"Rightly Dividing" 2 Timothy 2:15

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posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
30,125
9,736
113
#1
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15, nkjv)

that phrase '
rightly dividing' is a single word, orthotomeó, from ortho ((right or accurate)) and temno ((to cut)). it's only found once in the whole Bible, right here.

the sword we are armed with is the Word of God. a sword is used to cut -- we're not talking about cutting the sword in half; we're talking about wielding it.
a double-edged sword has a cross section like a long thin diamond-shape. when you cut something with it, you want the long axis of the sword's cross-section directly in line with the motion of the blade. when you don't have the sword aligned with the motion of your swing, it does not cut effectively ((i.e. you are not '
rightly dividing' or 'accurately handling' or 'cutting straight'))



in the diagram above the red line represents the direction the sword is travelling when it is swung. the gray box is the thing you are striking/cutting. the black diamond-shape is the a cross-section of the blade.

if you do not have good edge alignment you won't cut straight. part of the energy of the sword isn't being transferred into the cut; it's forcing the blade sideways when it hits the target. if your edge alignment is terrible, like the 3rd image, you may not cut at all - your sword might twist even further off-line, wrenching in your hand, and smack the target with the flat.

think like you're trying to hammer a nail into a board. you want ideally to hit the nail straight with the hammer, not sideways. if you hit the nail sideways ((relative to the axis of the nail)) you just push the nail sideways and either gouge out a channel in the wood with it, or bend the darn thing, rather than driving it straight into the wood.
same concept with a sword. you want to cut straight. you need to accurately handle it. you need to keep the edge of it directly in line with the arc of the swing.

this is ((IMO)) what Paul is talking about when he says '
cut straight with the word of truth' -- he's not talking about putting the Bible in a paper shredder. he's telling Timothy to practice good spiritual swordsmanship, like "a good soldier" ((2 Timothy 2:3-4))

a soldier, especially one whose weapon is a sword, knows that they must cut straight and true. he doesn't cut his spear in half, he thrusts straight with it. he doesn't break his sword into pieces, he wields it skillfully, in a practiced and adept way.

what's the problem with Hymenaeus and Philetus? ((2 Timothy 2:16-18)) -- they are not aligned with the Spirit; they are mishandling the sword of the word of truth. their problem isn't that they didn't divide the Bible in half in the right place, but that they way they used the word was not in line with the truth.


so this verse doesn't mean we should treat the law and the prophets like they were written by a different God. it doesn't mean we should treat Jesus like He preached a different gospel than Paul. it means we need to use the scripture the right way - with understanding and deftness, not like an untrained conscript, but like a well-practiced, adroit & skillful warrior.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
30,125
9,736
113
#2
scripture cannot be broken
(John 10:25)

if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand,
and if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand

(Matthew 3:24-25)
 

SophieT

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2020
1,042
608
113
#3
For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even as far as the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrows, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#4
“rightly dividing” is ορθοτομουντα (orthotomounta) from ORTHO (STRAIGHT) and TEMNEIN (TO CUT). You cut the word of truth at the right places to get the proper PARTS
kjv
15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
As it reads .
 

SophieT

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2020
1,042
608
113
#5
so this verse doesn't mean we should treat the law and the prophets like they were written by a different God. it doesn't mean we should treat Jesus like He preached a different gospel than Paul. it means we need to use the scripture the right way - with understanding and deftness, not like an untrained conscript, but like a well-practiced, adroit & skillful warrior.
what he said ^^^^^^^
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#6
If we don't rightly divide then we will still be doing animal sacrifices today.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
30,125
9,736
113
#7
If we don't rightly divide then we will still be doing animal sacrifices today.
we do not deny or ignore or cast aside the OT. we understand it correctly.

"cut straight" doesn't mean throw away the law and the prophets. it means use them properly.

you think it means to break the scripture into pieces and toss some of it away; you are wrong. it all is useful for doctrine and edification. Jesus & Paul ((tho i know you think they contradict each other bringing different gospels, and you reject Christ's teachings to favor Paul)) they both taught from the law. they didn't think 'cut straight' meant only use some of the scripture -- they thought 'cut straight' means use all of it and use it properly.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
30,125
9,736
113
#8
a sword isn't a baseball bat or a club.
you have to know what you're doing with it in order to use it to its potential.
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#9
we do not deny or ignore or cast aside the OT. we understand it correctly.

