Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 15 (2 Timothy 2:15)

Study to show thyself approved unto God - Endeavour so to cultivate and improve thy heart and mind, that thou mayest not be a reproach to him from whom thou professest to receive thy commission.

Rightly dividing the word of truth - It is generally supposed that the apostle alludes here to the care taken to divide the sacrifices under the law; the priests studied, in dividing the victim down the spine, to do it so scrupulously that one half of the spinal marrow should be found on each side the backbone. Probably nothing was much farther from the apostle's thoughts than this view, which is now commonly taken of the subject. Indeed this scrupulously dividing does not appear to have been any original ordinance among the Jews; much stress was laid upon it in later times, but from the beginning it was not so. The word ορθοτομειν signifies,

  1. Simply to cut straight, or to rectify.
  • To walk in the right way; it is thus used by Gregory Nazianzen, who, in Orat. Apol. fugae, opposes ορθοτομειν to κακως ὁδευειν , walking in a right way to walking in a bad way. Thus, καινοτομειν signifies to walk in a new way, and κατευθυνειν to walk in a straight way. See Kypke.
  • Therefore, by rightly dividing the word of truth, we are to understand his continuing in the true doctrine, and teaching that to every person; and, according to our Lord's simile, giving each his portion of meat in due season - milk to babes, strong meat to the full grown, comfort to the disconsolate, reproof to the irregular and careless; in a word, finding out the necessities of his hearers, and preaching so as to meet those necessities.

    - Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible