My Testimony About "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth"
by Mary Atwood
I would like to share my testimony about "rightly dividing the Word of truth".
2 Timothy 2:15 says:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
About 30 years ago someone showed me what the Lord means by this verse, and this one truth answered so many of my questions about the Bible. It was then that I knew I could read, understand, and believe every single word of the Bible. Before that time the scriptures were very confusing to me, with all of the "contradictions". I really hadn't studied the Bible much because I couldn't understand most of it. The denominations added to my confusion because they were all so different in their beliefs yet every one of them had scriptures to back up what they believed. When I learned that there are no contradictions, only truth given to different people in different time periods, I began to see that God meant every word He has said. I once heard someone say, "The Word of God means what it says, where it says it, and to whom it says it."
Before I learned this wonderful eye-opening truth, I was in a denominational system that taught that Baptism had nothing to do with salvation, but that we should practice this as a testimony to others and to follow Christ's example. During this time, my new sister-in-law had invited me to go with her to her church where they taught that Acts 2:38 meant exactly what it said. Believing what the Bible actually said was a new concept to me. My denomination had changed the verse around to make it say something other than what it actually says. I had been taught in my church that every verse has a different meaning other that what it actually says, and very seldom do verses mean exactly what they say and are not to be taken literally. My teachers and preachers had "spiritualized" nearly every verse and passage.
Acts 2:38 says: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
When my sister-in-law's church taught me that Acts 2:38 meant exactly what it said, I looked at the verse and, of course, it was God's Word, so I began to think that maybe this church system was right. After all, they believed the Bible, didn't they? I reasoned, that because the Bible said so, maybe baptism WAS necessary for salvation and so maybe her church was right in its other doctrines.
About that time, my husband's job moved us to Chattanooga, Tn., where we joined a little church and began to hear about "rightly dividing the Word of truth". I then could see the answer to all of the confusion. The Bible truly DOES mean what it says and I truly CAN take every verse and word literally. I saw that Acts 2:38 was to be taken literally, that the people to whom it was spoken, the Jews, did indeed have to be baptized in order to be saved. But I also saw that this was not a doctrine written to me.
To "rightly divide the Word of truth" simply means to divide the portions of the Bible that are to us, from those that are written to and for someone else. All of the Bible is for our learning and we do not diminish anything from any of it, but not all of it is to us, in particular. Paul said that he is the apostle of the Gentiles in several verses.
Romans 11:13: "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office".
Romans 15:16: "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
Paul also called what he preached, "MY GOSPEL", and says it was a secret kept from the people of other time periods, or "dispensations", until he was told to preach it. He also calls it a mystery, hid from other dispensations.
25 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"
Rom. 2:16: "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
2 Timothy 2:8: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:"
Paul also said that no man taught him what he preached, but that he received it by special revelation from the Lord himself. This is found in Galatians 1, and Ephesians 3, as well as in other places. This shows that he did not learn what he preached from the 12 disciples or from anyone else who were followers of them. Paul had never seen Jesus Christ nor was taught by him, until Acts, chapter nine, when the Lord revealed himself to Paul. In other words, Paul was given a new message, a different message, and a distinct message to preach. It was not the same message that the Lord had given the twelve disciples to preach. It was very different for a different people in a different time period.
11 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 3:1-9 really emphasizes this truth.
1 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
Someone has said, "Things that are different are not the same". I hope everyone reading this will see that this statement is so true. In comparing verses, we must not say that they say the same thing when they do not. God wrote different words and different instructions to different people for a reason.
My eyes were opened about 30 years ago, to the truth of God's Word. This wonderful, glorious truth answered my questions and opened my eyes to the Word of God. It was so freeing to me! I was freed from all of the religious bondage I had been placed under. I was freed to know I could read the Bible for myself and that I did not need an interpreter. I was freed to believe the Bible means exactly what it says, and this truth made it possible for me to read with understanding the Word of God.
I pray the same for anyone who does not know this truth, that they will see that to be "approved unto God", they must "rightly divide the Word of truth".
Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:8-9:
8 "Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:...
Then he wrote in the same chapter that he prayed that our eyes would be enlightened to this truth and to the deep things of God.
17 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints..."
May God open the eyes of anyone who does not know these truths.
Grace Bible Church