So the idea that 2 Tim 2:15 is referring to studying scripture, as we would study a chemistry text book, a history book or a cook book has absolutely no contextual or linguistic foundation to stand on. It is completely unsound doctrine and should not be in any way taught to or within the body of believers.
Further more if we set all of that aside and take this verse (2Tim 2:15) in context with the rest of the chapter we can clearly see that the notion of this word meaning to study in an scholarly way is an error.
(2Ti 2:5) And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
(2Ti 2:6) The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
(2Ti 2:7) Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Notice here that the man striving for masteries has not been crowned because he/she has not done so lawfully (as it was intended). That being to first be partakers of the fruits and then the Lord gives understanding.
This biblical precept of The Father,The Son (The Word) and The Holy Spirit (The Spirit of Truth) being the sole teachers of that which we should know is woven throughout our bible yet rejected by most believers. Yes they have read the scriptures. Yes we have seen where our Lord himself reveals what the Father wills when the Father wills it. Yet we seek answers to questions in our own intellect and understanding and in our own time. We seek the wisdom of man (of ourselves) rather than divine wisdom that comes only from God as given to us through His Holy Spirit in His way and in His time.
We can see that there has been an entire doctrine built around this belief that we must “study” the word of God to show ourselves approved, built around a word used only twice in all of holy scripture and even then taken totally out of context.
Why is this point critical to understand?
Because until we accept that all knowledge and wisdom comes by direct revelation from our Father, through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and through the Word of God, through His most Holy Spirit which lives within us, we will never grasp the depth of the words and teachings of our Savior.