By Joseph L. Watkins
In our last article, we shared with our readers a number of the sundry ways men have translated 2 Tim. 2:15 - a summary of which might go something along the line.. "Study to do your best work, being without regret with your manner of presenting the message of GOD."
The real concern seeming to be with the quality and style of presentation, the good homiletics, the artfulness, more than the substance of the message. Most men have little or no interest in, or concern
for, "TRUTH". Most, I fear, miss the mind and intent of the one Spirit of Truth as expressed here.
Over the years, we have taken note that any time we see a verse of scripture with so many different ideas drawn from it, the Truth of GOD is not known, or it is being rejected and hidden through distortion.
For some time, our own local study group has been taking a new, or perhaps we should say an old, approach to the study of the Word of Truth. We have found ourselves doing a great deal of word studies, for as we have said so many times, the study of the Word of GOD is the study of the WORDS of GOD, those divinely chosen words which were used to express the very mind of HIM, "Whom we have to do."
We have been trying to stay with a one word for one word translation as much as we can, and making understandable the Greek in English, adding and dropping just as few words as necessary. This is no small task, seeing that none of us are Greek, or Hebrew, or even English scholars for that matter. But trusting that one divine "Teacher" of all truth to enlighten our understanding; we follow on, as best we can, our dependence resting in Him alone.
The priceless numbering system offered in the Strong's Bible Concordance, and the many other word study helps that are made readily available to almost anyone, have also made our studies a possibility, for
which we thank the Lord.
Working 2 Tim. 2:15 we are given:
4704 4572 1384
diligently thyself approved
3936 rw 2316 2040
presenting to the GOD workman
422 3718 rov 3056
unashamed dividing the word
of the truth
And keeping to the same words, we might rearrange them a bit to allow a better flow in English -- "Diligently presenting thyself approved (unto) GOD (an) unashamed workman, dividing the word of truth."
Now we have what we feel is the best English words to express the Greek words chosen of the Spirit of truth working in the Apostle Paul to express the full and true message, both for the young man Timothy in those very momentous days, and for that one in this present day who takes delight in That Truth Which is Truth For Today.
The word #4704 is used 11 times and has the thought of endeavoring, laboring, being diligent toward a set goal; here the goal is GOD' S secured approval.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 #1384 is rendered approved. This word is closely linked to four others, 1380, 1381, 1382, & 1383- all having the inherent idea of "approved through testing" or "being disapproved".
The words "unashamed - workman" #422 & #2040 have in view the ones that "labor" in the Word of Truth, working to know and to share with others The Truth, the shame coming on the workman who "miss" The Truth. The truth is missed because it is being mixed in with other messages that are now invalid.
At the heart of this very consequential verse is the word "dividing" the word of truth - #3718. Now all out of GOD is the truth, it cannot be otherwise. However, two truths, or two totally different messages, both bring truth in themselves, yet as they become mixed-up together both will become error. The word "dividing" (#3718) is a key to our understanding here, it is "orthotomeo", this comes from two words,
"orthos" = straight, and "temno" = to cut.
We cut with a view to dividing, the word straight implying doing it right. So the King James "rightly dividing" is closer than most would like to admit.
So then we shall do well to recognize and more fully appreciate what the basis of this judgment is, and the consequences. In Prov. 3:6 the LXX has: "and He shall direct thy paths" - whereas the Companion Bible offers in its margin: "rightly divide". In Prov. 11 :5 we read, "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct (or rightly divide) his ways."
Yes, the Lord's record books are overrun with accounts of men, good righteous redeemed men, even faithful and true in their devotion and service. Yet they are recorded as having missed the prize because they took the wrong pathway dispensationally. They read and they followed the wrong orders, they ran by the rules, they observed the wrong laws, they kept the wrong traditions, yes they did not "DIVIDE" the Word of Truth.