The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 126 of 181
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To show the great importance of this subject, the Apostle links our attitude to it with the
approval of God:
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2: 15).
The word spoudazo, study, does not refer to reading books. It occurs again in 4: 21
where it is translated `do thy diligence'. It has the notion of persistent zeal and could be
rendered in up-to-date language, `do your utmost', the aim being to present oneself
approved unto God, a workman without any shame. What greater aim than this can there
be for the servant of God? The approval of men can be discounted. The only approval or
commendation that matters is one that comes from God when we stand before Him and
give an account of our stewardship.
It is this that must constantly be in the forefront of our minds as we live day by day.
All else is of secondary importance, for stupendous things are resting on the way we have
handled and used the sacred Scriptures, the Word of God, in this day of opportunity. If
we have handled the Word unfaithfully or with slackness, then, as the previous section of
this epistle has shown, we shall have denied God's Truth and He will deny us the
supreme privilege of reigning with Him over the restored universe. We shall be ashamed
before Him, and He will be ashamed of us as unfaithful servants. The perfection of our
standing in Christ must not be brought in here to try to undo as it were the serious
statements of the context we are studying. We are amazed how some who claim to see
the Mystery do this and so stress grace that service and responsibility before the Lord are
ruled out! Yet they constantly quote II Tim. 2: 15 and talk about `right division'! This
verse makes perfectly clear that only those who are unashamed workmen have rightly
divided the Word of God. In other words these are practical people, workmen, who have
rendered acceptable service to the Lord in the way they have handled and proclaimed the
Truth of the Scriptures.
What does "right division" mean?
The faithful workman is one who has `rightly-divided the Word of Truth'.
Orthotomeo is not easy to define because it is used nowhere else in the N.T. and only
occurs twice in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the O.T. used by the Lord and the
apostles). The passages are Prov. 3: 6 and 11: 5 where, instead of "He shall direct thy
paths" (from the Hebrew text) we have "He (or it, referring to wisdom in verse 5) shall
rightly divide thy paths". The illustration here is that of a sign-post dividing off and
pointing to the right road out of a number before the person concerned. This would
certainly influence Timothy's understanding as he knew the holy Scriptures (the O.T.)
which had made him `wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (II Tim. 3: 15).
The word orthotomeo has a primary meaning of `cutting straight'. It also had a
secondary meaning of `handling aright' and translators have used either of these two
meanings. We give a selection:
Rotherham: "Skillfully handling the Word of truth".