Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight – Part 12 – Rightly Dividing Spiritual Truth from Natural Truth
(ver 1.1) This is Part 12 in a very important Bible lesson series on Understanding How God Hides the Spiritual Truth in His Word in Plain Sight within words of Natural Truth. If you have not read the entire series I would recommend that you go back and begin with “Part 1“. But, this lesson will be a blessing by itself also. Today we are going to focus in on the specific requirement of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” in the Bible (2 Tim 2:15). Any serious Bible student must come to understand that there are differences between plain sight natural Bible truths and the hidden spiritual Bible truths written within them. Most Bible readers can easily find the natural truths by simply reading the plain text of the verses. For example, Abraham was called out of his homeland to live in a land that God would show him. Jacob had 12 sons from 4 different women. Moses delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt after 430 years. These are all plain literal natural facts of truth. However, the spiritual truths hidden in the exact same natural true stories are many times not easily connected to allow our human minds to see them much less understand them.
Today we will be focused on the specific subject of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth”. What it means, why we are told to do it and how it is extremely useful to finding God’s spiritual truth. I pray this peaks your curiosity and interest. We will be moving through this lesson using the follow outline:
- Introduction to Rightly Dividing God’s Word of Truth
- Analyzing the Details of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
- Introduction to the Examples of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
- Jesus Speaking Spiritual Words – Example 1
- Jesus Speaking Spiritual Words – Example 2
- Jesus Speaking Spiritual Words – Example 3
I will warn you at the beginning that this is a significantly long and very in-depth Bible teaching. We will go into a lot of scriptural detail about this subject. We also go into how the Holy Spirit teaches me to go through the scripture to learn His truth. This lesson may be a greater benefit if you break it down and study it in smaller sections. But, please study it however is best for the way the LORD teaches you. If you are ready to potentially see a new perspective on a challenging subject, then let’s get started.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING GOD’S WORD OF TRUTH
This Bible study series has been dedicated to teaching the methods of how God hid spiritual truth in the plain sight of every Bible reader or listener and how that it was and is still so easily misunderstood even today. God’s Word teaches us a new paradigm that there are varying levels of truth. For example God explains to us how natural truth can be overruled by our knowledge of a greater spiritual truth. For example, 2 Corinthians 5:2 God speaks and commands us “to walk by faith and not by sight”. This is a very clear example of two levels of truth. Walking by faith is a spiritual level of truth that will cause us to triumph over our natural level of facts, truths and circumstances (1 Jn 5:4) if we choose to obey and believe.
Remember back in Genesis 2 when God said to Adam “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for in the day you eat you shall surely die”. As we can read God spoke a truth to Adam that must be followed in order to live. That was one plainly spoken commandment of a warning truth given to Adam. Technically it is called a law in Romans 8:2. In this verse God declares to us “for the law of spirit and life in Christ Jesus sets me/us free from the law of sin and death”. Here we have two laws but one is of a much higher level of truth.
This truth of Romans 8:2 is further confirmed in 1 Corinthians 15:45 where God declares a fact that there are two men named Adam; one a natural man that caused us all to die and one who is Christ Jesus that can cause us all to live. Why are there two Adams? We learn this fact from reading Romans 5:14 that taught us that the first Adam was a type, model and pattern of Jesus the last Adam to come. Again we have the stated reality of a naturally understandable story of truth that contains hidden patterns of a much greater overcoming spiritual reality in the future. What we observe from this dual Adam truth is the fact that Jesus who is named to be the spiritual last Adam implements a spiritual law of life that triumphs over the first natural Adam’s initiation of a lesser natural law of sin and death. Can you begin to see the reality of God creating two simultaneous truths? I believe this is one of the primary introductory reasons why we are commanded to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). We have not been fully introduced to this verse in 2 Timothy 2:15 but we will get into it very soon. Wow, I hope this was not too deep of an introduction to the subject of rightly dividing the Word of Truth and what it means.
We must begin to learn to look for the greater spiritual truths, recognize them, extract them from natural truths and set a goal to understand them. I do not believe this means that we make up a spiritual truth in any way. Because, I believe that this process of finding spiritual truth begins by getting born again through the progress of repenting for our sins, believing in Jesus to be the risen Son of God, confessing Him as our personal Lord and allowing the Spirit of God to come inside us to lead us by His Spirit. The next step is to begin to read and study God’s Word daily with the Holy Spirit’s help. If you are not saved then please stop and pray to ask Jesus to forgive you and be your LORD and Savior. This begins the process of becoming a spirit aware (spiritual awake) human being and it is an essential requirement for understanding anything in the Word of God (Eph 5:14).
