As the farmer, when he cuts crooked furrows, injures his field, so also the minister of the word, who does not rightly deal with it. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word. The symbolism of a farmer making straight furrows in a field has good sense as Jesus frequently referred to agricultural metaphors.
The maximum yield in a crop that a good worker would desire would requires disciplined correct preservation of true portions of truth, applied directly and under ones own self obedience in opposition to the false teachers. False teachers make a mess of everything and it must be tight well-sorted and highly defensible to the endless chaotic defamations of godless men. Straight furrows are absolutely needed. Chrysostom interprets this verse literally:. This he has well said. For many distort it, and pervert it in every way, and many additions are made to it.
He has not said directing it, but "rightly dividing," that is, cut away what is spurious , with much vehemence assail it, and extirpate it. With the sword of the Spirit cut off from your preaching, as from a thong, whatever is superfluous and foreign to it. The great divide in the Word is the cross of Christ. Appropriate worship prior to the cross involved adhering to a long list of ritual observances, as well as adhering to eternal principles of right thinking and behavior.
The Israelites were forbidden to make any visual representation of Yahweh, whereas the pagans all had idols representing their Gods. I think this was one of the main attractions of idolatry. To supply the lack of a visual representation of Himself, Yahweh sent His son n a human body so that believers would have something they could see with their physical eyes. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.
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Active 5 days ago. Viewed 4k times. In 2 Tim we read: KJV Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Ruminator 3, 4 4 gold badges 11 11 silver badges 47 47 bronze badges. What do you mean by "literal division of the word" as a possible dispensationalist view?
Being a dispensationalist myself, we generally see the phrase meaning "rightly handling" the Scripture. That was not all he understood 2 Tim to mean, but rightly handling includes seeing valid distinctions. ScottS -Fair enough. I guess I wasn't even sure exactly what I meant. I had run across the work you cited after posting this and didn't understand how this generated all of the negativity that's "out there" in critiquing this view. So how do we study to show ourselves approved unto God?
By rightly dividing the Word of Truth. A singular usage in the Word of God shows that an expression is uniquely significant. The Word of God, as it was originally given, is the Word of Truth. Psalms I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. God endorses and underwrites every detail of His Word.
It is up to us to read it, study it, consider it, and put diligent effort into it. The Word of God is the greatest thing in all of life, and when it is rightly divided, it gives us the true will of God. As we do, we can show ourselves approved unto God as workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Is the KJV the only "only one inspired version"?
That is not for you or me to decide. Use what you like, cause those versions are of the devil, the father of lies. Thank you for your kind words. I recommend any word-for-word translation. My only real reservation about the ESV is that that is follows the Alexandrian texts and leaves out a few verses. This will be a bit confusing when you are following in your Bible while someone else reads from another version. Another version to consider is the NASB.
Context is everything. I don't think that the KJV translators necessarily made a mistake, only that the meaning word "divide" had more facets to its definition years ago. The English language has simplified a bit over time. Some people today are inclined to apply the primary definition found in the dictionary. I would like to say thank you so very much for this wonderful article. I have been struggling on which Bible version to use, and when I read this verse in the newer versions, my first thought was to reject newer versions and just go back to the KJV.
However, this article has actually helped me change my mind and now I am back on track by looking at the best modern versions. Either way, this article was an excellent read, and I thank God for helping you understand these things, that I too may understand them. I am not going to turn this hub into a platform for continual debate with you.
Thank you for reading my Hub and may God bless. All was fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Paul made it very clear that the law was temporary. Israel failed not only in not realizing that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but by being a light to the world. Those who are in Christ are to be a light that goes into all the world spreading the Good News. I agree, the remnant did not fail.
The remnant are the true Israel that remained; the unbroken branches.
What does "rightly dividing the word of truth" mean in (2 Tim )?
Those of Israel according to the flesh who did and do not believe are broken off branches are not part of the commonwealth of God. If you are in Christ, then you are counted as adopted into the true Israel and have taken on the name Israel. Israel never was about race, if that were the case then Rahab and Naomi would not have been in lineage of David and Christ. Matthew Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
It was Jesus who came and proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. The kingdom of God is not to be seen with signs and wonders, it is within us. Even Paul warned that we should not call ourselves followers of Paul, we are all to be followers of Christ. His doom was told to him in the garden of Eden. Matthew til heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tiddle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. If Israel failed, and the church, the body of Christ is to take over the great commission and be a light to the world, then how could all already be fulfilled and a new heaven and new earth already be in existence and reconciled back to God?
