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.
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(15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.—Timothy, and those in the position of Timothy, were to show themselves approved unto God, by turning others, over whom they possessed influence, from the pursuit of vain and unprofitable things. Then their work would be the work of workmen tested by trial, and would be found to have stood the test. (Comp. here 1Corinthians 3:10-15, where the final testing of the work done by God’s workmen, such as Timothy, is spoken of in very clear, heart-searching language.) His own words in the First Epistle to the Corinthians were evidently in St. Paul’s mind when he wrote down this direction to Timothy.

Rightly dividing the word of truth.—Better rendered rightly laying out the word of truth. The Greek word translated in the English version “rightly dividing,” literally signifies “cutting a straight line.” It seems most correct to regard it as a metaphor from laying out a road (see Proverbs 3:6, in the LXX. rendering, where the word is so used), “or drawing a furrow, the merit of which consists in the straightness with which the work of cutting, or laying out, is performed. The word of truth is, as it were, a road which is to be laid out straightly and truly.” So Ellicott. To affirm (see Alford and Huther-Meyer) that the notion of “cutting” had been gradually lost, and that the word already in the time of St. Paul signified simply “to manage rightly,” “to treat truthfully without falsifying,” and that the exact opposite is to corrupt or adulterate the Word of God (2Corinthians 2:17), seems premature. (Comp. Eur. Rhesus, 422, ed. Dindorf.)

In the third century, Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, 7), for instance, certainly uses the word in a sense in which the idea of “cutting” has been lost, when he writes orthotomia (a substantive) as an equivalent for orthodoxia—orthodoxy. It is not improbable that the use of the word here by St. Paul gave the word a fresh starting-point, and that gradually the original meaning passed out of sight.

2 Timothy 2:15. Study to show thyself approved, &c. — Greek, σπουδασον σεαυτον δοκιμον παραστησαι τω Θεω, literally, be zealous, make haste, or diligently endeavour, to present thyself approved to God, what ever men may judge of thee and thy services; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed — Either on account of unfaithfulness, unskilfulness, lukewarmness, negligence, or sloth; rightly dividing the word of truth — Greek, ορθοτομουντα, literally, rightly cutting up the word — In allusion, as some think, to the action of the Jewish priests in dissecting the victims, and separating the parts in a proper manner, as some were to be laid on God’s altar, and others to be given to those who were to share in the sacrifices. Or rather, the metaphor may be taken from the distribution made by a steward in delivering out to each person under his care such things as his office and their necessities require; or to the action of one who carves at a table, and distributes meat to the guests, according to their ages, and their state of health. In this manner the apostle himself divided the word to the Corinthians, feeding them with milk, as babes in Christ, and not with meat, as not being then able to bear it. See Hebrews 5:12-14. The Vulgate version renders the clause, recte tractantem, rightly handling the word, which gives the apostle’s meaning very well. Thus those ministers handle it who duly explain and apply the whole gospel, so as to give each hearer his due portion. But they that give one part of the gospel to all, (the promises and comforts, suppose, to unawakened, hardened, and scoffing sinners,) have real need to be ashamed. To divide or handle the word of truth aright, implies that it be done, 1st, With evidence and demonstration, so as to convince the conscience, Acts 2:37; 1 Corinthians 2:4. 2d, With sincerity and faithfulness, delivering the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27. 3d, With power and authority, Matthew 7:29; 1 Thessalonians 1:5. 4th, With wisdom and seasonableness, as men are able to bear it, Mark 4:33; John 16:12. 5th, With meekness, gentleness, love, and all winning insinuations, 2 Timothy 2:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 2:7. 6th, With courage and boldness, Jeremiah 1:17; Ephesians 6:19.

2:14-21 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.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.