If you are already saved, stop right now and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth (John 16:13) and also pray for God to give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Eph 1:17). Pray this every day for the next few months and then open your Bible after each prayer every day and expect His Holy Spirit to begin to teach your spirit. Finally, in this process of learning to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” learn to understand that the Bible is a book with two parallel truth realities. First, know that the Bible is a book of great historical value, relevance and accuracy containing all of human history from the beginning to the prophetical ending that has not yet occurred. Now combine this book of natural truths containing real people, real events occurring in real places and learn that it also reveals to us hidden information of unseen and many times unknown spiritual beings great and small. Learn to know that this Great History Book of Truth is a parallel spiritual Book of Truth written by the Supreme All-Knowing Spirit to us His spiritual children (the church). It is essential to begin thinking this way because a single Bible story can have both natural truths of historical value combined with hidden past, present or future spiritual truths of greater importance like we just read about in the life of two Adams.
I believe very firmly that the Bible was God breathed and then it was written down by Holy Spirit led human men that were directed by Him to record it word for word (2 Tim 3:16). This Most Intelligent God in His merciful love gave us the Bible to read about, learn and understand Him. Yet in His wisdom, the Bible was designed in a manner where it concealed and hid Him and His spiritual truth in order to keep them from Satan and from humans that did not want to know Him. This method of hiding allows Him to reveal Himself and His truth to only His children at the right time when we choose to cooperate, search and find Him and them with ALL OF OUR HEART.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Please understand Hebrews 11:6 is one of the most important verses in the Bible. Why? You may ask? Because this verse explains that we are required to live by faith in order to please Him. This verse also teaches us that it is a requirement to believe God exists and rewards those that seek Him in order to find Him. Wow, this is one of the main reasons why God and His spiritual truth is hidden in the Bible. If you are an atheist you are never going to find God because you do not believe He exists. That is so very sad to me.
Rom 16:25 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,
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Gal 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
Gal 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I received a very concerning comment recently from a reader regarding another spiritual Bible lesson I wrote recently about “The Book of Life”. This commenter endeavored to inform me that what I was teaching was heretically wrong and inaccurate and that we should NEVER attempt to divide God’s Word. They tried to convince me that it was not necessary or even permitted to divide any of God’s words that were written or spoken in order for us to find and understand the whole truth that they contain. However, this rebuke denies the truths of Romans 16:25, Corinthian 2:7 and Galatians 1:11-12. Paul was claiming in the verses above that the truth that he learned was revealed to him by God and Paul was attempting to teach this mystery to the church. All of this reference to a revelation means there was an uncovering that occurred to understand it. The Greek word G602 translated as “revelation” means to disclose and it comes from the Greek word G601 “to uncover”. This will be repeated again in this lesson, please don’t let it slip from your mind.
I personally believe that this person that left me a comment did not understand the concept of what I believe “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” to represent. My belief of the definition of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” is searching, finding and discovering the differences between the plain visible natural and the hidden spiritual truths that are found within the exact same words. I have learned from the Spirit of God teaching me that there is the existence of simultaneous truth contained within the same written information. I understand that this may be a completely new concept and may turn off a lot of Christians that are spiritually new. That is a risk I take but, if you will be patient and keep reading, I believe the light will increase and grow brighter and a spiritual awaking will take place and you will say “Why didn’t I see that before now?”
My commenter made it sound like we should either ignore the verse that teaches us to divide God’s word rightly or attempt to explain it away to mean something other than what it literally instructs us to do. They chose to do the later and explain that it means something that it does not literally say. They believed that “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” was a figurative symbolic meaning that meant to teach verses accurately as truth. But, this does not line up with the scriptures that we just read about written from Paul and many other verses that we will read and learn very soon. Let’s read the verse in question and begin to study it for ourselves in this introduction. We will get into the detail of this verse later in the next section. Please read:
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I’ll attempt to give my commenter the benefit of a doubt that they did not fully understand what God meant by “rightly dividing the word of truth”. God is NOT saying for anyone to eliminate any of His words. God is NOT teaching that anyone should change any of the words. God is NOT teaching that we should ignore any of the words either. No, these are not what God is teaching by saying that His Word needs to be rightly divided. What I believe God is saying is that every verse of scripture has the potential for two separate and distinct parallel truths as was just introduced. I believe that one is a natural literal truth also called a human viewpoint and the other was a hidden spiritual truth also called a God or Divine viewpoint. As I have attempted to say before, this hidden spiritual truth can be revealed by the Spirit of God at His will to anyone at any time.
Haven’t you ever read a verse in the Bible that you have read potentially hundreds and hundreds of times and all of a sudden you say “WOW, I never saw that before”? If you have then you know exactly what I am trying to say about “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. The unseen truth was always there right in front of your eyes but the Spirit of God all of sudden made the words come alive, pop out and you saw something brand new that you had never imagined before. If you have never had this happen when reading the Bible that is a major problem and I would stop, pray and ask God why this has never happened. Perhaps if you do what I suggested earlier and pray Ephesians 1:17 over yourself then it will begin to happen and you too will see what the LORD can speak and show to those that are searching. I will praise God that He has done this to me more times than I can count. I am reading a verse or listening to the Bible on MP3 and all of sudden something just comes alive and I can even almost fall on the floor in amazement. I pray that you will find this experience very soon. If you will allow God to work this way you will never be the same about reading and studying the Bible. There is by far more in the Bible that we do not know or understand than what we think we do know and understand at this moment.
