2 Timothy 2:15 is a popular verse among pastors, Bible students, Bible colleges, and seminaries. In the King James Version, Paul instructs Timothy to “Study to show thyself approved unto God.”
Alan Knox wrote a great blog post the other day which shows that the translation “study to show thyself approved” is not the best translation… and is not even a possible translation of 2 Timothy 2:15. Here is some of what he wrote:
I think it’s clear that in the cases above, σπουδάζω (spoudazo) could not be translated “study,” but is more correctly translated “be diligent,” “be eager,” or “make an effort.” Of course, this is similar to how the other translators (besides the KJV) rendered the term in 2 Timothy 2:15.
But, also, we have to admit that the evidence above does not prove that σπουδάζω (spoudazo) cannot be translated “study” in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Go read the rest of Alan’s post here.
Certain types of Christians (me among them) have often justified our addiction to books and to Scripture study by Paul apparent command here in 2 Timothy 2:15 for Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God.” Really only the KJV translates it this way, but since the KJV is what many of us grew up on, it has had a heavy influence on what many churches, ministries, and pastors focus on.