The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 130 of 159
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Right Division.
pp. 84 - 86
That which we believe to be truth is described by some as "fantastic dispensational
error", and we are told that it arises out of a misunderstanding as to the true meaning of
II Tim. 2: 15, which, instead of meaning "rightly divide", really means "handle honestly,
intelligently, and reverently, allowing it to speak for itself".  We will examine the
question of the true translation of II Tim. 2: 15 presently, but before doing so we feel so
attracted by the idea that to let the Word of God speak for itself is to handle it honestly,
intelligently, and reverently, that we at once put the matter to the test. Let us take a few
"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10: 5, 6).
"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15: 24).
If we let these Scriptures "speak for themselves", we shall understand them to teach
that the Lord Jesus limited His ministry to Israel during the "Gospels", and we shall
handling the word "honestly, intelligently and reverently".  Those who oppose us
describe such an interpretation as a "fantastic dispensational error", and their idea of
letting the Word speak for itself is astounding.  Instead of accepting the necessary
conclusion of these words, they persist in teaching that Christ came to found the Church,
which is composed of both Jew and Gentile, and virtually reverse His own repeated
statements. We have no fear respecting the verdict of any unbiased judge as to which
interpretation is "fantastic" and which "honest".
Let us try another case. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the EARTH."
We believe that. We believe that the Sermon on the Mount does not speak to or about the
Church which is raised and seated with Christ in the heavenlies at the right hand of God.
Our opponents read with the eye the word "earth", but their teaching compels them to
substitute "heaven", even though they may not boldly say so. Which is "honest"? Which
is "reverent"? Or again: in Eph. 3: the apostle speaks of a mystery which had been
hidden since the ages but has now been made known. We believe that is a fact, and that
the dispensation of the mystery (3: 9, R.V.) differs accordingly from all others. But no,
say our critics, a mystery does not mean a mystery, hidden does not mean hidden. Such
ideas lead to fantastic error! The Gospel of Matthew contains the same teaching as
Ephesians, it is all one and the same. That is their idea of handling the word honestly and
letting it speak for itself.
Now let us come to the words "rightly divide". They are the A.V. rendering of the
Greek word orthotomeo, which is made up of orthos = right and temno = to cut.
Temno does not occur in the N.T., but in the LXX it comes about seven times.  In
Lev. 25: 3, 4 and Isa. 5: 6 the Hebrew word of which temno is the Greek rendering is
translated "to prune". Pruning is done with a knife, a pruning hook, a saw, or with
secateurs, but in each and every case the branch pruned must be CUT. In II Kings 6: 4
the English is "cut down".  This is speaking of "felling a beam with an axe". In