Not a jot or tiddle will fall out of the law til all things be fulfilled Romans For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Colossians Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;. Romans ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead.
You claim that Isreal failed?
Listen to Rightly Divide the Word of Truth now.
Did peter fail? What about james and john? How about Stephen? Only those people within the nation of Israel who respond with the correct faith can be considered true Israel. So true Israel never has all the way back to Abraham and will not fail in the future after the blessed hope and the body of Christ is caught up to meet with the Lord in the clouds. A mystery that he kept hidden and a secret that no one knew existed until revealed to Paul by Christ, it had to be kept hidden and unknown or Satan would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
I will attempt to reply to both of your comments here in a concise manner, if possible. Paul is encouraging and instructing Timothy on how to conduct himself when others attempt to entangle him is useless arguments which only serve to discourage others from accepting the truth, which is Christ the Messiah crucified and resurrected. Paul had become very adept at proving through the law, psalms and prophets that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah and that only through Him might man be saved. This would have also been the task that Paul would have been charging Timothy with. As John put it in his epistles, these people had and have the spirit of antichrist.
This plan of restoration and salvation of mankind was made evident as early as Genesis 3. Paul made I very clear that the Law was temporary and was only there to lead or point to Christ. Hebrews 8 tells us that the old covenant made with Israel in the wilderness is no longer in effect. The old covenant had to fade away in order that the new might fully come. No man will ever be saved by the law, but only through faith in God. Abraham, and all those who were saved before the cross were saved by grace trough faith just like we are today.
That seed being Christ, Himself. Jesus made it quite clear in John 8 that those who do not accept Him do not even know the Father. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that both believing Gentiles and believing Jews have been made into one man, breaking down any barriers that formerly existed.
God does not distinguish between Jews and Gentile, we have all been consigned to sin so that mercy might be shown to all. Jesus came to save the world, not just the Jewish nation. I will again disagree with you. Paul was not prophesying to some future time when the entire nation of Israel would be reconciled to God. This is the same symbolism that Peter saw in his rooftop vision when he was shown that the Gospel was to go the Gentiles as well.
Now, the church is to carry the light to the world, that is what the great commission is all about.
Tat prophecy was only about the rebuilding of the temple and city, the timeframe of the coming of the Messiah and the coming destruction of that same temple and city. For they are not all Isreal, which are of Isreal He will one day work with only Isreal to complete their plan and purpose, etc and gentile nations will go back under darkness like they were before the dispensation of grace and their only chance would be to go thru Isreal no other option. We find out an aspect of Gods character which ends up being his most powerful trait vs all other strengths He possesses omnipresence, omniscience I.
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The mystery of Christ reveals grace as not only a free gift but as s power as well. We as members of the Body get the honor of being edified by Gods Holy Spirit thru his word that builds up Godliness inside of us and allows a way for fruit to be produced that He can accept righteousness unto holiness that we can place out there for men on earth as well as angels in heaven to see.
Appreciate your article and enjoyed reading thru it all. Definitely a lot to consider with this topic and is a pivot point regarding which path a believer continues down their entire Christian journey regarding how they read and apply the word of God. We are not in a plan B or afterthought due to some event that caught God by surprise or forced him to change plans and the way God set this thing up involves a battle against the adversary to prove some things out to him and all creation about the wisdom and character of God in comparison of any other competing wisdom.
That is where the strife and struggle resides Watering down of the detail will allow misunderstandings to take place within doctrinal truths. I never want anyone to take another mans word for it, but to do their own in depth research and study to find the truth, only way to know for sure is by what the word of God says without influence of men and their wisdom which has a source and ultimately comes from somewhere.
Failure to drill down and not flush out intense doctrine details ends up leaving openings for the adversary to hide the truth with subtly and counterfeit wisdom contrary to our heavenly fathers wisdom.
He will make things look right, feel ok, even sound smart and correct and this can pave a path for popular thinking to emerge and more momentum to portray the lies as the truth, this is what he does best as he is the anointed cherub that covereth and is full of wisdom and beauty.
The point of right division involves ensuring differentiation of Gods purpose for the body of Christ from His intent for Israel. Its very true that grace and faith has always been the only way that anyone has ever been saved, justified to eternal life. Both Israel and the body of Christ must have Gods grace, they both must have Christ as their all sufficient substitute redeemer in order for either to successfully carry out the reclamation of all things back to the God, the Most High.
