Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

illinoisguy

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I believe we can all agree on the importance of "rightly dividing the word of truth," but what exactly does that mean?

MATTHEW HENRY: "Workmen . . . who mind their business, and keep to their work, are workmen that need not be ashamed. And what is their work? Not to invent a new gospel, but rightly to divide the gospel that is committed to their trust."

ADAM CLARKE: "Therefore, by 'rightly dividing the word of truth,' we are to understand his continuing in the true doctrine, and teaching that to every person; and, according to our Lord's simile, giving each his portion of meat in due season - milk to babes, strong meat to the full grown, comfort to the disconsolate; reproof to the irregular and careless; in a word, finding out the necessities of his hearers, and preaching so as to meet those necessities."

JAMIESON, FAUSSET AND BROWN: "'Rightly handling' . . . 'rightly administering' . . . cutting 'straight' or 'right:' the metaphor being from a father or a steward (1 Cor 4:1) cutting and distributing bread among his children . . . so Bengel here takes Paul to mean that Timothy may make ready a straight way for 'the word of truth,' and may himself walk straight forward according to this line, turning neither to the right nor to the left, 'teaching no other doctrine' (1 Tim. 1:3). . . . The opposite to 'rightly handling,' . . . is, 2 Corinthians 2:17, 'corrupt the word of God.'"

H.D.M. SPENCE,
in 'Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible:" "The Greek word translated in the English version 'rightly dividing,' literally signifies 'cutting a straight line.' It seems most correct to regard it as a metaphor from laying out a road. . . ."

VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY: "Orthotomeo . . . lit., 'to cut straight,'. . . the meaning passed from the idea of cutting or 'dividing,' to the more general sense of 'rightly dealing with a thing.' What is intended here is not 'dividing' Scripture from Scripture but teaching Scripture accurately."

DAVID LUTZWEILER,
in "The Praise of Folly: The Enigmatic Life and Teaching of C.I. Scofield:" "The cause of Scofield's error here is obvious. His handling of 'dividing' in this verse is a textbook example of one of the most common mistakes in Bible study: using the English translation alone without checking the original language. The Greek word that the KJV translates 'dividing' here, orthotomounta, means literally or etymologically 'straight cutting.' In common use it came to mean merely 'using something correctly.' . . . The word's emphasis is on the 'straightness' of the cut - i.e., the competency of the workman - and not on the fact that the cutting results in separate pieces of material, or 'divisions' in it. This is why, as we see from the many references given by the commentators below, that no one in the entire history of the church ever understood the word in the sense that Scofield gave it in this booklet. . . . To say, then, that 'cutting the word of God straightly' means that Paul had the dispensational divisions of Darby in mind here, and was instructing Timothy to 'cut up the word of truth into dispensational divisions,' is utterly mistaken."

My name is Illinoisguy, and I approve this message.
 

Twisted

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Don't worry about it.

Only the KJV tells you to both "study" and "Rightly divide". Are you now KJVO?
 

Ransom

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Only the KJV tells you to both "study" and "Rightly divide". Are you now KJVO?
Only the KJV tells you that at Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.
 

logos1560

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Only the KJV tells you to both "study" and "Rightly divide".
Have you actually checked all other English Bible translations?

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1560 Geneva Bible has "study" and "dividing the word of truth aright"

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1568 Bishops' Bible has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At Timothy 2:15, the 1970 King James II NT by Jay Green has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1994 KJ21 and 1998 Third Millennium Bible have "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 2000 KJ2000 has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

In addition, you also likely ignore the way that the KJV translators themselves translated the same Greek word in other verses that they inconsistently translated "study" in this verse.
 

Twisted

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Have you actually checked all other English Bible translations?

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1560 Geneva Bible has "study" and "dividing the word of truth aright"

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1568 Bishops' Bible has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At Timothy 2:15, the 1970 King James II NT by Jay Green has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 1994 KJ21 and 1998 Third Millennium Bible have "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

At 2 Timothy 2:15, the 2000 KJ2000 has "study" and "rightly dividing the word of truth."

In addition, you also likely ignore the way that the KJV translators themselves translated the same Greek word in other verses that they inconsistently translated "study" in this verse.
I'm guessing all those come from the same KJV textual family. Does the ESV, NIV, NASV say that? No, they don't The NKJV does say to "rightly divide", but fails to tell you to "study".

In your quest to be a bible jackass, you totally miss the point.
 

Ransom

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In your quest to be a bible jackass, you totally miss the point.
In your quest to "defend" the KJV, you totally miss its point.
 

logos1560

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The NKJV does say to "rightly divide", but fails to tell you to "study".
Perhaps you ignore or avoid the fact that the NKJV translated this Greek word accurately according to how the KJV translators themselves translated the Greek word in other verses and according to how "study" was defined in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary.