15. Study—Greek, "Be earnest," or "diligent."

to show—Greek, "present," as in Ro 12:1.

thyself—as distinguished from those whom Timothy was to charge (2Ti 2:14).

approved—tested by trial: opposed to "reprobate" (Tit 1:16).

workman—alluding to Mt 20:1, &c.

not to be ashamed—by his work not being "approved" (Php 1:20). Contrast "deceitful workers" (2Co 11:13).

rightly dividing—"rightly handling" [Vulgate]; "rightly administering" [Alford]; literally, cutting "straight" or "right": the metaphor being from a father or a steward (1Co 4:1) cutting and distributing bread among his children [Vitringa and Calvin], (Lu 12:42). The Septuagint, Pr 3:6; 11:5, use it of "making one's way": so Bengel here takes Paul to mean that Timothy may make ready a straight way for "the word of truth," and may himself walk straight forward according to this line, turning neither to the right nor to the left, "teaching no other doctrine" (1Ti 1:3). The same image of a way appears in the Greek for "increase" (see on [2498]2Ti 2:16). The opposite to "rightly handling," or "dispensing," is, 2Co 2:17, "corrupt the word of God."

truth—Greek, "the truth" (compare 2Ti 2:18).

Study to show thyself approved unto God; let it be thy study, not to please men, to get their hum and applause for speaking quaintly, learnedly, or smoothly, but to approve thyself to God, who is thy Master in this work, and whom thou oughtest to serve.

A workman that needeth not to be ashamed; a workman that doth his work so well, and faithfully, that he need not be ashamed, whoever looketh and judgeth upon it.

Rightly dividing the word of truth; oryotomounta, rightly cutting out; we translate it rightly dividing: it is not material whether the metaphor be drawn from the priests right cutting out their sacrifices, so as all had their shares in them; or from carpenters cutting out their timber, cutting off the sappy part, and by a right line dividing the other parts; or from cooks, or carvers, or parents rightly dividing a dish of meat among several guests or children; or from those that use to cut out ways; or from husbandmen cutting out furrows, &c. The sense is, rightly handling the word of God, and giving to all their portion. For their notion who would make the sense of it, cutting out a right way for others by thy example, because the word oryotomein sometimes signifies to cut a right way, it no way agreeth to the text, for whatever the verb signifies alone, he is meanly skilled in the Greek that knows not it cannot have that sense, being joined (as here) with ton logon thv alhyeiav, the word of truth.

Study to show thyself approved unto God,.... The Alexandrian copy reads, "to Christ"; see Romans 16:10. Not unto men, as pleasing them; for such who study to please men, are not the servants of Christ; and sometimes those that are approved to and by men, are disapproved of by God and Christ: but unto God, showing all fidelity and uprightness; speaking out the Gospel openly, and freely, with all sincerity, as in the sight of God; commending themselves to him, and to every man's conscience, by manifestation of the truth; and such will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" another day.

A workman that needeth not to be ashamed; the ministry of the word is a work, and it is a good work; and those that perform it aright are worthy of honour and esteem; and it requires industry, diligence, and application, and for which no man is sufficient without the grace of God; and those who are employed in it are workmen, workers together with God, and labourers in his vineyard: and such who are faithful and diligent ones, "need not to be ashamed"; such do not cause shame, neither in themselves nor in others, as false teachers do, who foam out their own shame, and as negligent ministers of the word, and such whose lives are not agreeable to the doctrines they preach; nor have they any reason to be ashamed, neither of the Gospel, which they preach, nor of their sufferings, which they endure for the sake of it, nor of their upright ministrations of the word; and as they are not afraid to suffer shame for the sake of Christ now, they will not be ashamed before him at his coming.

rightly dividing, or "cutting"

the word of truth; that is, the Scriptures of truth, Daniel 10:21 which come from the God of truth, are concerning Christ, who is the truth, and are dictated and led into by the spirit of truth, and contain in them nothing but truth: to divide the word, is not merely to divide the text into its proper parts, though care should be taken that this be done aright; and some think that the allusion is to the verses of the Hebrew Bible, which are called "divisions", sections, or cuttings, from the word "to cut" or "divide", being cut or divided one from another; hence those that were employed in the law, and were conversant with the sacred writings, and exercised therein, were called , "cutters", or "dividers of the law" (e); and so is one that is well versed in the Bible, and knows every part of it, and readily uses it, in speaking or writing; and such an one was Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:15 though I rather think the apostle refers to a wrong way of dividing the Scriptures by the Jews, to which he opposes the right dividing of them. They had used not only to take away a letter out of one word, and add it to another, and so expound the text, but to remove words in it, and make that which went before to go behind, and that which was behind to go before; and this they call a sharp knife, which , "cuts and divides the Scriptures" (f): but this way, which his countrymen used, the apostle would not have Timothy, and other Gospel ministers, make use of; for this is not rightly to divide, but to mangle and tear in pieces the word of truth. Moreover, to divide the word of truth, or to cut it, is to cut it open, and dissect its several parts, and search and look into the inside and bottom of it, for to find out every truth contained in it, and lay them open to others; and may be, as some have thought, an allusion to the cutting open the sacrifices, and laying the parts of them aright, and in a decent manner: to which may be added, that since ministers of the Gospel are stewards, and who, when wise and faithful, give to everyone of the household their portion of meat in due season; the metaphor may be taken from such, and from masters and governors of families, who cut up the food, and distribute it to each, according to their age and appetite; and so the ministers of the Gospel are to distribute the spiritual food of the word to babes in Christ, and to grown Christians, according to their capacities, and suitable to their cases and circumstances, dividing to everyone what is proper for him: in short, one that divides the word of truth rightly, is, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, one that "rightly handles"; or, as the Syriac version, that "rightly preaches the word of truth"; who gives the true sense of Scripture, does not pervert and wrest it, and take from it, or add to it; who points out the truth in it, and shows unto men the way of salvation, and plainly and faithfully preaches the Gospel contained in it, without keeping back anything that is profitable, but declares the whole counsel of God. This same Greek word is used by the Septuagint in Proverbs 3:6 where it answers to the Hebrew word which signifies to direct the way, and make it plain; and may here design a plain and open interpretation of the word of God: and to answer these several characters in the text should be the studious concern of every Gospel minister; and study is necessary thereunto; it requires great care that a man take heed to himself, and to his doctrine; and great industry, diligence, and application, and much reading, meditation, and prayer.

(e) Vid. Fuller Miscell. Saora, l. 3. c. 16. (f) Halichot Olim, port. 4. c. 3. p. 192.

{9} Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, {e} rightly dividing the word of truth.

(9) The fifth admonition: a minister must not be an idle disputer, but a faithful steward in correctly dividing the word of truth, in so much that he must stop the mouths of other vain babblers.

(e) By adding nothing to it, neither deleting anything, neither mangling it, nor rending it apart, nor distorting it: but marking diligently what his hearers are able to bear, and what is fit to edifying.

2 Timothy 2:15. Continuation of the exhortation to Timothy.

σπούδασον σεαυτὸν δόκιμον παραστῆσαι τῷ Θεῷ] σπουδάζειν expresses the eager striving, as in Ephesians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, etc., and has a suggestion of making haste, 2 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 4:21; Titus 3:12.

δόκιμον, equivalent to probatus, tried, is absolute, and should not be taken with ἐργάτην (Luther, Mack). A more precise limitation is given in the next words: παραστῆσαι τῷ Θεῷ; comp. Romans 6:13; Romans 6:16, and other passages in the Pauline epistles; here it has the additional meaning: “for the service of.” Hofmann gives an unsuitable construction by joining τῷ Θεῷ—in spite of παραστῆσαι—with δόκιμον (= “approved by one”), separating ἐργάτην ἀνεπαίσχυντον from one another, and connecting ἐργάτην with δόκιμον, so that ἀνεπαίσχυντον forms a second predicate to ἐργάτην, ὀρθοτομοῦντα κ.τ.λ. being added as a third. All this not only assigns to δόκιμος a meaning which it never has in the N. T. (not Romans 14:18; comp. Meyer on the passage), but separates παραστῆσαι from the τῷ Θεῷ standing next to it, although Paul almost never uses the word without adding a dative of the person (comp. in particular, Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 8:8; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27).

