Rightly dividing the word of truth

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

No doubt, the entirety of the bible is the word of God; no part is more of the word of God than the other parts. Romans 15:4 established that the whole of Scripture contains the mind of God for us. The words of Jesus in red letters are not more inspired or less inspired than any other part of the Bible; the whole bible from cover to cover is inspired, and is the living word of God!

The believer is expected to be a bible student. Not even one of God’s children is exempted from the labour that is in the zealous studying of His word. The objective of this is not to please men but God. We, however, do not please God by merely memorizing the word but by ‘rightly dividing it’.

To rightly divide is “to cut straight” or “to share rightly”; and this alludes to a steward who makes an appropriate distribution to everyone under his care of the things the steward’s office necessitates and according to their needs. On the first glance, this means that as stewards of God’s holy word, we are to make a proper distribution of that word; giving the gospel and His instructions, His encouragement, rebuke and reproof to everyone, in every circumstance and need, as it best serves the hearer unto edification. The success of this hinges on appropriately allocating God’s word in the study of it!

There is a great deal of difference between those things which are for us; the entirety of the Bible, and that which is directed to us who are in the church of Jesus Christ. This is the point: there are parts of the word of God that are ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, and they are INDEED GOD’S MIND FOR US AND TO US. But then, there are also parts of the word of God that are addressed to the Nation Israel and other nations (Gentiles). They are not directed to us, but it is for us and we should learn from it. In fact, the Apostle Paul gives us spiritual justification for this, because all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16). Interestingly, it’s profitable, first of all for doctrine (teaching & learning); this means all of it is profitable for us (the church), though it may not all be addressed to us.

For example, we see that the Lord Jesus told the disciples that they were not to go preach to gentiles but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6). You will agree with me that it will be very wrong to take that instruction and not tell any non-Jew about the gospel. Rightly dividing the word of truth will reveal that this was a historical statement only accurate for a certain time: the gospel was first for the nation of Israel and then extended to the gentile (non-Jewish nations) after the resurrection of our Lord (Romans 1:16). The instruction contained here was not directed to the church, but the church can learn from it (as I have just briefly explained in the preceding sentence). For this reason, it will be wrong to instruct someone not to preach the gospel to non-Jews based on this portion of the Holy Scriptures even if it is printed in red because it is the words of our Lord Jesus! (to be continued)