Physical things you can see and feel and prove and put your hands on This differs from all spiritual blessings in heavenly places of which belong to the one new man, the body of Christ and is already a done deal revealed in a mystery hidden in Gods heart that no one knew about There is definitely grace involved and necessary for Israel to successfully be the chosen people, a royal priesthood, peculiar people and the head of all nations destined to lead the whole world Gentiles back to God and reclaim the earth that was lost to Satan in the garden.
There is no way they can do this themselves without God Bring the one to do it for them, they need his grace and goodness just as much as any other group of people do in order to be successful. That is the new law He will write on their hearts and they will be his people and He will be their God Palestinian covenant Christ, on the cross, successfully defeated death and hell and He now holds the keys to these instead of Satan, but still has the other four mandates of the Davidic Covenant to fulfill as their Messiah.
We are members of the body of Christ and Jesus is the head of the body. Our vocation is not on this earth like Israel, but in the heavenly places out in Gods creation up there. We are given all kinds of blessings upfront and freely by Gods grace without works of any kind at any time, we are free from the law, not under it and God gave us a new identity in Jesus Christ the moment we trust him as our Saviour. He killed our old identity in Adam and gave us a new identity in Christ, He sanctified us and made us holy and usable by him as well as adopting us to labor with him and have a close and personal relationship, one that Israel has yet to know or experience to date but they will one day.
There is no Jew or Greek in the body of Christ bc this is free gift of grace given out to all an equal playing field and was a mystery hidden in God not revealed until shown to Paul by Jesus Christ himself, there are no Old Testament references to this mystery, not even any hints or clues or coded language - otherwise it cannot be a mystery or secret that no one knew. Israel signed a contract and though they are His people they possess a component in their justification which is before men and involves works which must be successfully performed and carried out or consequences will be enforced due to the nature of you guessed it being under the law and responsibility of being the head of all nations.
Our salvation package is not one of fear, but close intimate one on one conversation with our Heavenly Father and His Spirit to lead us thru His word and build us up an edification from the inside out , which conforms us to the image of His Son, not because we are held to a standard or law, but thru true desire to please our father and motivated by grace and Godly charity and a privilege to labor with him in what his plan and purpose encompasses. Thank you for your kinds words.
I believe that we must all be prayerful about the pursuit of truth and that others not be led astray. Be strong in the Lord, my sister! We are in very perilous times, spiritually. Over the past 5 decades entire Christians congregations have been infiltrated by self annointed leaders whose only agenda is to separate from the flock, those most unsuspecting and vulnerable; teaching them their specialized twisted scriptural doctrines. I continually pray the Holy Spirit reveal truths to these souls and I offer up what service the Holy Spirit may put before me. Oh my heart is heavy with sorrow and I rejoice when the Holy Spirit places one of these poor souls in my own journey.
God has guven you great work to do; may God continue Blessing you. My thanks to you. Grace And Peace, Tony. Thank you. Very "succinct. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him! Do we "believe" These "As They Are Written," or seek the "mercy" of "trained" theologians to "interpret" them for us to fit their "particular" theology? Thank you for taking the time to read this article and comments. I will keep my reply somewhat succinct. Yes, all scripture is profitable.
To us that encompasses both the old and new testaments. In Paul's time, the only scripture would have been the old testament. Paul was a master at showing that Jesus was the promised Messiah that the law, psalms and prophets foretold of. Jesus came to fulfill all that was written of Him. With that in mind, I depart with the wording of the King James in this instance as the word "dividing" conjures up the act of cutting apart to us who speak 21st century English. I do believe that "rightly handling" is a better translation of of the Greek word orthomounta today. Paul was instructing Timothy to be a good student of scripture so that he prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah by using texts from the law, psalms and prophets.
Yes, we have gone from law to grace, but only in our understanding of God's plan of salvation. No one was ever saved by the law, but by believing in God, faith. Those living before the cross were saved by grace just like you and me, only they received grace on credit, so to speak.
I would agree that context and audience are extremely important. While much of the Bible wasn't written about us, we can still take application from it. Jesus sternly rebuked the Pharisees for being hypocrites, does that make us hypocrites? Not really, but at the same time we should always be careful lest we fall into the same behavior as they did. I also believe that some parts of scripture are written from man's perspective; leaning on his own understanding. Books like Job and Ecclesiastes are good examples of this. I think that it is good for us to read all of scripture. These books were written by people who were inspired by God.