ἐργάτην ἀνεπαισχυντον] ἐργάτης specially de opere rustico; used, besides, of the work in the field of God’s kingdom (2 Corinthians 11:13; Php 3:2).

ἀνεπαίσχυντος; in the N. T. a ἅπαξ λεγ., and in classic Greek used only in Sp. as an adverb with the signification: “immodestly, shamelessly.” It is synonymous with ἀναίσχυντος, which in classic Greek is used only in a bad sense: “one who is not ashamed when he ought to be.” It cannot, of course, have this meaning here. The most reliable interpretation is to keep by the fundamental meaning of the word taken in a good sense: “who is not ashamed, because he has nothing to be ashamed of.” Bengel: cui tua ipsius conscientia nullum pudorem incutiat; de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt translate it simply: “who has nothing to be ashamed of.” Hofmann arbitrarily explains it as equivalent to: “of whom God is not ashamed,” a meaning suitable to the context only if δόκιμος be taken in the sense he maintains. The next words make the definition still more precise: ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας] ὀρθοτομεῖν, ἅπαξ λεγ., is rightly explained by most as recte tractare (which is the actual translation of the Vulgate); but there is very great variety in the derivation of the notion. Melanchthon, Beza, and others derive the expression ab illa legali victimarum sectione ac distributione Leviticus 1:6; Vitringa, from the business τοῦ οἰκόνμου, cui competat panem cibosque frangere, distribuere filiis familias; Pricaeus, a lapicidis; Lamb. Bos, from the ploughers, qui arantes τέμνειν τὴν γῆν, σχίζειν et ἐπισχίζειν ἀροῦρας dicuntur, yet in such a way that is committed to those qui rectas vias insistunt. De Wette (Wiesinger agreeing with him) maintains the latter; recte secare viam, λόγον being put for ὁδόν. Certainly τέμνειν is often joined with ὁδός, κέλευθος; but it does not follow that in ὀρθοτομεῖν by itself there is contained a reference to the way.[32] As little can we say that any other of the references is contained in it. The word in itself means: “cut rightly,” or, according to Pape: “cut straight, in straight direction;” then, the notion of τέμνειν falling into the background, as is often the case with καινοτομεῖν, it has the more general signification: “deal rightly with something so as not to falsify it.”[33]

Hofmann’s explanation is curious: “cut straight through the word of truth, i.e. cut it, so that it is a straight cut, passing into the heart of it, whereas a slanting cut would not reach the inner part of the word of God, but only touch the outwork.” This explanation—apart from other reasons—is refuted by the fact that ὀρθοτομεῖν has not the signification: “cut through the middle point.” The Gloss. ordinar. explains it: secundum competentiam singulorum, ut: altis spiritualia, lac distribuere parvulis, so that Paul is directing Timothy to preach the word according to his hearers’ capacity of understanding. This is the meaning also according to Luther’s translation: “who rightly parts the word of truth;” but the thought is entirely foreign to the context.[34]

Chrysostom explains it by τέμνειν τὰ νόθα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐκκόπτειν; so, too, Oecumenius; but this is unsuitable, for there is nothing false in the λόγος τῆς ἀληθ., and therefore nothing to be separated from it.

The expositors are quite wrong who refer the expression to a life in accordance with God’s word = κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ὀρθότατα βιοῦν.

The right interpretation makes it the simple opposite of καπηλεύειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ, 2 Corinthians 2:17.[35]

[32] De Wette, indeed, appeals to LXX. Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5; but in these passages ὁδόν appears, and the verb, like the יִשֵׁר, has the transitive signification: “make straight, smooth.”—Nor does the passage in Eurip. Rhes. v. 422: εὐδεῖαν λόγων τέμνων κέλευθον, justify de Wette’s explanation. The possibility of substituting λόγον for ὁδόν is not proved simply by remarking that “the word is a way.” We certainly do speak of “walking in the path of the divine word, of virtue,” etc., but not of “walking in the divine word, in virtue.”