The Greek word spoudazo was translated the following ways by the KJV translators: endeavour (Eph. 4:3, 1 Thess. 2:17, 2 Pet. 1:15), do diligence (2 Tim. 4:9, 21), be diligent (Titus 3:12, 2 Pet. 3:14), give diligence (2 Pet. 1:10), be forward (Gal. 2:10), labour (Heb. 4:11), and study (2 Tim. 2:15).

Is it interesting and inconsistent that KJV-only advocates condemn the translation of this Greek word as "be diligent" at 2 Timothy 2:15 in some translations when the KJV translators often translated this word in this same way?
Even KJV-only advocate David Cloud gives the meaning of "study" in this verse as "to give diligence to" (Way of Life Encyclopedia, p. 425; Concise KJB Dictionary, p. 84). Waite's Defined KJB gave the following note or definition for "study" at 2 Timothy 2:15: "Gk be diligent" (p. 1579). The 1755 Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language as well as the 1828 Webster's Dictionary gave as one meaning of the verb study: "to endeavour diligently."
Kent Rabe claimed that the Spanish Reina-Valera has "procure with diligence" at 2 Timothy 2:15 (Double Exposure, p. 29). A reprint of the 1602 Spanish Bible began 2 Timothy 2:15 as follows: “Procura con diligencia.“ The 1657 English translation of the authorized Dutch Bible began the text of 2 Timothy 2:15 as follows: "Give diligence."
 

logos1560

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Only the KJV tells you to both "study" and "Rightly divide".
Your point was soundly demonstrated to be factually incorrect so it was not true. You made no sound scriptural point.
 

FSSL

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The KJVO may be surprised to learn that the word “study” is not in the Greek. It’s a functional dynamic translation.

About the word "dividing"... the metaphor of "cutting strait" means "to do it correctly."

MacArthur, a Dispensationalist, notes that Paul may even be reflecting on his own trade of cutting cloth correctly for the making of tents.
 
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illinoisguy

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Charles Ryrie (dispensationalist) says, "Handling accurately, i.e., handling the Word of God, in both analysis and presentation - in contrast to the inane interpretations of false teachers."

Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Moody Press) says, "Handling aright, as a master workman would his tool."

Paul's emphasis appears to be on proper handling, interpretation and application of the Word of God, not on slicing and dicing the Bible into distinct ages or dispensations, in which large sections of the Bible are declared to be "not for today" - for instance, Scofield's absurd teaching that the Sermon on the Mount is for a future Kingdom age, not for today.
 

sword

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Question to FSSL and Ransom and others who have a problem with KJVO:

I mean no disrespect, I just know a number of people who have such a strong dislike for the KJV it comes across as hatred of those who choose it. Is it the version or the position you disagree with or both.

I have always used the KJV, I have only attended churches that use the KJV and with the exception of John Rice most of the authors I read and pastors I follow also use the KJV. In some case such as in the case of John Rice they prefer(ed) the KJV but were not KJV only.

Of all the options i hace to choose from the KJV seems to be the best fit for me. I have many friends who choose other versions and I respect their right to do so as well. For me, I like the old English style in which it is written, it gives a certain distinction above other books. It also forces me from time to time to dig a little deeper and research what some of the words mean or what is being referenced. I also like that it was the version used through most of our countries history. I have many choices, and I have chosen the KJV.

Do you dislike the KJV or do you oppose people to choose it as their preferred version or is it just the KJVO position you have the problem with. I make my distinction in a church or an individual based on their position regarding the gospel. I first of all want to know what they teach regarding salvation regardless of what bible they choose. I see all Gospel preaching churches as "on the same side". They may choose different music, different methods, different styles, but in the end we are on the same side.
 

sword

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Regarding the original question:

I was always taught that 2 Timothy 2:15 breaks down something like this;

Study: Means to read, absorb and understand the bible, then put into action.
to shew thyself approved unto God: To "strive" to live what you learned in such a way that God would approve of it.
a workman: A servent of God in all that we say and do.
that needeth not to be ashamed: We should live in such a way that we have few regrets.
rightly dividing: seperating each and every word in context and understanding it's meaning and application. (like a surgeon)
the word of truth: The entire bible, every book and every chapter.


