Search Eternally Blessed Archive

Search by passage (e.g., John 3:16), keyword (e.g., Jesus, prophet, etc.) or topic (e.g., salvation)

The Rightly-divided Word

The Rightly–divided Word

Time and again I have heard the statement that
God’s Word causes trouble in a community or in a
church or in our society. After frequently hearing
that and after searching The Word as to why there is
division and lack of accord among Christians, I
wrote a study entitled “Why Division?” Division
comes not from the Word of God; it comes from the
unbelief of those who refuse to believe the integrity
and the accuracy of God’s Word.

The subject of this chapter is the accuracy of
God’s Word and a workman’s responsibility to that
Word. II Timothy 2:15 is our point of departure in
studying this topic.

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

The one great requirement of every Biblical
student is to rightly divide the Word of Truth. The
Bible, the Word of God in its originally-revealed
form, is the Word of Truth. But when it is wrongly
divided, the true Word does not exist. We have the
Word of Truth only to the extent that the Word of
God is rightly divided. Everybody at one time or
another divides The Word. The question is not
whether we divide The Word; the question is
whether we rightly divide it.

Acts 17:2 is a verse of Scripture which a minister
once handed to me. He said, “Dr. Wierwille, you
are always talking about preaching nothing but The
Word and not going to outside sources, but do you
know that the Apostle Paul did not always use the
Word of God, that he reasoned with people
logically from outside The Word?” Then he quoted
Acts 17:2 to prove to me that the Apostle Paul went
outside of the Bible to reason with people about
spiritual matters.

Acts 17:2:
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto
them, and three sabbath days reasoned with
them out of the scriptures.

Did Paul reason with them from outside of the
Scriptures? That is what the minister said, but that
is not what The Word says. It says that he
“reasoned with them out [out] of the scriptures,” not
outside the scriptures. That man divided The Word.
Again, the question is whether he rightly divided it.
We must study to show ourselves approved unto
God as a workman who does not need to be
ashamed by rightly dividing The Word.

Let me give another illustration of how people
wrongly divide The Word. A man had been in a
prayer meeting after which he came to the home of
two students of the class on Power for Abundant
Living. He said to them, “You know, we have just
had the most tremendous meeting. We prayed until
we had prayed the Holy Spirit into the meeting.”

The Abundant Living student said, “Do you
mean you prayed so fervently that you prayed the
Holy Spirit into your prayer group? I thought that
God is the Holy Spirit and that He is everywhere
present. How could you pray Him in?”

“Oh,” the man said, “we did.”

So the students asked the man to give them the
chapter and verse. He turned to the book of Jude
and gave this verse to prove that they had prayed
the Holy Spirit into that meeting.

Jude, Verse 20:
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on the
most holy faith, praying in [in] the Holy Ghost.

Did he divide The Word? Yes. But did he rightly
divide it? Is that what “praying in the Holy Ghost”
means? Look again. “Building up yourselves on
your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.”

Anyone can take the Word of God and make it
mean exactly what he wants by taking it out of its
context or by adding to it or by deleting certain
words. The story goes that a man once said that he
could prove from the Bible that there is no God. He
quoted from Psalm 14:1, “There is no God.”

Psalms 14:1:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no

Does that verse say that there is no God? Yes, it
does. It says, “There is no God.” So one can go to
the Bible and prove just what the man said. He just
forgot to include the first part of the verse, “The
fool hath said in his heart....”

A person can prove anything from the Bible by
isolating a text or by changing it around. Anyone
can substantiate a theological viewpoint by
manipulating Scripture.

II Timothy does not tell us to divide The Word; it
tells us to rightly divide it. II Timothy 2:15 is the
only place in the Bible where the words “rightly
dividing” are found. Again a singular usage in the
Word of God shows that the expression is uniquely
and dynamically significant. The English words
“rightly dividing” are the Greek word orthotomounta.
Orthos means “perfectly right” or “perfectly
straight” Temno means “to cut.” Putting these two
words together in the word orthotomounta, translated
“rightly dividing” in the King James Version,
literally means “a perfectly right cutting.” Its
intricate nuance of meaning is that there is only one
way to rightly cut The Word; all other ways are
wrong cuttings. The teaching that many people give
– that as long as you are sincere everything is wonderful
– is not the teaching of The Word. II Timothy
2:15 says that we are to “study to show ourselves
approved unto God by rightly dividing.” There is
only one way to rightly cut The Word; all other ways
are wrong cuttings. Now do you understand why we
have splits, denominations and sects in so-called
Christianity? They stem from the wrong dividing of
The Word.

The first word in II Timothy 2:15 is “Study.” The
very first thing a person must do to rightly divide
The Word is study. He is not told to study
commentaries or secular writers; he must study The
Word. If we are ever going to rightly divide The
Word, we have to study The Word and not what
people say about it.

For years I did nothing but read around the Word
of God. I used to read two or three theological
works weekly for month after month and year after
year. I knew what Professor so-and-so said, what
Dr. so-and-so and the Right Reverend so-and-so
said, but I could not quote you The Word. I had not
read it. One day I finally became so disgusted and
tired of reading around The Word that I hauled over
3,000 volumes of theological works to the city
dump. I decided to quit reading around The Word.
Consequently, I have spent years studying The
Word – its integrity, its meaning, its words.