I believe my commenter was attempting to convince me that Bible teachers and even students should only look up the words found in the verse using a concordance like Strong’s and an original language dictionary like Vine’s to understand what was actually said by God. I will need to stop here and say I agree with this method and I follow it consistently. But, I believe that this commenter was implying by giving me this instruction that there was NO other information sources or methods that God could use to reveal His meanings including His Spirit speaking directly to us to reveal something that is needed at that moment. I just refuse to put God in a limited box of books, rules, resources or methods. I believe we should be open to hear God from whatever method He wants to teach and speak to us, either personally or through someone else that He has already answered the questions that we asked Him to show us. I don’t know how many people that have come to my Bible Teaching Website and told me they prayed and asked God for an answer to their question and they found it on my website and thanked me. That is not me, it was the Holy Spirit and He alone deserves the glory, thanks and praise.
My commenter’s limited method of Bible study assumes that there are no new hidden meanings to any of the Words that God spoken in the Bible that hasn’t already been revealed. They also appear to imply that these men that wrote these limited books (commentaries, concordances and dictionaries) had all of the information that is required to fully understand all of the verses in the whole Bible. This type of attitude denies man’s limitation to fully comprehend and remember everything and God’s omniscient ability to teach us more of what He knows. God has the ability to speak something brand new to us at any moment. Do you believe God is silent today? If yes, why does the Bible say “My Sheep hear my voice”. Are you His sheep? If you believe you are then, ask why aren’t you hearing His voice? Do you believe that God has fully revealed everything about Himself or His Word to anyone yet? If you do then ask why does Jesus say “If you continue in my Word, then you will be my disciple and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
Please allow me to ask some other questions. Do you personally know and understand the entire Bible? Do you know any human that personally knows and understands the entire Bible? I’ll be the first to say that I only know God to be omniscient (all knowing) and He is the only one that I believe knows and understands the entire Bible. I believe that the things that He has taught me personally are few compared to what there is still yet to learn. He is still teaching me new things every day. I believe that there is an infinite amount of information contained in Him and in His Holy Bible. If we studied the Bible continually except when we were sleeping we would still never come close to knowing and understanding everything that God knows about this book. One of my main points is that why would we limit our Bible studying methods to only a few basic reference books created by a few imperfect human men that didn’t know everything? Can’t God give us new revelation of His Truth some other ways? Let’s get into the Bible now and read what God said about our ability to find the truth and His timing to reveal it:
Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This verse can be viewed as one of the foundational verses of the entire lesson series. Please consider this truth that according to Daniel 12:4 God declared that His Words found in this book of the Bible would be “shut up”. God then goes further to say that this entire book would be “sealed” until the time of the end when many humans will go to and fro across the earth. God further describes the timing for the unsealing occurrence to be when there is a noticeable “increase in human knowledge”. This is an awesome statement. God teaches us a significant amount of information in this verse. First, the Hebrew word H5640 translated as “shut up” means to “keep secret or hidden. Within this Hebrew word definition God informs us that there are potentially many things written here in these words that you can’t see until the prophesied time at the end of the age. Wow, that should shake your foundation of Biblical knowledge. This truth alone confirms that there is coming a time of unveiling and uncovering of hidden words that have been in plain view for everyone to read for thousands of years.
Also note that the prophesied time is clearly given when many will be traveling to and fro and knowledge is dramatically increasing. These are two things that have never happened before until the last 100 years of human history. The invention of space crafts, trains, planes and automobiles fulfills the first requirement and the invention of smart phones, tablets, computers and the internet clearly fulfills the second requirement. Please wake up and see this prophecy is being fulfilled only right now! This verse very clearly states that the previous understanding of these written words must change from what was understood 125 years ago and before.
The Hebrew word H2856 translated as “seal” just further confirms the Hebrew word H5640 translated as “shut up”. Both are synonyms terms meaning “to cover”. Ask this question “How then is it possible for God to cover by shutting up and sealing words that are clearly written down in a known language that has not changed in thousands of years? “ Were these words written in coded form? Were these words unreadable? Were these words hidden or restricted from anyone reading them? The answer to these questions are all “NO!” Therefore there must be another reasonable and logical explanation to how truths are being hidden by God in plain view words. The answer to this mystery is learning how God implemented Spiritual Truth hiding techniques that allowed Him to open them up and take the coverings off of the natural words that are and were always clearly readable. This is why I call this Bible study series “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight”.
I wish to make an additional point upfront in this lesson that you may or may not be aware of. The Strong’s Concordance and the Vine’s Dictionary are NOT DIVINELY INSPIRED WRITTEN WORDS! The Strong’s Concordance was first published in 1890 over 125 years ago. Uh oh that was way before the invention of the airplane and the computer. The Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words was first published in 1940 over 75 years ago and this too is before the full emergence of knowledge increase during the end time age fulfillment.
