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2 Timothy 2:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Study to show thyself approved unto God - Endeavour so to cultivate and improve thy heart and mind, that thou mayest not be a reproach to him from whom thou professest to receive thy commission.

Rightly dividing the word of truth - It is generally supposed that the apostle alludes here to the care taken to divide the sacrifices under the law; the priests studied, in dividing the victim down the spine, to do it so scrupulously that one half of the spinal marrow should be found on each side the backbone. Probably nothing was much farther from the apostle's thoughts than this view, which is now commonly taken of the subject. Indeed this scrupulously dividing does not appear to have been any original ordinance among the Jews; much stress was laid upon it in later times, but from the beginning it was not so. The word ορθοτομειν signifies,

  1. Simply to cut straight, or to rectify.
  • To walk in the right way; it is thus used by Gregory Nazianzen, who, in Orat. Apol. fugae, opposes ορθοτομειν to κακως ὁδευειν, walking in a right way to walking in a bad way. Thus, καινοτομειν signifies to walk in a new way, and κατευθυνειν to walk in a straight way. See Kypke.
  • Therefore, by rightly dividing the word of truth, we are to understand his continuing in the true doctrine, and teaching that to every person; and, according to our Lord's simile, giving each his portion of meat in due season - milk to babes, strong meat to the full grown, comfort to the disconsolate, reproof to the irregular and careless; in a word, finding out the necessities of his hearers, and preaching so as to meet those necessities.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Study to show thyself approved unto God - Give diligence 2 Peter 2:10, or make an effort so to discharge the duties of the ministerial office as to meet the divine approbation. The object of the ministry is not to please men. Such doctrines should be preached, and such plans formed, and such a manner of life pursued, as God will approve. To do this demands study or care - for there are many temptations to the opposite course; there are many things the tendency of which is to lead a minister to seek popular favor rather than the divine approval. If any man please God, it will be as the result of deliberate intention and a careful life.

    A workman that needeth not to be ashamed - A man faithfully performing his duty, so that when he looks over what he has done, he may not blush.

    Rightly dividing the word of truth - The word here rendered “rightly dividing,” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, “to cut straight, to divide right;” and the allusion here may be to a steward who makes a proper distribution to each one under his care of such things as his office and their necessities require; compare the notes at Matthew 13:52. Some have supposed that there is an allusion here to the Jewish priest, cutting or dividing the sacrifice into proper parts; others, that the allusion is to the scribes dividing the law into sections; others, to a carver distributing food to the guests at a feast. Robinson (Lexicon) renders it, “rightly proceeding as to the word of truth;” that is, rightfully and skillfully teaching the word of truth. The idea seems to be, that the minister of the gospel is to make a proper distribution of that word, adapting his instructions to the circumstances and wants of his hearers, and giving to each that which will be fitted to nourish the soul for heaven.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Those disposed to strive, commonly strive about matters of small moment. But strifes of words destroy the things of God. The apostle mentions some who erred. They did not deny the resurrection, but they corrupted that true doctrine. Yet nothing can be so foolish or erroneous, but it will overturn the temporary faith of some professors. This foundation has two writings on it. One speaks our comfort. None can overthrow the faith of any whom God hath chosen. The other speaks our duty. Those who would have the comfort of the privilege, must make conscience of the duty Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, Tit 2:14. The church of Christ is like a dwelling: some furniture is of great value; some of smaller value, and put to meaner uses. Some professors of religion are like vessels of wood and earth. When the vessels of dishonour are cast out to be destroyed, the others will be filled with all the fulness of God. We must see to it that we are holy vessels. Every one in the church whom God approves, will be devoted to his Master's service, and thus fitted for his use.
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 55

    *****

    Christ's favorite theme was the paternal character and abundant love of God. This knowledge of God was Christ's own gift to men, and this gift He has committed to His people to be communicated by them to the world. 6T 55.1

    *****

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    Ellen G. White
    Fundamentals of Christian Education, 215

    Young men and women, have you, as individuals purchased at infinite cost, sought to study to show yourselves approved unto God, workmen which need not be ashamed? Have you brought to God the precious talent of your voice, and put forth painstaking effort to speak clearly, distinctly, and readily? However imperfect may be your manner of utterance, you may correct your faults, and refuse to allow yourself to have a nasal tone, or to speak in a thick, indistinct way. If your articulation is distinct and intelligible, your usefulness will be greatly increased. Then do not leave one defective habit of speech uncorrected. Pray about the matter, and co-operate with the Holy Spirit that is working for your perfection. The Lord, who made man perfect in the beginning, will help you to cultivate your physical and mental powers, and fit you to bear burdens and responsibilities in the cause of God. FE 215.1

    There are thousands today who are unqualified for the work of the ministry, who cannot take a position of sacred trust, and are lost to the cause, because they have failed to value the talents given them of God, and have not cultivated their powers of mind and body, so that they may fill positions of trust in the Master's work. Individually we are here as probationers, and the Lord is testing and proving our fidelity to Him. FE 215.2

    He would employ us as agents to communicate the light of His word to the world. If we improved the light given us of God by diffusing it to others, we shall have increased light; for to him “that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” It is at our own option as to what we shall do with the light God has given. We may walk in it, or refuse to follow in the steps of Christ, and thus extinguish our light. FE 215.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Gospel Workers 1915, 92

    The cause of God needs efficient men; it needs men who are trained to do service as teachers and preachers. Men have labored with a measure of success who have had little training in school or college; but these might have attained a greater measure of success, and might have been more efficient laborers, if at the very start they had acquired mental discipline. GW 92.1

    To Timothy, a youthful minister, the apostle Paul wrote, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15.] The work of winning souls to Christ demands careful preparation. Men cannot enter the Lord's service without the needed training, and expect the highest success. Mechanics, lawyers, merchants, men of all trades and professions, are educated for the line of business they hope to enter. It is their policy to make themselves as efficient as possible. Go to the milliner or the dressmaker, and she will tell you how long she toiled before she had a thorough knowledge of her business. The architect will tell you how long it took him to understand how to plan a tasteful, commodious building. And so it is in all the callings that men follow. GW 92.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Gospel Workers 1915, 312

    “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” he wrote, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” [2 Timothy 2:15, 16.] GW 312.1

    The ministers of Christ today are in the same danger. Satan is constantly at work to divert the mind into wrong channels, so that the truth may lose its force upon the heart. And unless ministers and people practice the truth and are sanctified by it, they will allow speculation regarding questions of no vital importance to occupy the mind. This will lead to caviling and strife; for countless points of difference will arise. GW 312.2

    Men of ability have devoted a lifetime of study and prayer to the searching of the Scriptures, and yet there are many portions of the Bible that have not been fully explored. Some passages of Scripture will never be perfectly comprehended until in the future life Christ shall explain them. There are mysteries to be unraveled, statements that human minds cannot harmonize. And the enemy will seek to arouse argument upon these points, which might better remain undiscussed. GW 312.3

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