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Approved by God? 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NIV) On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

"On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel."

The KJV version uses the term allowed instead of approved. The word in the Greek is:
dokimazo, and means to test or approve. It can imply an examination.

Vine's NT words says this of dokimazo:
To prove with a view to approval.
In 1Thess 2:4, the Apostle and his fellow-missionaries were "approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel" (not "allowed," AV). Not permission to preach, but Divine "approval" after Divine testing is intended. See ALLOW, DISCERN, EXAMINE, LIKE, PROVE, REFUSE, TRY.

[ A-3,Verb,G1381, dokimazo ]
signifies "to test, prove, scrutinize," so as "to decide." It is translated "discern" in the AV of Luke 12:56; RV, "interpret" (marg., "prove").

Let me try to make my point. Paul, under the guise of Saul, was a self righteous, educated, zealot, to the point of having jews who chose another way, Jesus, killed. Inspite of all this we know that scripture tells us that before we were born God knew us, and choose us to be His. God saw the horrors that Saul would perform.

Now where did the testing of Paul come into play, and what did that look like?

What we do know is that God knocked Saul off his horse (a very symbolic act) and immediately changed Saul's attitude about who God was. The man Saul, thought he was doing God a favor (An evil theme that echo's throughout scripture and man's tenure here on earth.)

Saul transitions into Paul, and is retaught, spending at least 3 years getting his thinking about who God is straightened out; experiences rejection and prejudice because of his past actions; is brutalized by the same Jews that he once worked in behalf of; shipwrecked; beaten; stoned and left for dead, and imprisoned because of the gospel he now preached.

God changes Paul's attitude.
Lets take the wide view and say that God tested him. Does anything happen without God's eye on it. So, then God is testing. We should know that we are to be tested with fire to see if our works will hold up. The question is whether that testing is happening now, while we live on this earth, or in heaven.

No, I cannot get Job out of my mind as I write this. None of us want to be tested, but more than likely we are.

God places his word in you, now what have you done with it? God seems to expect that word to do something.

Proverbs 6:23 (NIV) "For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,";

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

This is present tense, no matter what the timing, for God's word is always now. His word is intended to have a now effect upon you, and therefore change should come. But change is easy when there is no opposition, nothing to test you and find out what effect the Word of God had upon you.

How has God approved of you, or better yet, in what ways has God been testing you to see what you are made of? And, if you can answer the question, have you been holding up.

Think of yourself as a Samurai sword. The metal, under the hand of a skilled blacksmith, must heated, folded, and pounded into shape repeatedly, in an effort to obtain the strongest, sharpest sword.


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