The birth of the early computer was around 1943. The introduction of the personal computer was not to occur until after 1977 when early storage devices were being introduced for everyone to potentially own and use one. I think I bought my first PC with a hard drive in the late 1980’s and it only contained about 20 megabytes of storage. But, again the technology was so early that the power and reliability of these PCs, software and hard drives were very failure prone. Then there was no internet widely available until after 1990 for the average computer geek like me. In fact the internet we see today did not explode until the later years of the 1990’s. If we get closer to the root it was 1998 when Google was founded and began to place large amounts of data for anyone to search, find and read that information and knowledge increase very exponentially to begin to fulfill the Daniel 12:4 requirements. Therefore please understand while I love both the Strong’s and Vine’s books and others like them as helpful Bible study tools, only the original Hebrew and Greek Bible Text Scripture writing was God breathed (2 Tim 3:16) and since neither were written when the Daniel 12:4 prophecy timeline fulfillment there must be new revealed information being given by God that they do not contain.
I’ll go even further to say that there is NO Bible translation that is totally free from errors. Bible translations are books written in an imperfect world, written down and being translated by limited knowledge imperfect humans. I have found what appear to be several glaring mistakes that are based upon religious human opinions that originate widely from manmade religious doctrines of churches. Therefore, all Bible translations, commentaries, concordances and dictionaries contain some imperfect human bias, yet God can still speak to us through any of them. Therefore, I’m not saying not to use any of them at all, but I am saying not to accept everything that is written in them automatically. No do what 2 Timothy 2:15 says and choose to work hard and “STUDY” the Bible. And like Acts 17:11 instructs us, become an open minded spiritual Word student that is a diligent, dedicated and thoughtful “WORKMAN” that needs not to be ashamed because we are verifying every word of truth being taught to us. Let’s read another verse that further helps to confirm that God’s Spiritual Truth was hidden:
Joh 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
We should be able to see that these words spoken by the LORD Jesus have tremendous implications attached to them. Jesus was speaking directly to religious men that read the scriptures continually day after day, month after month and year after year. When they read the O.T. they could see that these were scriptures with words that described 1) creation, 2) the stories of all of their natural ancestral history originating with Adam, continuing with Noah and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc. and 3) the laws that were given to them through Moses. I know there are other things in their writings but can we all agree on these basic literal natural truths?
But, it is obvious by reading the Gospels that these religious leaders being spoken to by Jesus never saw Jesus in any of the divinely inspired words after all of their time of reading them and hearing them read! I mean think about it! These natural religious men knew the Hebrew language extensively, spoke the Hebrew language, wrote in the Hebrew language and read the Hebrew language. None of these men had to look up any words in any translation dictionaries, commentaries or other books to learn what they said. Can you see this? Why then was Jesus asking them to search to see something that they had never seen before in their own original Hebrew language divinely inspired writings?
How could there be anything new that they had never seen before in this original Hebrew language? Are you thinking and attempting to answer the questions that I just asked? What made these written Hebrew Words say something about Jesus that could not be seen easily and had to be searched for? Wow, I think that is amazing truth. There had to be someone (and I believe it was God) that concealed Jesus in the writings by His design in order for Jesus not to be seen easily and which required someone to search for Him! Is Jesus the TRUTH? According to John 14:6 Jesus personally claimed to be the TRUTH. Therefore, Jesus was claiming that THE TRUTH (JESUS) was hidden in their Hebrew writings and in order to find Him (The Truth) they needed to search for Him (The Truth). This is a basic Bible concept and unless you embrace it you can be easily deceived by Satan.
The Greek word translated as “search” is G2045 and it means “to seek” and figuratively to “investigate”. This implies the effort of labor to find something that is also implied to be taken, lost or hidden. We learn from this word to become a “Sherlock Holmes” type of Word detective. If you have ever misplaced your wallet, purse or your car keys and have had to look, seek and search to find them then you have done exactly what Jesus in this verse is stating. Why was it required to “search” the scriptures again to find Him (The Truth)? This is truly a mystery to naturally thinking humans who think we can see Him without effort by just looking up word definitions. It did not work for men who actually knew the language of Hebrew so what makes you think it will work for you? Let’s examine another verse:
Pro 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
The verse spoken by Jesus in John 5:39 matches with what we can read here in Proverbs 25:2 perfectly. If you read it closely God says in Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the honor of kings to search the matter out”. What we learn from John 5:39 spoken by Jesus who also spoke and read in Hebrew can literally mean that He was hidden in the stories of real living historical human beings, their true life events and the words of their law. The only way that this is possible is if the natural real words of truth were designed by God the author to cover over a hidden double meaning containing the equal or greater spiritual words of truth about Jesus. If we don’t know that this is true we will never understand the Bible no matter how much we look up definitions in a dictionary.
