2 Tim. 2:15 Rightly Dividing The Word of God


2nd Timothy 2:15

 In this scripture Paul is giving Timothy instructions on how a mature minister should apply the Word to different situations in life.  ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles (rightly dividing KJV) the Word of Truth.’

 The Greek word for rightly dividing is-orthotomeo (ortho-straight, like in orthodontist-straight teeth) and (tomeo-to cut).  In this case The King James Version (rightly dividing) gives this verse the clearest interpretation.

In the Greek New Testament, several words can be used for cutting.  diadiomi, aphorize, diamerizo, etc.  These words describe a cutting in ‘little pieces’, or cut to divide, or cross over cutting like dicing.

Orthotomeo specifically means to cut straight, not crossing over one another, but cutting in a parallel fashion.  The Septuagint (the Greek and Latin Old Testament used by early Christians) used the same word in Prov. 3:6 and  Prov. 11:5 when talking about straight paths of life.

Thus, according to the Apostle Paul, to ‘Show yourself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed’ is the ability to ‘straight cut’ the Word (orthotomeo). He does not mention theological background, quoting scripture or general knowledge of the Word. 

In other words, an approved minister will be able to skillfully use the correct scripture (medicine) and apply it to a persons current situation (problem-sickness) to straighten out their paths in life.

We will need to understand the whole context of the Bible and apply it in a balance manner.

One of the most beautiful truths about Christianity is that Jesus and His Word are alive and it touches our hearts in the same manner-living truth. 

Other religions follow rules and regulations, we follow truth guided by the Holy Spirit.  While we do have set commandments from the Lord for righteous living, much of our life is searching His heart and Word for the correct action.   Personal ‘pet’ theology needs to be put aside as we use the entire Word to help the individual(s) in need.

Isaiah 28:10   For precept must be upon precept, line upon line;  

Not following this teaching can be devastating.  What usually happens is a Christian ‘gets a hold of’ one Biblical principle.   At first, this can be positive. When the time comes to apply another scripture for a different situation, they will not let go of their ‘primary’ Bible verse.  I call this –one legged-theology.  Jimmy Baker calls this ‘bull’ teaching.  Taking one horn but not the other. By his own admission he practiced bull teaching or the prosperity Gospel until his ruin. There was always a focus on the material blessing of God and never incorporating how we will suffer for the cause of Christ (Phil. 3:10, Matt. 16:2).  Refusing to ‘straight cut’ the entire Word, caused a collapse of his family, ministry and his physical body.  The scripture the Lord etched in his heart was

Matt. 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

God says we should use every Word, not just one.  I have the greatest respect for Mr. Baker. He admitted where he went wrong and is teaching us not to go down the same path. He has been humbled and now uses every word, thus God can use him as an ‘approved’ minister.

 To get an idea how dangerous this one legged theology is, we need to look at other areas of unbalanced teachings.

1) God is one. How true the teaching, that is one family, one essence and one nature.  Absolutely one in unity (see article in site map). The primary text the Hebrew religion uses to denounce the Tri-une God is found in Deuteronomy 6:4. The word for one is (echad).  It is translated ‘a group’ of one.

Deut. 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (echad).

Elohim is used roughly 2,500 times in the Old Testament for the name of our God. It is the plural form, not singular. There are many groups that deny the Divine relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Some saying this is what our Bible teaches. This one legged theology conceals the greatest act of love ever demonstrated to man. You know the verse (John 3:16), God the Father gave His only Son to receive the wrath of sin that was destined for man. His Son gave His life willingly for us.  (John 10:18)  Two different personalities in one agreement: to save mankind.

2) Election or Predestination. The concept of election is indeed beautiful. Knowing that God planned our salvation in eternity past is inspiring and humbling.  Romans 9 and Ephesians 1 are just of few of the scriptures that explain this truth. I have seen however dozens of teachings in this matter without ever mentioning man’s responsibility to God’s provision-i.e. faith.

There are hundreds of scriptures that require man to act according to God’s provisions and commands. While faith is at times aided by the Lord (Ephesians 2:8-9) we do not have the authority to designate ‘our’ scriptures over others, especially when Gods word continually teaches both. Our teaching should always demonstrate the correct viewpoint as seen in the entire Word.  See Predestination-Free Will

3) No one knows the day or hour (Matt. 24:36)  This common thinking usually follows.  Since we do not know the exact time, Jesus is saying there is no real need to follow prophetic events. The rapture will take place before the the ‘last hour’ and we probably will never understand prophecy anyway.  What ever happens, happens.  See Day of the Lord Rapture, Rev. 3:10

Not knowing the day and hour of Christ return is absolutely true, but we are commanded to know the season.

 Matt. 24:32″Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.

The same chapter that mentions we will not know the day and hour, (Matt. 24) is in fact an instruction to know and watch for His coming. 

Matt. 24:42″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come

In 1 Peter 1 and 2 Peter 1  the apostle mentions how the prophets were given prophecy to aid the church. There will come a time for the church to take action in order to save the lives of their families.  Jesus gave us signs to do this. We need to be aware of the ‘sings of the time’ and be alert to the season of His return. (Matt. 26:40-41)

If we truly fear His Name, we will humble ourselves before Him and teach what the Bible says.  It is time for all of us to discard teaching based on mans tradition and proclaim His every Word.  So many have truly sacrificed to proclaim His truth…we need to follow their example!  Seek His truth in the Word and surrender every teaching that is not enlightened by the Holy Spirit. 

God bless you for pursuing His truth.

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