[33] Perhaps the expression may be explained in this way, that the imparting of the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας makes it necessary to part it, since only a part of it can be delivered each time; it therefore amounts to saying that this parting is to be done rightly, so that the λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας may receive no injury.

[34] In Beza’s explanation: nihil praetermittere, quod dicendum sit, nil adjicere de suo, nil mutilare, discerpere, torquere, deinde diligenter spectare, quid ferat auditorum captus, the first part alone is to the point.

[35] In the Fathers the word ὀρθοτομία is sometimes found synonymous with ὀρθοδοξία. Clemens Alex. Stromata, vii. p. 762: τὴν ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν σώζων ὀρθοτομίαν τῶν δογμάτων; but this usage took its rise from the above passage.

2 Timothy 2:15. σπούδασον: Give diligence to present thyself (as well as thy work) to God, approved.

ἀνεπαίσχυντον: Chrys. takes this to mean a workman that does not scorn to put his hand to anything; but it is better explained as a workman who has no cause for shame when his work is being inspected. In any case, the word must be so explained as to qualify ἐργάτης naturally; and therefore it cannot be interpreted by a reference to 2 Timothy 1:8 (μὴ ἐπαισχυνθῇς), of the shame that may deter a man from confessing Christ.

ὀρθοτομοῦντα: ὀρθοτομέω is found in reff. as the translation of ישׁר (Piel) direct, make straight, make plain. “He shall direct thy paths,” “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way”. This use of the word suggests that the metaphor passes from the general idea of a workman to the particular notion of the minister as one who “makes straight paths” (τροχιὰς ὀρθάς) for the feet of his people to tread in (Hebrews 12:13). The word of truth is “The Way” (Acts 9:2, etc.). Theodoret explains it of a ploughman who drives a straight furrow. Similarly R.V. m. (1), Holding a straight course in the word of truth. Chrys., of cutting away what is spurious or bad. Alf. follows Huther in supposing that the idea of cutting has passed out of this word, as it has out of καινοτομεῖν, and renders, rightly administering, as opposed to “adulterating the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17). Other examples of words which have wholly lost their derivational meaning are πρόσφατος and συκοφαντέω. The imagery underlying the A.V., R.V.m. (2), rightly dividing, is either that of the correct cutting up of a Levitical victim (Beza), or a father (Calvin), or steward (Vitringa), cutting portions for the food of the household. The R.V., handling aright, follows the Vulg., recte tractantem, and gives the general sense well enough. The use of ὀρθοτομία in the sense of orthodoxy, in Clem. Al. Strom. vii. xvi., and Eus. H. E. iv. 3, is probably based on this passage.

15. ‘Let your own example back your precepts to your teachers.’ The stress therefore is to be laid on ‘thyself.’

Study to shew thyself] Take pains to present thyself; both verbs are aorists, because that tense gives the verbal idea always, and the force intended here is ‘Have for your ideal in work and aim “thorough.” ’

approved unto God] Or ‘one who has stood God’s testing’; so the substantive in Php 2:22 ‘ye know the proof,’ i.e. the approved character ‘of Timothy.’ In one respect, that is, the Philippians had themselves tested Timothy, viz. how he had served with St Paul in furtherance of the Gospel. The opposite word, ‘unable to stand the test’ occurs Titus 1:16 where see note; and ch. 2 Timothy 3:8.

a workman] Implying zeal and activity, as, in a bad cause, Php 3:2.

that needeth not to be ashamed] Only here in N.T.; in Joseph. Antt. xviii. 7. 1 in the same sense ‘nor think that one should-not-be-ashamed to be inferior.’ In classical Greek ‘shameless’ ‘impudent’ is the force of the cognate word. Both senses come from the proper meaning of the verbal ending ‘that which cannot be made ashamed.’ Vulg. ‘operarium inconfusibilem.’