Let us read and study a view of some of the Proverbs 25:2 details. The Hebrew Words translated as “hide” is H5641 and it literally means “to conceal something by covering” it. Wow, that is an amazingly essential truth concept! Now notice the Hebrew word H2713 that was translated as “search out”. This Hebrew word literally means to “penetrate”. One great definition of the word “penetrate” means to “succeed in understanding or gaining insight into something complex or mysterious”. Wow that is exactly what God is trying to teach us to do today. Remember Paul claimed to be teaching a “mystery” that was “uncovered” to him! God places covering protections over His words for us to go underneath the covers to discover the intended hidden spiritual truths.
I’m not done yet with this verse in Proverbs. The next Hebrew Word that I want us to focus upon is the one that was translated as “matter” at the end of the verse. By not looking up H1697 we are going to miss the real meaning of what was being concealed for kings to search for. This Hebrew word that was poorly translated literally means “Word”. It is used this way in other O.T. verses where it can say “Behold, the Word (H1697) of the LORD came…” (Gen 15:4). Is the Bible the Word of the LORD? If we do not believe that it is, we have been deceived. God is very plainly stating that He speaks His Words in a covered up form for humans to penetrate and uncover in order to understand.
However, I am still not done yet with this verse. If we go through every Hebrew word we will find the translators made other misleading translations. For example, the English word “thing” that was included in the statement about the glory of God to conceal is the exact same Hebrew word that was translated as “matter” and still means “Word”. This is amazing if you wake up and see the truth being stated.
The next important facts that need to be linked into our study are the two words translated as “glory” and “honor”. These two English words originate from the exact same Hebrew word (H3519). Why they were translated differently is for some unknown illogical reason that I cannot explain fully. I believe things like this are potential major problems found within all Bible translations. Of course I understand subject transition within the context. One usage of the Hebrew word is used in context to describe God and one usage of the same Hebrew word is used to describe God’s creation man. But, why does it make sense in this subject context to change God’s description to “glory” and man’s description to “honor”? Does a man not have a very similar image quality of God his creator? Was not man made in the “image” and “likeness” of God in Genesis?
You see if we study the Hebrew word “H3519” we will find that it occurs in 189 verses. It is first used in the Bible to describe a man named Jacob in Genesis 31:1. Here it is used to describe Jacob taking glory away from Laban. That is interesting since the translators actually translated it this time as “glory” and not as “honor”. In other places in the Bible it was used to describe the “glory” of the LORD. There are around 41 verses where the word was translated as “honor”. If you read in Malachi 1:6 the word “honor” is used as a question from the LORD asking “where is my honor?” Why were translators so very inconsistent when it was translated to describe God or man one way or the other?
If you look up the definitions of the two English words they are very synonymous like terms but they still carry slight differences. Glory is defined as “high renown won by great achievements”. That is certainly a very valid quality describing God. Glory can also mean “magnificence or great beauty” and that too aligns with descriptions of God. But, glory can also be used to describe “praise, worship and thanksgiving offered to God”. The English word “honor” is defined as giving someone “great respect and esteem”. Well that certainly describes a quality of God also. However, the word honor is used mostly when describing humans and the word “glory” is used mostly to describe God. But, like I said there are exceptions to both of these rules. This is just a small sampling of why I struggle with many English translations. We could literally spend days on this detail studying every verse where this Hebrew word was selected by God and attempt to clarify why one was translated one way and not the other.
I’m going to go through another problem just to teach another point on Bible study techniques. If you search the Strong’s dictionary with your computer you will find that the word “honor” is found literally in 12 different Hebrew word definitions. Perhaps you didn’t understand what I just said so I’m going to say it again differently. There are12 different Strong Hebrew words that can be translated as the word “honor”. In many of these Hebrew words there is also included the word “glory” in the definition. Why didn’t God use one of these words instead of H3519? I sure would like to understand this more. But, I know I am losing a lot of people with this level of detail so we will move on.
The main point being given here is that by reading only the English translation we may potentially fail to learn God’s intended purpose of His message. God is much smarter than us. If He selects a word in a verse there is a purpose, a design and a meaning behind it. He could have selected a different word if He wanted to say something other than what He said.
My concluding statement for Proverbs 25:2 is that I believe that it should read “It is the Glory of God to conceal (place under the covers) His Words, but the glory of kings (to penetrate the covers) to search out His words”. You are free to disagree if you like but that is what I believe the words say and what the LORD showed me. If you are a greater Hebrew expert I would appreciate learning your wisdom in this translation matter, so please leave me a comment.
That was a very long introduction to the subject of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” and why God’s words must be separated between plainly written natural truths and hidden spiritual truths. Let’s continue our study with learning greater detail of the verse in question.
