"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
WHAT IS RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH?
There is an ever-increasing problem within the Bible-believing community over "rightly dividing the word" of God:
2 Timothy 2:15
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Hyper-Dispensationalists (or Ultra-Dispensationalists) believe Paul is instructing Timothy to literally "dissect" the Bible, separating even parts of the New Testament into books written only for the Gentile Church and books written only for the Jewish Church.
While there may be some difference of opinion within Hyper-Dispensationalism on where exactly to "cut and divide" God's word, how many divisions there are, where these divisions start and end, etc., the overarching problem with this cutting up of God's word is that they are teaching whole books of the Bible, intended for a Christian audience, are irrelevant and non-applicable to the life of a believer.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Where they have erred in their ways is that they are completely ignorant of or simply do not understanding that:
1) the Bible has already been divided by God into the Old Testament and the New Testament and need not be further divided by any man
2) not understanding that the word "dividing" in 2 Timothy is more accurately translated into "handling" or "properly teaching".
There is one program of God, relevant to both the Jews and the Gentles
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
There were 2 covenants in Scripture (the Old and New Testaments) within an all-encompassing singular plan of redemption for ALL people, both Jew and Gentile.
PROPER TRANSLATION OF DIVIDING IN 2 TIMOTHY IS FOUND IN THE GREEK
The Greek word used in 2 Timothy for the word "divide" is ORTHOTOMEO and means:
1) to cut straight, to cut straight ways (roads), to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to doing right
2) to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly. 1
Upon further research into the word ORTHOTOMEO, it appears to be an engineering term used for road building. The idea is to guide on a straight road, so that people who are traveling on the road can arrive directly at their destination without deviation. It is a compound word from "ORTHO" meaning "straight" or "upright"... think ORTHOPEDIC medicine which deals with the bones and muscles that hold the body upright.
There is another word in Greek, KATATOME, which means to literally "divide into sections". This word is seen in Philippians 3:2: 2
" Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision (KATATOME)."
But KATATOME is not the word that the Apostle Paul used in his letter to Timothy. Paul does not mean "rightly dividing" is cutting up, cutting into sections, or dissecting the Word of God based on Jew and Gentile, or Israel and the Church.
However, Paul DOES use this word in Philippians 3:2 where he warns "Beware of those who divide you up", or those who would seek to differentiate between Jewish and Gentile believers. 3
This is especially ironic in light of Hyper-Dispensationalists insistence that the Gentile church should only follow Paul and that there are 2 separate gospels for Jew and Gentile.
"Rightly Dividing" in 2 Timothy 2:15 is not, then, "cutting up" but teaching the word accurately, directly, wholly and fully without falling off the road of doctrine that has been built for us by Paul into the ditch of false teaching.
2 Corinthians 4:2
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."
1. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon
2. Thayer's Greek Lexicon
3. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Anna Cheslick is the wife of Scott Cheslick and the creator of Humble Woman Ministries. Scott and Anna created Pure Word Ministries in December of 2017 as a means of Evangelical outreach through Social Media.
Her passion is writing about God's Word in order to build-up, encourage and edify others and to glorify God.