The degree of AUG

“The Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).

Reading these words brought back to me some distant memories from many years ago.

Jim Elliot, (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was a Christian missionary, and was one of five killed during Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador. His biography (The Shadow of the Almighty) was written by his wife, Elisabeth Elliot. This book was based on Jim Elliot’s journals. Jim Elliot said that he was studying for the degree of AUG – Approved Unto God. This phrase is taken from 2 Timothy 2:15, where Paul encourages Timothy to study to show himself “approved unto God”, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

“Approved unto God” – The first time I became aware of these words was shortly after I had confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. The Bible reference – 2 Timothy 2:15, was written inside a J B Phillips version of the New Testament, which was given to me by Miss Isa Calder, a lady who sat near to our family towards the back of our church – Sandyford-Henderson Memorial Church, Glasgow.

The phrase, “approved unto God” comes from the King James Version.

Here’s how the J B Phillips version reads,”For yourself, concentrate on winning God’s approval, on being a workman with nothing to be ashamed of, and who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage.”

I wrote these words in the inside of my J B Phillips New Testament. Alongside them, I wrote the words of a hymn – “O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

I was reminding myself that, however much I may study the Word of God, I will, always, be a sinner, saved by the grace of God.

Proverbs 2:6 tells us that the Lord gives wisdom to us. May we never forget the first lesson that he wants to teach us – he shows us that we are sinners, who need to be saved by his grace. He leads us to confess our sins and receive his forgiveness through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, whose blood has cleansed us and keeps on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

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