"cut straight" doesn't mean throw away the law and the prophets. it means use them properly.

you think it means to break the scripture into pieces and toss some of it away; you are wrong. it all is useful for doctrine and edification. Jesus & Paul ((tho i know you think they contradict each other bringing different gospels, and you reject Christ's teachings to favor Paul)) they both taught from the law. they didn't think 'cut straight' meant only use some of the scripture -- they thought 'cut straight' means use all of it and use it properly.
" cast aside the OT" "throw away the law and the prophets." " break the scripture into pieces and toss some of it away; " ?? No this is a silly response. I mean ' rightly ' divide . Recognise the divisions .
 

Edify

Active member
Jan 27, 2021
197
67
28
#10
New International Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

New Living Translation
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

English Standard Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

New American Standard Bible
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

I usually try this approach & if it doesn't work they didn't really want to know or just wanted to argue. I think in your situation posthuman, he just wants to argue.
Perhaps putting your 'friend' on ignore would be a better suggestion.:)
 

TheDivineWatermark

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2018
5,634
1,130
113
#11
Here's what it says at "BibleHub" under the "HELPS Word-studies" heading:

"3718 orthotoméō(from temnō, "to cut" and 3717 /orthós, "straight") – properly, cut straight (on a straight line), i.e. "rightly divide" (correctly apportion)."

I enlarged that last part... that is how I understand the phrase, so I am often saying,

[that we are to] "correctly apportion the word of truth"

Strong's Greek: 3718.

https://biblehub.com/greek/3718.htm



... meaning, understand "who" a passage was addressing at the time (and how it might apply presently, or not--the "build an ark" example)... and "what" the original intention of the author was, etc... Like, who the passage is "TO / FOR / ABOUT," so as to apply it accurately.



No one is suggesting that we "chop out large portions of Scripture," but rather, to "understand it" and "apply it" accurately/CORRECTLY.
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#12
New International Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

New Living Translation
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

English Standard Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

New American Standard Bible
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

I usually try this approach & if it doesn't work they didn't really want to know or just wanted to argue. I think in your situation posthuman, he just wants to argue.
Perhaps putting your 'friend' on ignore would be a better suggestion.:)
Yes the modern translations strike again .
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#13
A thought on the modern translations on this verse . Why would such an obvious statement need to be made . If it really is saying such wishy washy things such as " who correctly explains the word of truth." ..? This is just too obvious to be a correct translation.
 

TheDivineWatermark

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2018
5,634
1,130
113
#14
A thought on the modern translations on this verse . Why would such an obvious statement need to be made . If it really is saying such wishy washy things such as " who correctly explains the word of truth." ..? This is just too obvious to be a correct translation.
"Correctly apportion"... Noah was to build the ark... we are not. lol


[put it in the proper mail-slot! :D ]
 

Blackpowderduelist

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
1,406
589
113
Babylon
#15
Here's what it says at "BibleHub" under the "HELPS Word-studies" heading:

"3718 orthotoméō(from temnō, "to cut" and 3717 /orthós, "straight") – properly, cut straight (on a straight line), i.e. "rightly divide" (correctly apportion)."

I enlarged that last part... that is how I understand the phrase, so I am often saying,

[that we are to] "correctly apportion the word of truth"

Strong's Greek: 3718.

https://biblehub.com/greek/3718.htm



... meaning, understand "who" a passage was addressing at the time (and how it might apply presently, or not--the "build an ark" example)... and "what" the original intention of the author was, etc... Like, who the passage is "TO / FOR / ABOUT," so as to apply it accurately



No one is suggesting that we "chop out large portions of Scripture," but rather, to "understand it" and "apply it" accurately/CORRECTLY.
Yes the intent is that a person is able to break down the word in such a way as to teach it's principles to someone else.
The word, orthotomeó don't translate directly to english. It means roughly, 1. to cut straight: to cut straight ways, i. e. to proceed by straight paths, hold a straight course.
 

