By James Gray

2 Timothy 2:15

      2 Timothy 2:15 should be taken to heart by every believer. It is to be our aim to be approved of God by studying the Word “rightly divided.” This is God’s imperative for the believer. The word “approved” (dokimos) means “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person or thing meets the specification laid down, to put one’s approval upon that person or thing.” God wants us to be approved, to meet the specifications. We are to present ourselves to God, “approved…not ashamed.” When we are examined by God, we will not have cause for shame.

     How do we get to that point? Paul gives us at least two answers.



      If we are to be approved of God, we must, first of all, study His Word. The Word of God reveals the will of God! Thus, we must know the Word if we are to do the will of God. The order can never be reversed. One must know something before one can do something.

     Thus, Paul commands us “to study.” The Greek word here is (spoudazo), which means that we are to work at it. To study means the diligent application of our mental faculties to a proper apprehension of the meaning of God’s revelation through His Word. A lazy man will never be approved of God, for he will not study. We must give diligence to the study of the Word, for we are to be WORKmen.



      In these words, we are told how to study the Word of Truth. The words, “rightly divide” are one word in the Greek (orthotomeo).  It is a compound word literally meaning “to cut straight.” This is the only time the word is found in Scripture. It is suggested that the word is a metaphor derived from the mason’s art of cutting stones fair and straight to fit into their proper place in a building. We are to handle the Word rightly, not sloppily or deceitfully, BUT honestly and in a straightforward manner. To do so entails three things:

  1. Not to misinterpret the Scripture. The word interpretation means “to explain the original sense of a speaker or writer.” To do so, the student must follow and assume that the writer used the normal, customary usage of the language of his time. Professor Charles Ryrie reminds us that:

 “If God be the originator of language and the chief purpose of originating it was to convey His message to man, then it must follow that He…originated sufficient language to convey all that was in His heart to tell man. Furthermore, it must also follow that He would use language and expect man to use it in its literal, normal, and plain sense.” (Dispensationalism Today, p. 88)

        The Bible was not written in some mystery language, but in the language of the day. Thus, the first step in correctly understanding the Word is a literal translation.


  1. Not to misapply the Scripture. Among some Bible students, there is a tendency to extreme spiritualization of Scripture; that is, to give some hidden meaning other than the clear, literal sense of the passage. This tendency is especially true when it comes to the Old Testament. Here they try to apply passages clearly addressed to Israel, to the Church of this dispensation. They spiritualize until they tell spiritual-lies. They apply such words as “Zion,” “Israel,” “Jacob,” etc., to the Church, the Body of Christ. The consequence of this wrong application of terms is that the nation of Israel is cut off from her blessing of restoration to divine favor clearly foretold in the Word (see Rom. 11:25-27).


  1. Not to dislocate Scripture. Note the context of 2 Timothy 2:15. This is of major importance in the context, for it was being taught that the resurrection was past (vs. 18). The error is not that the resurrection was taught, but that it was misplaced, or dislocated. Correct doctrine taught undispensationally becomes false doctrine! While all Scripture is “for” us, not all Scripture is “to” us. Thus, Paul warns us to “test the things that differ” (literal Greek translation from Philippians 1:10) “in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.

  Contrary to some opinions, “rightly dividing “ the Word of Truth is not hairsplitting distinctions that cut away parts of the Bible. It is, rather, giving each part of Scripture its proper place, and fitting it into its proper location in the history of revelation and fulfillment. It does not take away, but shows God’s promises in their full and complete meaning. It is not the dispensational Bible teacher that does away with the hope of Israel’s restoration in the plans of God; it, rather, is the one who spiritualizes these truths to the Church, the Body of Christ. Correct location honors God’s Word, for it realizes that all of God’s Word will be fulfilled as God said it would. He will fulfill His covenants to Israel. The concept of one covenanted people—with Israel flowering and flowing into the Church—allows for no fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy past the Church. Thus, it distorts the normal, customary usage of language, misapplies it, and dislocates it from its proper place in the purposes of God.

      To be approved of God, we must be students of the Word of God. As students of the Word, we must not “wrongly divide” but study it in its proper interpretation, application and location.



      To gain proper interpretation, application and location, there are four questions a student should ask concerning any passage of Scripture.


  1. Who is speaking? The Bible records not only what God says, but also the words of man and Satan. Much depends upon “who” said what.


  1. To Whom is He Speaking? In 2 Corinthians 10:32, we see three classifications of people. To which group is God speaking in the passage you are studying?


  1. What is He Speaking About? Is the subject universal (such as redemption), or is it dispensational (such as the Kingdom of God on the earth)?


  1. When Was It Spoken? Before the Cross or after? Before the Apostle Paul’s revelation (Eph. 3:1-10) or after?

      All these things should be considered in “rightly dividing” the Word of Truth. Study the Word! God puts no premium on laziness!



(Pastor H.B. Prince)

 Grace provided a Savior (Lk. 2:30; Jn. 3:16; Titus 2:11).

Grace brings salvation (Titus 2:11; Acts 15:11; Eph. 2:5-8).

Grace calls to salvation (2 Tim. 1:9; Gal. 1:15).

Grace forgives (Eph. 1:7; Rom. 5:20).

Grace reigns unto eternal life (Rom. 5:21; 6:23).

Grace justifies (Titus 3:7; Rom. 4:4-5; 3:24).

Grace gives a perfect position (Rom. 5:2; 6:14; Eph. 1:6, 13, 18).

Grace establishes (Heb. 13:9).

Grace fits for service (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 9:8).

Grace sustains in trial (2 Cor. 12:9).

Grace makes us heirs of God (Rom. 8:15-17; 2 Cor. 8:9).