Why do we study? Because God expects us as
workmen to know what His Word says.

I Corinthians 12:1:
Now concerning spiritual gifts [matters], brethren,
I would not have you ignorant.

Since God would not have us ignorant, there is
only one way He would have us to be – smart.

We are to study to show ourselves approved unto
God, not to man. You do not study to show yourself
approved unto the leading financier in your
community, or to the heads of your denominations.
Whether men approve you or not isn’t of primary
importance; the primary thing is to stand approved
before God. And the only way you are going to
stand approved before God is to study and rightly
divide The Word.

Romans 16:10:
Salute Apollos [who is] approved in Christ....

It does not say that he was approved in the community
or by the society or in the denomination, but
he was approved in or of Christ.

Acts 2:22:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of
Nazareth, a man approved of God....

We study to show ourselves approved of God
because we are workmen who do not need to be
ashamed of our workmanship. If I were a carpenter
and built a house with joints and mortises that were
gaping, I would stand in disapproval for my
workmanship when the owner came to look. A
workman is approved or not approved by the people
who employ him. So we study The Word that we
may be approved before God because we are held
accountable to Him for our workmanship.

Matthew 12: 36, 37:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that
men shall speak, they shall give [an] account
thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by
thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Romans 14:12:
So then every one of us shall give account of
himself to God.

The Word says and means that everyone shall
give an account of himself. To have God’s approval
we must study The Word and study it in the right
way. The right way is the right cutting of the Word
of Truth to have the true Word.

Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son, rightly
divided The Word. According to Luke 24:44 Jesus
divided the Old Testament into the Law, the
Prophets and the Psalms. “Psalms” means “writings”
in Biblical usage. I had been taught to divide the Old
Testament into the books of the Law, the books of
History, the books of Poetry, the Major Prophets and
the Minor Prophets. I put them into five categories
whereas Jesus Christ put them into three. Who do
you think was right? Jesus Christ rightly divided The

Psalms 116:15 is another verse which is frequently
wrongly divided. This is a verse of Scripture
which we often hear at a funeral when a good man of
God has died.

Psalms 116:15:
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of
his saints.

We say, “It is precious, it is good, in the sight of
the Lord that he is dead.” Talk about wrongly
dividing The Word! It is not good in the sight of the
Lord that Herman died or that John died or that
Mary died because they cannot help God any after
they are dead. The only time they could help God is
when they were alive. The word “precious” in the
text is “costly.”

We speak of a diamond as a precious stone
because it is costly and rare. The more costly it is,
the more precious it is. This is what is meant by
“precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his
saints.” It does not cost God anything when an
unbeliever or a God-rejector dies. They have not
done anything for God anyway. But if a believer
died, it would be costly to God. That is why the
Psalmist said, “Costly in the sight of the Lord is the
death of his saints.”

The Word of God is the true Word only when it
is rightly divided. When it is wrongly divided we
have error at the particular place where it is
wrongly divided. To illustrate, if I rightly divide the
Word of Truth on salvation, I will have the true
Word on salvation. But if I wrongly divide the
Word of Truth on the subject of the Holy Spirit,
then at that place I do not have the true Word.
Naturally I will be sincere on both salvation and the
Holy Spirit; but sincerity is absolutely no guarantee
for truth. Sincerity is wonderful, but it is not
synonymous with truth. I like sincere people, but I
have also been hoodwinked by them. The insincere
people have never deceived me, but the sincere
people have.

Sincerity or insincerity is not the determining
factor for truth. The Word of God is Truth. When
we rightly divide it, we have the true Word; when
we wrongly divide it, we have error.

In the matter of standing approved before God,
people are again in disagreement. People say that
we stand approved before God if we pray a certain
way or if the flowers are on the altar at the right
place. It does not make a bit of difference to God
where the flowers are on the altar. It may make a
difference to us, but it does not make any difference
at all to God. The Word of God says we study to
show ourselves approved unto God by rightly
dividing The Word. To the end we rightly divide
The Word, we stand approved; to the end we
wrongly divide it, we do not stand approved. We
must come to the position of using The Word as our
authority. Christian believers can never be brought
together on other extraneous, superficial, ritualistic
matters. They can only be brought together when
they stand approved before God by rightly dividing
The Word.

An example of people trying to stand approved
of God is a sadly ridiculous commentary on socalled
Christians. Many years ago when I was doing
research in the archives of the University of
Chicago Divinity School, I came across a clipping
from a newspaper on a denomination which had
two factions. The cause of the rift was the question
whether or not God originally had created Adam
and Eve with or without navels. Incredible! One
group said that Adam and Eve did not have navels
while the other faction believed that God had given
both Adam and Eve navels. The one group built a
new church just across the street from the old one
and called their new denomination the First Church
of the Navelites. Christians bring disapproval to
themselves when they become sidetracked on such
irrelevant matters.

It does not make any difference to God whether
one wears a long dress or a short one; it does not
make any difference to Him whether I wear a tie or
108 The Bible is the Word of God
whether I do not. I could teach The Word just as
effectively with a tie as without one. The greatness
is not in what we wear or how we adorn ourselves,
but whether we rightly divide The Word. This
Word of God is the greatest thing in the whole
world and rightly divided it gives us the true Word;
it gives efficacy, power, exuberance and the more
abundant life which Jesus Christ, made available.