Link to Charles Haddon Spurgeon take on 2 Tim 2:15
 

voicecrying

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Question to FSSL and Ransom and others who have a problem with KJVO:

I mean no disrespect, I just know a number of people who have such a strong dislike for the KJV it comes across as hatred of those who choose it. Is it the version or the position you disagree with or both.
I love the KJV. I love people who prefer the KJV. I dislike the overzealous KJVO people like Riplinger, Gipp, Hyles, etc. who attack the other faithful & accurate English translations.
 

tmjbog

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Question to FSSL and Ransom and others who have a problem with KJVO:

I mean no disrespect, I just know a number of people who have such a strong dislike for the KJV it comes across as hatred of those who choose it. Is it the version or the position you disagree with or both.

I have always used the KJV, I have only attended churches that use the KJV and with the exception of John Rice most of the authors I read and pastors I follow also use the KJV. In some case such as in the case of John Rice they prefer(ed) the KJV but were not KJV only.

Of all the options i hace to choose from the KJV seems to be the best fit for me. I have many friends who choose other versions and I respect their right to do so as well. For me, I like the old English style in which it is written, it gives a certain distinction above other books. It also forces me from time to time to dig a little deeper and research what some of the words mean or what is being referenced. I also like that it was the version used through most of our countries history. I have many choices, and I have chosen the KJV.

Do you dislike the KJV or do you oppose people to choose it as their preferred version or is it just the KJVO position you have the problem with. I make my distinction in a church or an individual based on their position regarding the gospel. I first of all want to know what they teach regarding salvation regardless of what bible they choose. I see all Gospel preaching churches as "on the same side". They may choose different music, different methods, different styles, but in the end we are on the same side.
It's the KJVO position that I disagree with. Nothing wrong with people who prefer or are convicted that it's the version they should use. There are a few arguments that one could make in favor of the KJV that would make sense. Most of the arguments made by the KJVO crowd are simplistic and don't hold up to scrutiny.
 

treasure_unseen

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The KJVO may be surprised to learn that the word “study” is not in the Greek. It’s a functional dynamic translation.

About the word "dividing"... the metaphor of "cutting strait" means "to do it correctly."

MacArthur, a Dispensationalist, notes that Paul may even be reflecting on his own trade of cutting cloth correctly for the making of tents.
Your hero MacArthur is horribly wrong.

Paul never cut apart the Scriptures. MacArthur's metaphor is erroneous and deceive. Which is common with self serving commentary. You shouldn't be so eager to find complementary commentary. You only look for what you want to find and ignore everything else.
 

treasure_unseen

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Regarding the original question:

I was always taught that 2 Timothy 2:15 breaks down something like this;

Study: Means to read, absorb and understand the bible, then put into action.
to shew thyself approved unto God: To "strive" to live what you learned in such a way that God would approve of it.
a workman: A servent of God in all that we say and do.
that needeth not to be ashamed: We should live in such a way that we have few regrets.
rightly dividing: seperating each and every word in context and understanding it's meaning and application. (like a surgeon)
the word of truth: The entire bible, every book and every chapter.


Link to Charles Haddon Spurgeon take on 2 Tim 2:15
Excellent. I'm often surprised how all these "reformed" students of the Scriptures around here really have no idea.

There are couple of issues with Spurgeon's thoughts. "Every books and every chapter" is a subjective collection that has long been defined for you. Some bad choices were made. Some good choices were made. You should know the difference. Spurgeon had no idea.

"that needeth not to be ashamed" simple means to strive to not make a mistake in what you teach others the Scriptures teach. It is dangerous thing to teach someone your own failures.
 

illinoisguy

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I am not aware of any non-KJVO people who hate those who choose to use the KJV. I am not KJVO but every one of the hundreds of sermons I have preached in English over the years was preached from the KJV - likewise, every Sunday School lesson also. We do not oppose the KJV - we only have a problem with those who attempt to impose on us the nutty, extremist positions of Ruckman, Riplinger, Gipp, etc.

This statement by John R. Rice in the article "Be A Fundamentalist - But Not a Nut!" from the Sword of the Lord, February 2, 1973 is representative of opinion by many non-KJV fundamental Baptists: "When a Peter Ruckman sets out to say that only he and a few others in the world are right on the matter of manuscript evidence for the Bible and says that in the King James Version the translation itself was inspired of God and is without error and that all other translations, even like the American Standard Version, are perversions; when he says that Origen and Westcott and Hort and others all united to pervert the Scriptures and go against the Bible and God and that all are modernists or hypocrites, or ignorant who do not agree that the King James Version - even the translation - is inspired perfectly, then we know that that arrogant attitude, that calling of good men by bad names, shows the man cannot be trusted in doctrine." To the best of my knowledge, John R. Rice did not hate the KJV or those who chose to use it.
 