WE can learn how God deals with both the righteous and the evil. We can learn of God's long-suffering towards us, and most importantly, we can learn about God's enduring love for His creation. I heard a Pastor talk about this very topic. To me it made sense. This pastor used the rightly dividing scripture to also say you can wrongly divide. He said sone stuff in the bible is talking to sinners, some to Israel, and some to believers. Another interesting point he said was all scripture is truly stated but not a statement of truth.
For example when Job says the Lord give and the Lord taketh away, thats what Job thought and thats what was recorded in scripture, but the Lord doesnt give and take away does He? Arent all gifts from the Lord irrevocable romans what are your thoughts on whether everything in the bible is for God's children? Or does it all depend on the context? Hi Woodrow, except for the fact that the original Greek did not use the word "dividing", but orthomounta. If Paul truly meant to mean "dividing" as is understood in the English language, then he likely would have used one of the Greek words repeatedly used in the New Testament to convey this thought.
Am I doing the Devil's work? No, I do not think so, and even I were, it would be for the Lord to decide, not man. If a verse clearly states something then it means what it says, and I won't use the bogus argument of context to change its unambiguous meaning. You are lying about the Bible when you say a verse doesn't mean what it says or only apparently contradicts itself. This is the Devil's Work. Thank you for reading my article and your comment.
Very interesting way of looking at it. In truth, there is a commonality that runs through all of scripture, and that is Jesus Christ. Now, was that the message that Paul was conveying to Timothy? I believe that Paul had trained Timothy in the art of showing that all of scripture, which would have the been the Old Testament at that time, pointed to Christ as being the promised Messiah.
Paul was an expert in this and he tried to teach this in the synagogues as well as did Christ. To be honest, I'm not sure that mathematics factor into this particular passage. Pardon the pun. Do you remember factoring in math class? I've always looked at 'rightly dividing the word' as a similar exercise: that when we study God's word we are to in a sense 'divide' or 'factor' a passage of scripture with other scripture to reveal the common essential truth or truths. From this perspective, it is the opposite of separating scripture from other scripture - it is looking at scripture to see where it is in common with other truth contained in scripture.
Thank you for taking the time and commenting. I am glad that were able to find this article useful in your studies. Yes, I understand your position concerning all of scripture being inspired. My comment was intended to be in the context of rebuttal against those who claim that the gospels were not written to or for the church. I do believe that all of the Biblical writers were inspired by God and I do not discount the value of the rest of the Bible, even so, I do give greater emphasis to the words of Christ as I believe that the Old Testament pointed to Christ and the New Testament speak of Christ.
He is the very fulcrum of all of scripture. However your statement that you treasure every red letter over every black letter of the Bible causes me halt. You quote 2Timothy how ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God yet you treasure the red letters more. Yes I understand those were words spoken by Jesus but the entire Bible is God breathed. Every book of the Bible was written by a human author who was inspired by God, even the books that contain the red letters.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all quote Jesus but their quotes are not word for word the same. They quote Him as they are inspired to do so. You may want to rethink that stand on the red verses black letters. Am I "correcting the Bible"? No, that was not my intention. My intention was to correct how some have misinterpreted its meaning in this particular passage by showing that the concept of parsing scripture was in no way in context of what Paul is telling his companion, Timothy. There is a big difference.
Thank you for reading my article and your comments. I have to admit that I have never considered connecting the idea of "dividing" the word of truth with legalism. I think we're all familiar with the advice that a doctrine should not be built on a single verse. So when a doctrine is built on a single translation of a single verse then we're on even shakier ground.
Add to this how you've shown that the original word does not even refer to dividing and now there is no foundation for the doctrine whatsoever. As with all bad doctrine there is always a reason it is attractive. Finding what this attraction is often explains that attraction. Long story but I think in this case the attraction is that people don't like the fact that "faith without works is dead". Thank you for reading my article. Do I believe that Romans 9 is a chapter about predestination to salvation? No, I do not. Do I believe that Paul saying that some are predestined to carry out certain acts of service for His purpose?
I received an email from a person that I will only identify as "SJ". The reply email that this individual used was fake as it immediately bounce back. He has His pure and preserved words kept for all generarations words that are above His name even. Yet moron man thinks he knows more through his learning for he has been to a theological cemetery. I will assume that you are both a King James only person as well as a Dispensationalist who ardently defends the concept that the gospels and books like James and Hebrews were written to and for the Jews while the Gentile church should simply follow Paul.
