You constantly hear people referring to 2Tim 2:15. Usually, the reference is to rightly dividing the scripture. But, is that really what Paul meant? We shall see in this blog post that it is not what he meant. Before we define the word of truth as Paul did it would be beneficial to understand what rightly divide means. The Greek word is othotomeo... It means to dissect correctly, make a straight cut. Most other versions of the bible translate it “correctly handle,” so Paul meant that one should correctly handle, dissect correctly the word of truth. But, what is the word of truth?
Both Paul and James define the word of truth, and neither of them define it as the scripture per se. It is more nuanced than that. Let’s look at some passage of scripture where the phrase word of truth is defined.
Eph 1:13 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,” In this passage Paul defines it as the gospel of salvation. Therefore, the word of truth is synonymous with the gospel.
Jas 1:18 “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” What were they brought forth by? The answer is the gospel of Jesus and Jesus the living gospel. They were not brought forth by the scripture per se.
So, we see that the proper definition of the word of truth is the gospel. This makes 2Tim 2:15 urge that one study or be diligent to correctly handle, or rightly divide the gospel. How does one do that? The simple answer is with the cross. The death burial and resurrection becomes the critical changing point for the gospel. It is also the dividing point of the Old and New Covenants. It represents a radical shift in what God is doing in the earth and how He is doing it. It is the symbol of his grace and mercy.
If you define the word of truth as the scripture as so many do it becomes nebulous and difficult to understand what rightly dividing or correctly handling really is. That is why so many theologians and ministers that completely disagree in doctrine claim that they rightly divide the word of truth. How many times have you heard someone say that they were rightly dividing the word of truth? Well, they CANNOT rightly divide what they CANNOT rightly define.
Here again is yet another place where the redemptive focus of scripture becomes paramount. If rightly dividing the word of truth means rightly dividing the gospel message, and correctly handling it, then this makes the gospel decidedly much more important than any other message. In fact, Paul told the Corinthian believers that he had decided, or determined to know NOTHING among them except for Jesus Christ and Him crucified… in other words, the gospel (1Cor 2:2.)
Why do so many preachers today, i.e., followers of Jesus and proclaimers of the gospel claim to know and teach about everything except the gospel? They too, should determine to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified!
Link to Part 2
Link to Part 2