Ransom

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Combining two posts into one here. Hope you don't mind.

Do you dislike the KJV or do you oppose people to choose it as their preferred version or is it just the KJVO position you have the problem with.
The last.

Regarding the first, I have little against the KJV, apart from the fact that I personally don't have all that much use for it. For my personal study, I would rather use a variety of translations closer to the variety of English that I actually speak. There are legitimate views to be had about the quality of translations or the right Greek text to use where readings in the New Testament differ. Christians can, and should, discuss these issues in good faith.

Regarding the second, if you have a preference for the KJV, based on personal taste, family tradition, it being the pew Bible at your church, or whatever, there's nothing wrong with that. Preference only becomes a problem when it becomes law (because I have this preference, you should see it that way too).

The problem with KJV-onlyism is that it does make that preference into a law, and some forms (e.g. Ruckmanism) don't even allow for those legitimate debates, declaring all questions about text and translation definitively settled. The Bible is the vehicle by which the will of God is made known to us, but KJVO extremists make the exact wording of the Bible to be the important thing in itself. KJV-onlyism is a suborthodox bibliology, but the really strident forms, practically speaking, make the KJV the centrepiece of their faith instead of the Lord Jesus, often making me question whether it's not effectively a different religion altogether, much as Machen said about liberalism in the 1930s.

Regarding the original question:

I was always taught that 2 Timothy 2:15 breaks down something like this;

Study: Means to read, absorb and understand the bible, then put into action.
The Greek word spoudazo actually has a much broader meaning: to be diligent in carrying out one's obligations. Which is why more modern translations say things like "work hard" (NLT), "be diligent" (NASB), "do your best" (NIV, ESV), etc.

But how does one know how to handle the word of God correctly? By study--a particular kind of diligence. That seems to me the most likely application that Paul had in mind. But we can recognize that the KJV gets it right, without following the KJV-onlyists and declaring that other Bibles have got it wrong. (They haven't.)

to shew thyself approved unto God: To "strive" to live what you learned in such a way that God would approve of it.
To "strive" would also be a passable synonym for "study" here. "Approved" (dokimos) has the sense of having been tested and found genuine--like examining a $20 bill to see if it's real. "Tried and true," as we would say.

a workman: A servent of God in all that we say and do.
that needeth not to be ashamed: We should live in such a way that we have few regrets.
rightly dividing: seperating each and every word in context and understanding it's meaning and application. (like a surgeon)
It doesn't really have to do with literal cutting and separating of the text. It's part of the extended metaphor of a skilled tradesman using his tools properly. As FSSL pointed out, possibly Paul had his own trade in mind: cutting cloth straight and in just the right place so that all the pieces fit together into a well-built tent. Elsewhere, I've seen it explained as a farmer who keeps control of his oxen so the plough cuts straight furrows in the field.

But you see where the metaphor leads, right? The principal tool of Christian doctrine and practice is the Scriptures. To handle those tools competently, the man who labours for God must be well taught. Having been taught, tested, and qualified, he is competent to minister to others. (Almost sounds like a seminary program and ordination exams, doesn't it? But not quite, because there are other ways to be qualified for ministry.)
 

FSSL

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Your hero MacArthur is horribly wrong.

Paul never cut apart the Scriptures. MacArthur's metaphor is erroneous and deceive. Which is common with self serving commentary. You shouldn't be so eager to find complementary commentary. You only look for what you want to find and ignore everything else.
Since you cannot read Greek and you cannot cite lexicons outside of Blue Bible... the onus is on you to tell us what the Greek really means, then.

One would think in the time you spent on your boring remake of the FFF forum, you would have had plenty of time to learn both Greek and Hebrew.
 

treasure_unseen

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Since you cannot read Greek and you cannot cite lexicons outside of Blue Bible... the onus is on you to tell us what the Greek really means, then.
I don't use Blue Bible. Not that isn't often a good research too. Its sad that your conceited view of yourself has made you such an unparalleled expert that you only reference books you've vainly spent thousands of dollars upon. All in an attempt to find value you can use as a weapon against your brother's in Christ. You don't have any idea what I've done or haven't done. You can't read Greek nor Hebrew without reference. Most people can't. What you don't use, you lose. Which is why you're so fond of your expensive books. Books that are no better.

One would think in the time you spent on your boring remake of the FFF forum, you would have had plenty of time to learn both Greek and Hebrew.
God will answer between us. Till then, I'm not going to banter nonsense with you. God has the record. He will speak. What you say doesn't matter.

I do regret we couldn't get along. After all, there was a time we did. The only thing that changed was I disagreed with you.
 
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