I will tell you this: I treasure every red letter in my Bible more than every all other black-letter words in the Bible combined and neither you or anyone else can take that away from me. Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 3 not to be followers of men, but that we should all be followers of Christ. So, by that statement alone, those who state that the gospels are are only to and for the Jews are in error.
I praise God that I only have to concern myself with being able to stand before God and not before men. It was not my intention to "correct the Bible", only to set straight how some, in my opinion, have taken the words of Paul out of context in order to promote a particular teaching that is contrary to the intended message and the context of scripture as a whole. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
I have have always found it to be more beneficial to let scripture explain itself rather than relying on other men to to explain it for me. The Bible is always our best teacher. It is my opinion that creating doctrine from one particular text, or in this case, a single word, it never a wise thing to do.
The context of Paul's message had nothing to do with the concept of divided scripture and as far as I can tell, and there are no other passages that support this practice. In fact, it was Paul that wrote that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Thank you, Jerry. I am glad that you found this article beneficial in your studies. I am curious as to whether or not your pastor had similar conclusions. Totally disagree with your article. Tony, I enjoyed your article. I agree with your assessment and conclusions. My pastor was discussing this very verse 2 Tim. Thank you very much, brother, for your time and effort dedicated to God's precious message.
Many continued blessings. Jerry P. No worries, I'm sure that I would have assumed the same thing. I believe that your post was on there for a time, I really don't know when it was taken down. My primary disagreement is that the "age of grace" leads the believer that those before the cross were saved by works. It is very clear to me that all mankind was saved by grace through faith.
If we are to say that those before the cross were saved by works, then they are all condemned in their sins. I disagree that the church will be raptured to heaven for seven years while Jews and unbelieving Gentiles face an antichrist government and that some will be drawn to Christ after He returns I'm not surprised that you haven't heard of Inclusion Theology. Those in Dispensational circles teach that if you don't see a distinction between Israel and the church that you must believe in Replacement Theology; that the church has somehow "replaced" Israel as God's chosen people.
But I am convinced that it was God's plan all along that the Gentiles be brought in to share in the commonwealth. Paul teaches in Romans that Gentiles believers are part of the same tree along with Jewish believers. The root of that tree is Christ. We, as Gentile believers, have been adopted into the family of God. One who is adopted does not replace the natural children. Paul makes it clear to me that only those who are in Christ are to be called Abraham's descendants and called Israel by God.
Thanks for the quick reply. Sorry about the HTML confusion. I'm not savvy to message board restrictions. Thanks for the clarification and sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm interested in what you believe are the conclusions Dispensationalism leads to. But we can discuss that another time. Actually, I didn't delete it. I had approved the message, but I "think" that posting links to outside articles is taboo on HubPages.
Perhaps the admins on HubPages deleted it. If you read the conditions of comments, you will read:. I don't care to get into an argument, either. But, I will say that I do not agree with the conclusions that Dispensationalism leads to. I believe that the Bible can be rightly understood simply by understanding audience, time and context. If one is diligent to read the epistles like Romans and Hebrews, they should be able to understand the types and anti-types that are represented in the Old Testament and how they pointed to and were realized in Christ.
My goal with this article was to show that separation of scripture was not in context with what Paul was conveying to Timothy. Building a complex doctrine on one single phrase in scripture that has no supporting context or scripture is never wise, in my opinion. My stance is that Inclusion Theology is what scripture teaches. I see that my email has been removed and along with it the reference to Charles Welch's article on right division.
If you're not open to discussing this topic then I won't bother you about it. Just let me know: privately if you wish.
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But removing the email shows a sign of weakness in your position. I'm not looking for an argument. I just thought it odd that you didn't address in your article your disagreement with the strongest supporter for the "rightly dividing" position that you disagree with. That would be Charles Welch. You stated that you especially like the following from that article: "In other words, whether found in Genesis, Romans, Ephesians or the Revelation, "Dispensational Truth" is all the truth there is.
Did you also like his distinguishing comment: "Right division distinguishes dispensations. Did you also like his distinguishing comment: "If we misinterpret Israel as of the Church; if we confound the Bride with the Body; if we preach the gospel of the circumcision to the Gentile to-day; if we do any of these things, we rob the Word of its Truth.