By Jack Eberle
I heard somebody say once that “right Division” can’t be too important because it is found only once in the Scriptures. Yet, the overlooked and essentially mistranslated verse of Philippians 1:10 is certainly a correlative of II Tim. 2:15. While the KJV translators are well-intentioned and essentially positive, it would seem that they miss the mark. Paul, also the writer of II Tim. 2:15 ”Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” also writes Phil. 1:10. While “excellent” is usually a perfectly good translation, the element of “differing” is strong in the Word. What things to the believer are “different”? From morning to night, there could be many differences in any age with any tribe or nationality of people. Certainly, those who are in the Scriptures are more interested than those under the sway of “proof-text Christianity”. Lots of tales could be told illustrating the debacle of this brand of “Christianity”. Also when the Scriptures speak of “things that are excellent”, they are not speaking of athletics, entertaining music, entrepreneurial achievements or any other essentially carnal achievements. The true and strong steward of the Word would necessarily include God’s Holy Word as of the few PRIME areas of life for God’s man or woman. The following verse removes any doubt as to the Spiritual nature of these excellencies referred to here when Verse 1:11 speaks of “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, through Jesus Christ.”
There is nothing more filling and more nurturing to the believer, young or old, than God’s Holy Word. Can there be any question then that Phil 1:10 is the perfect correlative of II Tim. 2:15?
“Rightly Divide”, note and choose “things that differ”. As always, I must tactfully but frankly tell you that we are not speaking of “religious” excellencies, but true godly matters: basic spiritual study and learning which comports with His Holy Word. Joys are spoken of in Philippians 4:4. Do you think for a moment that this refers to earthly, carnal joys of the flesh? Read Romans 7-8 again and I John 2:15-16. Meditate on His Holy and True Word. Seek the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit. See John 16:13 and I John 2:27. Rejoice IN the Lord. Dwell in His Holy Word.
Another Scripture, which contributes to our study of “things that differ” or “spiritual excellencies” is Psalm 12:6. “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
How well stated is the issue of spiritual excellency presented in this graphic illustration of value and discernment found in and through the Word of God. What better place to turn when muddled or misdirected than God’s Holy and tried Word for His growing, wise believers, i.e., those who feed on the truth of His great Word.