SophieT

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2020
1,042
608
113
#16
New International Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

New Living Translation
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

English Standard Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

New American Standard Bible
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

I usually try this approach & if it doesn't work they didn't really want to know or just wanted to argue. I think in your situation posthuman, he just wants to argue.
Perhaps putting your 'friend' on ignore would be a better suggestion.:)

There are a few here that seem to go out of their way to poison threads that start out with promise

It's what is making the forum a place to argue rather than discuss :( with regards to the BDF
 

SophieT

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2020
1,042
608
113
#17
a sword isn't a baseball bat or a club.
you have to know what you're doing with it in order to use it to its potential.
Some folks really seem to think the sword is to run other Christians through. The sword being the word (plenty of metaphors to be found there) is not to divide the body of Christ.

This is not about intellect or about what version of the Bible superior to others. (aka KJ CLUB) It is a shame that when scripture presents truth in a way that drives straight to what should be enlightened understanding, by the Holy Spirit one of whose functions is to do so, that some seem to believe that there has been given an invitation to fight over understanding.

I cannot remember when a discussion or a good op, such as this, was not driven south and ended up being hijacked and all hope of actual understanding and agreement discarded in favor of individuals presenting themselves as experts in the field of theologian and ancient languages.

But I digress :cautious:
 

throughfaith

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
8,275
1,263
113
#18
New International Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

New Living Translation
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

English Standard Version
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

New American Standard Bible
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

I usually try this approach & if it doesn't work they didn't really want to know or just wanted to argue. I think in your situation posthuman, he just wants to argue.
Perhaps putting your 'friend' on ignore would be a better suggestion.:)
Take any modern translation and ask what does it mean and you can literally be as general as possible. But " rightly dividing " gives us a direct understanding and something to grasp directly. To mean ' Correctly apportion"
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
14,878
2,451
113
#19
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Re 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

Laish

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2016
1,662
445
83
54
#20
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15, nkjv)

that phrase 'rightly dividing' is a single word, orthotomeó, from ortho ((right or accurate)) and temno ((to cut)). it's only found once in the whole Bible, right here.

the sword we are armed with is the Word of God. a sword is used to cut -- we're not talking about cutting the sword in half; we're talking about wielding it.
a double-edged sword has a cross section like a long thin diamond-shape. when you cut something with it, you want the long axis of the sword's cross-section directly in line with the motion of the blade. when you don't have the sword aligned with the motion of your swing, it does not cut effectively ((i.e. you are not '
rightly dividing' or 'accurately handling' or 'cutting straight'))



in the diagram above the red line represents the direction the sword is travelling when it is swung. the gray box is the thing you are striking/cutting. the black diamond-shape is the a cross-section of the blade.

if you do not have good edge alignment you won't cut straight. part of the energy of the sword isn't being transferred into the cut; it's forcing the blade sideways when it hits the target. if your edge alignment is terrible, like the 3rd image, you may not cut at all - your sword might twist even further off-line, wrenching in your hand, and smack the target with the flat.

think like you're trying to hammer a nail into a board. you want ideally to hit the nail straight with the hammer, not sideways. if you hit the nail sideways ((relative to the axis of the nail)) you just push the nail sideways and either gouge out a channel in the wood with it, or bend the darn thing, rather than driving it straight into the wood.
same concept with a sword. you want to cut straight. you need to accurately handle it. you need to keep the edge of it directly in line with the arc of the swing.


this is ((IMO)) what Paul is talking about when he says 'cut straight with the word of truth' -- he's not talking about putting the Bible in a paper shredder. he's telling Timothy to practice good spiritual swordsmanship, like "a good soldier" ((2 Timothy 2:3-4))

a soldier, especially one whose weapon is a sword, knows that they must cut straight and true. he doesn't cut his spear in half, he thrusts straight with it. he doesn't break his sword into pieces, he wields it skillfully, in a practiced and adept way.

what's the problem with Hymenaeus and Philetus? ((2 Timothy 2:16-18)) -- they are not aligned with the Spirit; they are mishandling the sword of the word of truth. their problem isn't that they didn't divide the Bible in half in the right place, but that they way they used the word was not in line with the truth.


so this verse doesn't mean we should treat the law and the prophets like they were written by a different God. it doesn't mean we should treat Jesus like He preached a different gospel than Paul. it means we need to use the scripture the right way - with understanding and deftness, not like an untrained conscript, but like a well-practiced, adroit & skillful warrior.
Nice ! And leave it you to share a adept explanation of the word sword as seen in New Testament scripture and its use . I would add that the sword besides cutting to the truth can be used to parry attacks of the adversary or to completely disarm him in our Christian life .
Blessings
Bill