rightly dividing] This is the literal meaning, whether we refer the dividing to the sacrificial division of victims or to the distributing of bread or to the cutting of a road; or better, with R.V. apparently, take Theodoret’s interpretation ‘we praise those husbandmen who cut their furrows straight,’ and so get for our second rendering ‘holding a straight course in the word of truth’ (R.V. margin) and for our third (R.V. text) handling aright the word of truth. The word does not occur again in N.T. or classical Greek; but in LXX. Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5, ‘he shall direct thy paths,’ ‘the righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way.’ Vulg. ‘recte tractantem.’

the word of truth] The facts, the doctrines, the creeds, through which God’s true work and will for man are revealed.

2 Timothy 2:15. Σπούδασον, be diligent [study]) A word suited to the character of the whole epistle.—σεαυτὸν, thyself) An antithesis to the work [2 Timothy 2:21], of which workman is the conjugate.—δόκιμον) approved unto God; not reprobate unto every good work, Titus 1:16, but having his work perfect, Jam 1:4. Hesychius: δόκιμον, χρήσιμον, τέλειον.—ἐργάτην ἀνεπαίσχυντον, a workman not ashamed) to whom thy own conscience can occasion no shame. The Scholiast quoted by Pricæus explains ἀνεπαίσχυντον by παῤῥησιαζόμενον; comp. Php 1:20. Ὀρθοτομοῦντα follows, viz. one who will extend the word of truth among all others.—ὀρθοτομοῦντα) Here many are of opinion that the idea of cutting is implied; but the Vulgate translates it, “recte tractantem,” rightly treating or handling: an excellent rendering; comp. LXX, Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5, ὀρθοτομεῖν ὁδοὺς, the same as in Latin, secare viam, “to travel a road,” to make one’s way.[6] Nor do κενοτομία, κερτομία, mean cutting in the literal sense (κεαρ, the heart is cut, metaphorically, by κερτομίαν), nor καινοτομέω, ῥυμοτομέω ἰθύτομος οἷμος. The literal meaning and force of the ὀρθὸς is rather to be retained in ὀρθοτομοῦντα: for in the passages quoted [where ὀρθοτομεῖν is in the LXX.] we find the Hebrew word יַשֵׁר, and this form of the verb might have been expressed by the same Greek verb in 2 Chronicles 32:30, concerning a water-course, and Psalm 119:128, concerning the Divine word itself. Therefore the meaning of Paul is, that Timothy may prepare a right course (may make ready a straight way) for the word of truth, and may himself walk straight forward according to this line, turning neither to the right nor to the left hand, teaching no other doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:3; and in this view the antithesis of the word, will go forward,[7] which presently occurs, 2 Timothy 2:16, is more clearly perceived.—τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας, the word of truth) The antithesis occurs presently after, κενοφωνίας, of which the first part of the compound, signifying empty, is opposed to truth (ἀληθείας); the last part, involving vehemence of voice, is opposed to the temperate word (τὸν λόγον).

[6] In which the idea of cutting does not enter; so τέμνειν ὁδόν.—ED.

[7] Προκόψουσιν, Engl. Vers., “will increase.” The metaphor is from pioneers clearing the way before an army, by cutting down all obstacles; πρὸ and κόπτω; hence, to make progress, to advance.—ED.