ANALYZING the DETAILS of
RIGHTLY DIVIDING the WORD of TRUTH
Let’s dive much deeper in the Word of God to learn and better understand what “rightly divide” means in 2 Timothy 2:15. We will begin by reading the verse from the KJV Bible:
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I want to begin by focusing in on the key Greek word G3718 that I believe was correctly translated as “rightly divide” when it was connected with “the Word of Truth”. It is very important to understand that this is the only time this Greek word is used in the entire Bible text. This makes a correct interpretation of its usage significantly more challenging. Since we are unable to view other usages and their application and usage. Therefore, we must dig deeper into other possible connections to better comprehend God’s truth. In order to learn what this Greek word was intended to mean and how God desired us to see it used in the sentence we are going to read the definition first and learn what root words that it was derived from and dig to learn how they are used in other verses. Let us read the actual Strong’s definition:
From a compound of G3717 and the base of G5114; to make a straight cut, that is, (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message): – rightly divide.
This is our main keyword focused upon in this verse 2 Tim 2:15 and it was translated as “rightly divide”. This is the controversial phrase that some read in definitions to mean “to handle accurately and deliver correctly”. While that can be a figurative meaning according to Strong’s and Vine’s, that is NOT what the literal Greek Word means at all. There is a basic rule of interpretation that I like to apply in many cases of interpreting Bible verses. I’ll give you the rule, please read it and consider what is stated:
“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” –Dr. David L. Cooper (1886-1965), founder of The Biblical Research Society
Did you understand this golden rule of correct Bible interpretation? I believe it does apply to our study. This will become clearer as we continue the study of the word definitions given to us by Strong’s. I would like to point out from this stated rule of interpretation we are advised to take the word literally unless we cannot do this based upon 2 mitigating factors that cause our literal interpretation to fail or come short. These determining factors are based upon what does the context say and how was it used in other passages of the Bible. We will probably not be able to fully discuss context but you are welcome to read it and form your own decision. But, from what I observed every word spoken in this chapter should be taken literally. I also want to point out that this is a Greek word that is only used in this one verse. Therefore there are no other verses of the entire N.T. to compare its usage with.
I want to say that I read many modern translations of this verse. Many modern translations of the Bible depart from literal word meanings to change the message to an interpretative belief of what they think that the message was intended to say. The choice of translation of this Greek Word was about 50/50. Some Bibles translated it in a figurative interpretation as “handling accurately”, “teaching correctly” or similar phrasing and others translated it as the literal Greek meaning of “rightly divide” or one version even said “cutting in a straight line”.
I am a lover of “Literal Bible Translations” if you did not realize this yet. I believe with all of my heart that God chose specific words with direct meanings in every verse by design. Because of His superior intellect and omniscient all-knowing knowledge of every word and their meanings I believe we should first attempt to believe that He knew what He wanted to say and meant it. Therefore, when the literal word means something specifically then we should do the best to see if that was what He wanted us to know first. Only if that literal definition absolutely does not make sense do we then attempt to look for a “figurative” application from the literal word definition.
I’ll give you a quick example. We have in Revelation 12:1 a pregnant woman clothed with the sun, standing on the moon crowned with a crown containing 12 stars. That is the literal definition description of the verse, but clearly that cannot be taken literally. It just can’t be understood as being literal because it is physically impossible. Therefore we are now free to research the figurative symbolic meanings of each of these stated truths 1) a woman, 2) the sun, 3) the moon, 4) a crown and 5) the stars. I pray you understand these very valid rules of interpretations.
Due to the time factor and an ever expanding lesson length, I just can’t go into the full detail of every verse in context. But, I will try to address the preceding verse to address the message content and information direction and flow.
2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
I am also not going to go into great detail on this preceding contextual verse but, we should be able to clearly read that it is about preaching and sharing the Word of God with others. I want to begin with the first and last statements to confirm this is about ministering the Bible to disciples of the Word. It should be obvious that the verse begins with “put them in remembrance”. This indicates two truths that 1) they have heard it before and 2) someone is preaching so that they can be reminded of it again. Therefore what is being referenced is a message from God that is not a new teaching of the Word. The verse then ends with “the subverting of the hearers”. The word translated as “hearers” indicate there is an audience listening to the implied preacher or teacher of the Word of God. The Greek translated as “subverting” means “to turn upside down”. Clearly this is a warning not to do what is stated in the middle part of the instruction.
What is the middle instruction? The middle is about “they strive not about words to no profit”. This appears to go along with what is stated in the next verse about “rightly divide the Word”. It also appears to be in harmony with what we will learn shortly about meaningless carnal non-working spoken words versus words that produce results. Keep this in mind as you continue to read and we will address this subject in more detail.
I believe this statement requesting us not to strive (fight, argue, debate, etc.) to mean there are right ways and wrong ways to view the exact same Words of God so that if we just argue and debate about what they mean then it is a waste of a lot of our time. If there are words that can be argued and debated then there are at least two different perspective views, definitions or meanings of the words that must be considered and “divided correctly” to be understood. Do you understand my logic here? This is just basic common sense to me. Let’s get back to our detail study on the Greek word G3718 which was translated as “rightly divide” in the KJV Bible.
