A popular verse from the Bible, 2 Timothy 2:15, reads
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
A question I have received several years ago, I was asked why we were supposed to "divide" the Word. Unfortunately, at the time I was unable to answer him, and that is why I will answer this question now.
The Greek word translated as "rightly dividing" is orthotomeo. It comes from two Greek roots. The first is orthos, which means "right", or "straight. The second is tomoteros, which means "to cut". Thus literally orthotomeo means "to make a straight (or right) cut". The word was a figure of speech used to specify the correct dissecting of a subject. The purpose of dissection is to investigate the dissected object and take a closer look at it. Likewise, we are here told to take the Scriptures, and dissect them to find their deeper meaning.
Why then is it translated as "divide"? In order to dissect an object, it usually has to be cut open, or divided into parts, hence the translation of the word as "divide".
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