Verse 15. - Give diligence to present for study to show, A.V.; handling aright for rightly dividing, A.V. Give diligence. The A.V. "study," if we give it its proper force, as in the Latin studeo, studium, studiosus, expresses the sense of σπούδασον exactly. Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it (comp. 2 Timothy 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10, 15; 2 Peter 3:14). To present thyself (παραστῆσαι, to present); as in Luke 2:22; Acts 1:3; Acts 9:41. In 1 Corinthians 8:8 it has the sense of "to commend," nearly the same as δόκιμον παραστῆσαι. The rendering, to show thyself, of the A.V. is a very good one, and is preserved in the R.V. of Acts 1:3. Approved (δόκιμον; Romans 16:10; 1 Corinthians 11:19, etc.); one that has been tried and tested and found to be sterling; properly of metals. This, with the two following qualifications, "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed," and "one that rightly handles the Word of truth," is the character which Timothy is exhorted to appear in before God. The dative τῷ Θεῷ is governed by παραστῆσαι, not by δόκιμον. A workman (ἐργάτην). How natural is such a figure in the mouth of Paul, who wrought at his trade with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:3), and was working night and day at Thessalonica, that he might earn his own living! That needeth not to be ashamed (ἀνεπαισχυντον); not found anywhere else, either in the New Testament or in the LXX., or in classical Greek. Bengel hits the right force of the word when he renders it "non pudefactum," only that by the common use of the passive participial form (compare ἀνεξιχνίαστος ἀνεξερεύνητος ἀναρίβμητος, etc.), it means further "that cannot be put to shame." The workman whose work is skimped is put to shame when, upon its being tested, it is found to be bad, dishonest work; the workman whose work, like himself, is δόκιμος, honest, conscientious, good work, and moreover sound and skilful work, never has been, and never can be, put to shame. St. Paul shows how to secure its being good work, viz. by its being done for the eye of God. Handling aright the Word of truth (ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας). The verb ὀρθοτομεῖν occurs only here in the New Testament. In the LXX., in Proverbs 3:6, it stands for "he shall direct [or 'make straight'] thy paths;" and so in Proverbs 11:5. The idea is the same as that in Hebrews 12:13, "Make straight paths for your feet (τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς ποιήσατε)." But this does not at all suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word. Ὀρθοτόμεω must mean "to cut straight," and, as the apostle is speaking of a good workman, he must be thinking of some work in which the workman's skill consists in cutting straight: why not his own trade, in which it was all-important to cut the pieces straight that were afterwards to be joined to each other (see ὀρθότομος and ὀρθοτομία)? Hence, by an easy metaphor, "divide rightly," or "handle rightly, the Word of truth," preserving the true measure of the different portions of Divine truth. 2 Timothy 2:15Study (σπούδασον)

Originally, make haste. In Paul, Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 4:3 (note); 1 Thessalonians 2:17.

To shew thyself approved (σεαυτὸν δόκιμον παραστῆσαι)

Παραστῆσαι, better, present. In Pastorals only here and 2 Timothy 4:17. Often in Acts and Paul. See on Acts 1:3; see on Romans 16:2; see on Ephesians 5:27. Δόκιμον approved, only here in Pastorals, five times by Paul. See on James 1:12. See on δοκιμή approvedness, Romans 5:4; and see on δοκιμάζειν to approve on test, 1 Peter 1:7.

A workman (ἐργάτης)

In Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:13; Philippians 3:2. In Pastorals, 1 Timothy 5:18.

That needeth not to be ashamed (ἀνεπαίσχυντον)

N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Lit. not made ashamed, as Philippians 1:20. A workman whose work does not disgrace him.

Rightly dividing (ὀρθοτομοῦντα)

N.T.o. oClass. In lxx, Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5; both times in the sense of directing the way. From ὀρθός straight and τέμνειν to cut. Hence, to cut straight, as paths; to hold a straight course; generally, to make straight; to handle rightly. Vulg. recte tractare. The thought is that the minister of the gospel is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, not handling it as a charlatan (see on 2 Corinthians 2:17), not making it a matter of wordy strife (2 Timothy 2:14), but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner. Various homiletic fancies have been founded on the word, as, to divide the word of truth, giving to each hearer what he needs: or, to separate it into its proper parts: or, to separate it from error: or, to cut straight through it, so that its inmost contents may be laid bare. Others, again, have found in it the figure of dividing the bread, which is the office of the household steward; or of dividing the sacrificial victims; or of cutting a straight furrow with the plough.

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