"Rightly dividing" or "Rightly handling" in 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." (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)
The word that is translated "rightly dividing" is "ορθοτομουντα (orthotomounta)", which is a compound word of "ortho" (as in "orthodox") and "τέμνω" ("to cut"), and has the literal meaning of "to dissect correctly" (Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). The imagery is that of a skilled physician dissecting a body of its distinct parts. "Rightly dividing" portrays this act of paying meticulous attention to small individual parts that make up the whole. The reason Hymenaeus and Philetus "erred, saying that the resurrection is past already" (2 Timothy 2:17-18) is because these false teachers did not pay attention to the details of the promise of the resurrection. The rendering of "rightly handling the word of truth" is weaker in portraying this surgery-like focus on the small details. The portrayal of Bible study as a dissection-like procedure also supports an exegetical approach. The rendering of "rightly dividing the word of truth" puts the emphasis on exegesis (cutting "out" from the body) rather than eisegesis (injecting "in" to the body).
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