We have talked about several important things since we last read the definition of G3718 translated as “rightly divide” so please go back up a few paragraphs and reread it again. This is a really good definition with at least one potential challenge that I just introduced you to. Strong begins by providing us the “literal Greek Word meaning” first and this is great. But, then he gives us a potential alternative “figurative meaning” and this is where it becomes more challenging since we have no other scriptures to compare it with. I personally struggle many times with making one word in the entire verse or chapter a “symbolic” or “figurative” representation of truth when every other word appears to be a literal meaning. It seems to me that this type of interpretation may cause the Bible become very independent from God, opinionated and scattered with personal human bias.
The Greek word (G3718) literally means “to make a straight cut”. I believe this is like cutting a loaf of bread into slices using a very sharp knife. I use this analogy because the Word of God is likened to be bread in Matthew 4:4. Bread cannot be consumed whole if it is as large of a loaf of bread as the Bible is. Therefore, the fact that Jesus compared the Word of God to be like bread implied that it needed to be cut into smaller easier to swallow and digestible pieces in order to enter inside us and do its work. I thought that was a great suggestion that I just tried to make. Please don’t attempt to swallow the entire Bible at once to understand it instantly. Take in the Bible basics one subject at a time and then only after you understand these move to the more challenging subjects. There was no extra charge for that bit of wisdom. Ha ha!
We also learn that this Greek word comes from a combination of two other Greek words G3717 and G5114. So now we need to go through their definitions and occurrences in the Bible to better understand the word G3718 (rightly divide).
Probably from the base of G3735; right (as rising), that is, (perpendicularly) erect (figuratively honest), or (horizontally) level or direct: – straight, upright.
The first Greek word G3717 is defined to be “right as rising and perpendicularly erect” and it was translated as “upright” or “straight” in the English language. It can mean someone who was previously horizontally reclining and rises to become perpendicularly erect as in standing up straight on their feet. It is used this exact way in Acts 14:10 where Paul looks at a reclining lame man and commands him to stand upright on his feet and he was healed. Therefore we learn the idea of someone “rising” to be straight up on their feet. In Hebrews 12:13 God used this word as “And make straight paths for your feet…”. This Greek word is only used twice in the N.T. and was translated literally as standing up vertically once and figuratively as walking horizontally in a “straight” line the next time. Therefore it can be literal or figurative in usage and be valid, but I do not believe that this provides us much light to which one it is supposed to be viewed as in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Ok, I want to introduce another potential comparison and likeness here based upon the definition of G3717. Remember the literal definition is to be “right as rising”. This Greek word comes from the base of another word that means “to rise”. What does the sun do every morning? We say it rises. At noon day the sun is as high or erect in the sky as it will get and then it begins to descend and set. The rising of the sun is exactly the same concept being related in the Greek word G3717.
I find that concept fascinating based upon my knowledge of other verses in the Bible about the sun. For example, Jesus is described to be the figurative rising sun in Malachi 4:2 and 2 Peter 1:19. I think we should read both of these verses:
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Ok, why did I include these verses? Did you notice that these verses apply to Christian people that were awaiting the spiritual rising (dawn) of the spiritual day star (Sun) also known as Jesus in their spiritual heart? Could this play a role in us “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”? I believe with all of my heart that it does. You see in the N.T. we learn that unsaved people live in darkness without the Spirit of Jesus (1 Peter 2:9). By inviting Jesus to come into our hearts (spirits) God is permitted to shine His light of Jesus and this Sun will begin to arise. We as the real Christians of the LORD that fear the LORD should all now be in the condition of no longer being in darkness (not understanding the Word) and should now all be found in growing stages of hopefully increasing light (understanding God’s Word). Maybe you still don’t see it?
I believe God is teaching us this is how we grow spiritually to become someone that is able to “rightly divide the Word of Truth”. You see no new-born Christian is able to rightly divide very much of the Bible much less the entire Word correctly because the Day Star has just begun to dawn (give light/understanding) in their heart. In other words their spiritual day light of awakening has just begun to be activated. A more mature Christian hopefully knows more of the Bible through study and has a greater rising amount of light (understanding) of God’s word in their hearts and can possibly even explain parts of the Bible to others. I pray this is making sense. You see Paul reveals this concept to us by stating this to the church:
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
This is a very similar analogy given to us by God of rightly dividing the Word of Truth using a different word analogy description. The author teaches us using a comparison of natural human growth to be like that of spiritual growth. In this analogy we are informed concerning people that should be spiritually mature enough to be teachers but still need to be taught the basics of God’s Word. God informs us that this like babies sucking breast milk that need to grow mature enough to eventually learn to feed them self.
