It was my junior year of college and I loved what was called the “weed out” class for accounting majors – Intermediate Accounting. The teacher challenged us in every class and at the end of the year fewer accounting majors remained.
My instructor’s method for creating exams went something like this…he would sit down and write a brand-new test. Then he would take the test himself. If he had five minutes of class time remaining upon completing his test, it was a good one. I poured hours and hours of study into that class and loved it. It was the hardest class of my college career, but I learned so much about accounting, but more about myself.
It is often in those hardest moments that we find out what we can accomplish – usually much more than we thought. Those challenges also produce a reward that can only come through hard work and perseverance. Studying God’s Word often produces challenges as we wrestle with passages we don’t understand. Yet, like the accounting class, when I spend the effort to comprehend the material, the understanding eventually dawns, and the reward makes all the time and energy well worth it.
Second Timothy 2:15 encourages us in this effort and reminds us of the importance of handling God’s Word carefully. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In looking up the word diligent, one definition is to exert one’s self. That is what study requires – an exerting of ourselves. The New King James Version states that we must “rightly divide the word of truth.” That means handling the truth correctly. It is imperative that we don’t make the verse fit our meaning, but rather we must make sure we align our thinking with what God says.
As we deepen our knowledge of God through the study of His Word, we can then better apply that understanding in our lives. That is the definition of wisdom. We don’t want to learn what the Bible says so we can win at Bible trivia. Rather, we should apply what we are learning to honor God and live a life that pleases Him. When we do that, our lives are richer and more meaningful.
As we see students heading back to school, remember that we should never stop learning. We may not attend classes anymore; however, we should want to learn more – especially about our Heavenly Father. We should apply ourselves diligently to the study and application of Scripture in our lives. The rewards will be worth all the homework.
Here is what Proverbs says about those who seek wisdom, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:13-17)
As we see others heading back to the classroom, let that be a reminder to cultivate a hunger for learning. As Proverbs shows, the rewards are worth the effort.