Being One's Own Scholar

Milton, in Lycidas, described almost savagely the religious leaders who have nothing to offer:

“Blind mouths! that scarce themselves, know how to hold

A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least

That to the faithful herdsman’s art belongs!

…Their lean and flashy songs

Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw,

The hungry sheep look up and are not fed.”1

“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” (2 Timothy 2:15).

“Study” means more than just reading a book. It means “be zealous, eager, give diligence, take pains, make every effort.” “Approved” refers to metals “tested, accepted, tried, true, and genuine.”

“Accurately dividing” means “teach aright.”

The thought is to present the Truth of God’s Word rightly, not handling it as would a charlatan.2 Every teacher of the Word is to present a straightforward explanation. Diligent study, tests of time and circumstance, develops the one who will instruct God’s people in the Scriptures.

“The minister must first be his own scholar, before he can become another’s teacher.”3


© 2017 D & L Publications


  1. The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1 (Chapters 1 to 10) by William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, PA, Copyright 1975, p. 355
  2. Word Meanings in the New Testament, Ralph Earle, Hendrickson Publishers Inc., P. O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, Copyright 1974, p. 405