What does it mean to 'Rightly Divide'

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by James_Newman, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. James_Newman

    James_Newman
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    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.

    It seems that there are as many ways to 'rightly divide' as there are ways to skin a cat. What are the different divisions that can be made in scripture that would apply to this admonition to rightly divide the word of truth? And what criteria are we to use to decide how to slice? I would appreciate scriptural examples more than canned answers from a text, but throw in whatever you got.
     
  2. go2church

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    Word means to correctly handle, actually dividing up the bible or slicing (to use your word) as we understand it isn't what is meant by the text
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    "Slicing" or "dividing the text" are not at all in view in this verse. To rightly divide the truth means to interpret it properly ... to cut it straight.
     
  4. AVL1984

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    For many I have found that they will "rightly divide" the word this way....some parts they will dispensationalize, some they will take literally, some they will say is nothing more than parable, and so on and so on...seems to be whatever suits their fancy at the time, or best helps to prove their doctrine instead of them proving Bible doctrine. This isn't pointed at anyone in particular, as we ALL tend to do it at times, being human.
     
  5. av1611jim

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    Clearly God has divided the Scriptures.
    OT-Nt
    Law-Grace
    Kingdom-Heaven
    God-Satan
    Obedience-Disobedience
    On and On and On.
    As has been pointed out, we humans tend to make a mess of it sometimes. But the text clearly says there is a right way, indicating there is a wrong way.
    For starters, I think the best place to start for the church age saint is Paul's writings. Not saying that the whole of Scripture is unprofitable or anything of that sort. However, I am simply suggesting a starting point.
    For example.
    Paul in Hebrews starts out and says "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unot us by His Son..."
    Here we see one division of Scripture. The prophets, and the Son.

    Is this what you mean Brother?
    In His service;
    Jim
     
  6. James_Newman

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    I guess I was looking for a reasonable explaination for taking each scripture individually and deciding if it is written to us as NT believers or to someone else entirely (i.e. Jews in the tribulation). Most people seem to think that the warnings in the bible are written to someone else, using all kinds of ways to shift them off of themselves. The most common 'interpretation' sems to be 'this verse is written to the false professer' although some tend to prefer the 'jews in the tribulation'. I don't htink anyone would argue that the Old Testament was written specifically to the Israelites, but most Christians would certainly agree that there is much in the Old Testament that is applicable to us today.

    How do we decide what in the bible applies to us, and what applies to someone else? Should we even be trying to apply scriptures to others before we apply them to ourselves?
     
  7. Ps104_33

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    Dont take Scriptures that apply to Israel and apply them to the Church, and vice versa.
     
  8. av1611jim

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    I think I see now what you are after Bro.
    Again, where I start is Paul's epistles. When he says "Paul the apostle to the church at..." For example, I take it to mean he is addressing believers. Christians. So I take every word in that epistle seriously, because it is addressed to me.
    Should we apply Scriptures to others? Yes. Contextually, many times it is obviously not for us, doctrinally. For example Leviticus is a not-so-great place to get NT doctrine. But it has a wealth of application and typology for us.
    Somewhere Paul reminds us that the OT is written for our learning and example.
    Bro. I think you have opended up a very general thread which could get into a semester long Institute course, and indeed has been the subject of many a "college level" course.
    Do you think maybe this is a bit much? Or were you trying to get to one specific point?
    Just not sure yet where you want to go with this.
    In His service;
    Jim
     
  9. James_Newman

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    I'll have to get back to you on that [​IMG]
     
  10. rebelyell

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    I'm glad someone started this thread; it's so badly needed in today's church. As one of my brothers mentioned, the thirteen epistles penned by Paul are written directly to those of us in the church age. Those books beginning with Hebrews and continuing through Revelation are indeed written "primarily" to the Jews, specifically, those who are to endure the Tribulation. That does not mean there is not "secondary" applicaton of the scriptures contained in Hebrews through Revelation for the church today. If we take those scriptures and try to base church doctrine on them, we are simply "reading someone else's mail". I thank God that He has preserved His words for us according to Psalm 12:6,7. [​IMG]
     
  11. James_Newman

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    Hebrews is written to believers.

    Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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    The two words in 2 Tim. 2:15 translated in the KJV as “rightly dividing” is an English translation of the compound Greek word orthotomeo {or-thot-om-eh'-o}.

    The first part of the word, ortho is from the Greek word orthos {or-thos'} meaning “straight, erect.”

    The second part of the word, tomeo is from the Greek word tomoteros {tom-o'-ter-os} the comparative form of a derivative of the primary word temno meaning "to cut." And hence,

    1. to cut straight, to cut straight ways
    ---a. 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 (The Linked Word Project, Bob Jones University)

    Or as Helmut Köster of Harvard University writes on pp. 111-112 in volume 8 of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament ,
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Craigbythesea

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    A Very Important Observation

    As can be clearly seen by the interpretation of James Newman, depending solely upon a 400 year old translation of the New Testament for an understanding of the New Testament can be result in a radical misunderstanding of what the Bible says. It is my personal conviction from many years as both a student and teacher of the Bible that it is imperative that Christians avail themselves of more than one translation and that they seek the counsel of scholars of the Bible in interpreting it and that they carefully and prayerfully evaluate the information.

    There is an excellent Bible study resource available for free that any Christian with a computer and internet access can download. It is found at http://www.e-sword.net/. This Bible study resources includes many translations of the Bible in English as well as many other languages. It also includes several fine multivolume Bible commentaries, several Bible dictionaries, Greek Texts of the New Testament, Naves Topical Bible, The King James Version with and without Strong’s Numbering System, etc., in a very easy to use Bible study computer program allowing the user to have the Bible text in one window while in another window the program automatically displays your favorite Bible commentary on the verses that you are currently reading, and if you want to view other commentaries on the same Bible passage that you are reading, you can select them with a click of your mouse and there it is opened up automatically to the same Bible passage. Additionally, the E-Sword program includes many fine Bible maps, the entire text of many Christians Classics by famous scholars and devotional writers, including all eight volumes of Philip Schaff’s history of the church, a hymnal, Christian art, and other resources.

    There are very many more Bible study resources available to you on the NET, but the E-Sword program offers by far the most functionality and ease of use in a single program, and it is free.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. manchester

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    Does "rightly dividing" mean a translation that correctly includes God's Word while keeping out the false scriptures.
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    Of course not! The meaning has been posted above.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Debby in Philly

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    Discernment, wisdom in interpretation that only comes from study and experience.
     
  17. Plain Old Bill

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    Craigbythesea,
    Very good post. E-Sword is the best free Bible study program on the net with many helps.Also the NEY Bible is very useful.
    Would you agree that if one reads 2nd Tim 2:14-19 that the intent 2:15 would be a little clearer.
     
  18. Plain Old Bill

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    Sorry should have edited that last entry better.
    The Net Bible is also very good and free on the net.
     
  19. Phillip

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    I like both E-Sword and Online Bible (not onlinebible.com, but onlinebible.net), MANY old translations available. I use them both.
     

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