Research on II Timothy 2:15

1.  Matthew Henry commentary

Verses 14-18
Having thus encouraged Timothy to suffer, he comes in the next
place to direct him in his work.
I. He must make it his business to edify those who were under his
charge, to put them in remembrance of those things which they did
already know; for this is the work of ministers; not to tell people that
which they never knew before, but to put them in mind of that which they
do know, charging them that they strive not about words. Observe,
Those that are disposed to strive commonly strive about matters
of very small moment. Strifes of words are very destructive to the
things of God. That they strive not about words to no profit. If people
did but consider of what little use most of the controversies in religion
are, they would not be so zealous in their strifes of words, to the
subverting of the hearers, to the drawing of them away from the great
things of God, and occasioning unchristian heats and animosities, by
which truth is often in danger of being lost. Observe, People are very
prone to strive about words, and such strifes never answer any other
ends than to shake some and subvert others; they are not only useless,
but they are very hurtful, and therefore ministers are to charge the
people that they do not strive about words, and they are most likely to
be regarded when they charge them before the Lord, that is, in his name
and from his word; when they produce their warrant for what they say. -
Study to show thyself approved unto God, {cf11ul 2Ti 2:15}. Observe,
The care of ministers must be to approve themselves unto God, to be
accepted of him, and to show that they are so approved unto God. In
order thereunto, there must be constant care and industry: Study to
show thyself such a one, a workman that needs not be ashamed.
Ministers must be workmen; they have work to do, and they must take
pains in it. Workmen that are unskilful, or unfaithful, or lazy, have need
to be ashamed; but those who mind their business, and keep to their
work, are workmen that need not be ashamed. And what is their work? It
is rightly to divide the word of truth. Not to invent a new gospel, but
rightly to divide the gospel that is committed to their trust. To speak
terror to those to whom terror belongs, comfort to whom comfort; to
give every one his portion in due season, {cf11ul Mat 24:45}. Observe
here, 1. The word which ministers preach is the word of truth, for the
author of it is the God of truth. 2. It requires great wisdom, study, and
care, to divide this word of truth rightly; Timothy must study in order to
do this well.
II. He must take heed of that which would be a hindrance to him in his
work, {cf11ul 2Ti 2:16}. He must take heed of error: Shun profane and
vain babblings. The heretics, who boasted of their notions and their
arguments, thought their performances such as might recommend them;
but the apostle calls them profane and vain babblings: when once men
become fond of those they will increase unto more ungodliness. The
way of error is down-hill; one absurdity being granted or contended
for, a thousand follow: Their word will eat as doth a canker,
or gangrene; when errors or heresies come into the church, the infecting
of one often proves the infecting of many, or the infecting of the same
person with one error often proves the infecting of him with
many errors. Upon this occasion the apostle mentions some who had
lately advanced erroneous doctrines: Hymeneus and Philetus. He
names these corrupt teachers, by which he sets a brand upon them, to
their perpetual infamy, and warns all people against hearkening to them.
They have erred concerning the truth, or concerning one of the
fundamental articles of the Christian religion, which is truth. The
resurrection of the dead is one of the great doctrines of Christ. Now
see the subtlety of the serpent and the serpent's seed. They did not
deny the resurrection (for that had been boldly and avowedly to confront
the word of Christ), but they put a corrupt interpretation upon that true
doctrine, saying that the resurrection was past already, that what Christ
spoke concerning the resurrection was to be understood mystically and
by way of allegory, that it must be meant of a spiritual resurrection only.
It is true, there is a spiritual resurrection, but to infer thence that there will
not be a true and real resurrection of the body at the last day is to dash
one truth of Christ in pieces against another. By this they overthrew the
faith of some, took them off from the belief of the resurrection of the
dead; and if there be no resurrection of the dead, nor future state, no
recompence of our services and sufferings in another world, we are of
men the most miserable, {cf11ul 1Co 15:19}. Whatever takes away the
doctrine of a future state overthrows the faith of Christians. The apostle
had largely disproved this error (1 Corinthians 15), and therefore does
not here enter into the arguments against it. Observe, 1. The babblings
Timothy was to shun were profane and vain; they were empty shadows,
and led to profaneness: For they will increase unto more ungodliness. 2.
Error is very productive, and on that account the more dangerous: itwill
eat like a gangrene. 3. When men err concerning the truth, they always
endeavour to have some plausible pretence for it. Hymeneus and
Philetus did not deny a resurrection, but pretended it was already past.
4. Error, especially that which affects the foundation, will overthrow the
faith of some.

Tyndale  pg 1

II Timothy 2:15,16 in the Tyndale commentary, a set of NT
commentaries most often used by preacher boys at Ouachita
Baptist for accurate and complete training in a Bible major,  

This unashamed-ness is achieved when the workman correctly handles
the word of truth, a phrase. in which the verb (orthotomeo) is difficult to
define with any precision because it occurs elsewhere only twice in the
LXX (Septuagint*, Proverbs 3:6 and 11:5). In the latter instances it
means 'to cut a straight road', and this has been applied in the present
case to the road of truth, which is to be made so straight that all
deviations of heretics will be evident.
 An objection has been raised to this on the grounds that the word of
truth cannot natural!y be understood as a road. If, however, the
expression is applied generally to straightforward exegesss there would
be less objection. The Idea of cutting, inherent in the verb, is thought to
mean the correct analysis of the "word of truth", either in its separate
parts or in its whole. But it is contended by many that the compound had
probably lost the meaning from which it was denved and had acquired
the more general sense of right handling.  It was from this sense that the
derived noun came later to denote orthodoxy.  In this context, however
the main idea seems to be that Timothy must be scrupulously
straightforward in dealing with the word of truth, in strong contrast to the
crooked methods of the false teachers. The term the word of truth is
twice used elsewhere by Paul (Eph. 1: 1 )
and  Col. 1:5) and in both cases is defined as the gospel.

Wikipedia on Septuagint

"...its Roman numeral acronym LXX refer to thelegendary seventy
Jewish scholars who solely translated the Five Books of Moses into
Koine Greek as early as the 3rd century BCE."


Research on Rightly Diving the Word of Truth, II Timothy 2:15

A workman

Ploughing a straight path with the Word without some zig-zags.

"Managing for shareholder value" where the shareholder is God Himself.

A worker that is ordinarily a good worker but sometimes does shoddy

from the expository english bible--

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
(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 renderedrightly 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.

Vincent's Word Studies

Study (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 and2 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:
That needeth not to be ashamed (ἀνεπαίσχυντον)
N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Lit. not made ashamed, asPhilippians 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

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Give diligence (σπουδασον — spoudason). First aorist active
imperative of σπουδαζω — spoudazōold word, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:
17; Galatians 2:10.
To present (παραστησαι — parastēsai). First aorist active infinitive of
παριστημι — paristēmi as in Colossians 1:22, Colossians 1:28.
Approved unto God (δοκιμον τωι τεωι — dokimon tōi theōi). Dative
case τεωι — theōi withδοκιμον — dokimon predicate accusative, old
adjective (from δεχομαι — dechomai), for which see note on 1
Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 10:18.
A workman (εργατην — ergatēn). See 2 Corinthians 11:3; Philemon 3:2.
That needeth not to be ashamed (ανεπαισχυντον — anepaischunton).
Late double compound verbal adjective (α — a privative, επαισχυνω —
epaischunō), in Josephus and here alone.
Handling aright (ορτοτομουντα — orthotomounta). Present active
participle of ορτοτομεω —orthotomeō late and rare compound
(ορτοτομος — orthotomos), cutting straight, ορτος — orthos andτεμνω
— temnō), here only in N.T. It occurs in Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5 for
making straight paths (οδους — hodous) with which compare Hebrews
12:13 and “the Way” in Acts 9:2. Theodoret explains it to mean
ploughing a straight furrow. Parry argues that the metaphor is the stone
mason cutting the stones straight since τεμνω — temnō and ορτος —
orthos are so used. Since Paul was a tent-maker and knew how to cut
straight the rough camel-hair cloth, why not let that be the metaphor?
Certainly plenty of exegesis is crooked enough (crazy-quilt patterns) to
call for careful cutting to set it straight.

An approved by God workman in the kingdom of God's vineyard
carefully remains faithful and consistent in his preaching of the Word of
God,  to never depart from accurate and consistent dealing with the
word of truth.

2 Tim. 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself [make your study of doctrine
an exhibit] approved to God, an unashamed workman [a studious
pastor], correctly dividing [according to its proper dispensations] the
Word with reference to its doctrinal content [communicating accurate
principles of truth].

My translation of this book from the original languages is provided
below. Everything inside brackets is commentary that is meant to assist
the reader in understanding certain doctrines and concepts germaine to
the context.

Plow Looking Straight Ahead

Plowing a straight furrow was easy, I thought. I didn’t need my father or
grandfather telling me what to do.
The first furrow plowed was the most important. It had to be straight,
especially when you had acres of land to plow. Each time back and forth
you had to put the right wheels of your tractor into the furrow you had
just plowed. This was your guide. If you got the first furrow straight, the
whole field would end up straight and square. If you got the first furrow
crooked, every pass you made was then crooked. This resulted in more
time and work at the end of the job, trying to square what was crooked.
Well, Dad had this notion that you should never look back when plowing.
You should pick out a spot , such as a tree or fence post, at the end of
the field (sometimes hundreds of yards away) and never take your eyes
off of it. Keep focused and never look back.
I thought, “How dumb! How are you going to know if you are plowing
straight if you don’t look back sometimes to see how you’re doing?”
Throwing Dad’s advice out the window I decided to do it my own way,
just once. Looking back I tried to make a straight furrow. Problem
is, you can’t steer very well looking back. You keep trying to jerk the
wheel one way or another to overcompensate. You can’t straighten out
something that’s crooked. (See Ecclesiastes 1:15a).
The words of Christ popped out at me as I read the Bible one day: “No
man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the
kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Dad’s advice was from the Lord!
Too many of us try to steer our lives by looking back. We look back and
blame our crookedness on our bad home life, environment,
circumstances, abuse, parents, teachers, church, or society, rather than
forgetting those things and going on. Go forward. Jesus said don’t look
Paul the Apostle said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13,14).
Pastor Art Kohl