Milk Bible lessons are for the very carnal Bible basics that a spiritual baby and child should be able to begin to understand. Meat Bible lessons are the more advanced spiritual information that only a maturing Christian skilled with the basics is intended to be capable of receiving. Notice the Greek word G552 in this verse translated as “unskillful” It is clear that God is talking about someone who does not understand the Word of righteousness. This Greek word G552 literally means to be “ignorant” of spiritual things and it comes from the combination of the words G1 and G3984. G1 combined with G3984 makes the combined Greek word G552 the negative of the word G3984. But what does G3984 mean? The Greek word G3984 means literally to “pierce”. Uh oh? I think we have talked about this before. So the opposite of “to pierce” means “covered or unable to be pierced”. Do you realize the awesome connections being made here? How do you pierce something? It takes a sharp knife, sword or cutting instrument like a scalpel to get beneath the outer layer cover.
I didn’t create these analogies they were what God said in His Word that we just read. God uses more than one way to describe the same spiritual truth so that we can eventually understand it. God has been using a clear sword analogy that when used correctly pierces to uncover the truth and a rising sun analogy that that begins dimly but then increases in brightness as it continues to arise to find the truth. It amazes me how much of the naturally created universe all around us reveals hidden spiritual principles of hidden spiritual things in God.
The ability to rightly divide is a process that is a process of spiritual growth that is supposed to be learned from continuous study of God’s Word. It is clear to me that no Christian can do this perfectly since no one is fully mature and knows everything. It is also clear to me that we can all get better at rightly dividing the Word of Truth as we continue to learn more of God’s actual spiritual truth.
Do remember what Psalm 119:130 says? God in Psalm 119:130 informs us “the entrance of thy Word brings light”. Also the Hebrew word translated as “entrance” in this verse means “opening”. Do you recall what we learned from Proverbs 25:2? I’ll say it again to connect it with what we are learning now. “It is the glory of God to conceal (cover over) His words and the glory of kings to search (penetrate or pierce the cover of ) His words. Penetrating and piercing are synonymous terms that causes an opening to be produced. Wow, I hope you are getting the connections. How do you get beneath the cover? You allow God to help you find or make the opening.
Let’s go back to our study on G3718 from 2 Tim 2:15 and move on to the second Greek word G5114 that was joined in union with G3717 to form the English translation “rightly dividing”.
to cut; more comprehensive or decisive than G2875, as if by a single stroke; whereas that implies repeated blows, like hacking); more keen: – sharper.
The Greek Word G5114 that was combined with “rising” or “to stand straight up” word (G3717) literally means “to make a decisive single cut”. It is not the same as the Greek word G2875 mentioned in the definition that also means to “cut” but this word is cutting something utilizing repeated blows as in hacking or chopping a big tree down with an axe. I watched a World War II report of Japanese prisoner of war camp survivors for Memorial Day. On this program a former prisoner of war told of his horrifying experiences of how the prison commandant would randomly select prisoners to be executed. He would tie their hands and make them kneel and then get his very sharp sword out and cut their heads off with one powerful straight swing. This act was demonstrating what this Greek word G5114 meant. It only required one sharp blow to remove the head from the body. Sorry if that was too graphic but that is what the Greek word literally means.
This is a Greek word that is only used one time in the entire N.T. and it is only found in Hebrews 4:12 and was translated there as “sharper” as an implied sword. Clearly in this verse G5114 is being compared with the concept of other “double-edged swords” that are not the Word of God. Let’ us read the verse and dig:
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
This verse contains an amazing amount of spiritual information. Notice the primary subject of the beginning statement is the “Word of God”. Isn’t that a coincident? No, it is not! God’s Word does not contain coincidences of chance occurrences or accidental happenstance. The Word of God was masterfully and amazingly designed to give us all a chance at learning the deepest spiritual truth without forcing us. In other words the design of the Word of God was to provide enough information to allow us to search and find the greater spiritual truth but consistently allowing/permitting us to reject the truth by our own freewill choice of not believing it.
The following statement going past the introduction subject “Word of God” is a description of what it is. The word that was translated as “quick” simply means “alive” and “living”. This definition implies that there are other types of words in existence that oppose God’s word that are “dead”. Dead or non-living words are what we were born into in this natural world. But, I am not going into that in this lesson, but this is what I was referring to earlier as “non-working spoken words” and we will learn how this fits in with the next Greek word description next.
Then the next Greek word translated as “powerful” is G1756 and it literally means “active”, “effectual” or “operative”. In fact this word comes from two root words of G1722 and G2041. G1722 means “to be moving” and G21722 means to be “working”. Wow, this is really deep and I can’t go into everything. But, this means God’s word is capable of accomplishing what it was sent to do. Perhaps you remember Isaiah 55:11? In this verse God is speaking about His Word “declaring that it will not return to him void but says it will accomplish what it was sent to do”.
Perhaps you also remember Psalm 107:20 where God said “He sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction”. I pray that you receive this for what it is saying. God’s Word works and does what He sent it for. However, this description implies that there are words spoken not from God that are non-working and ineffective. Again this is another way of saying “dead”. We confirm this truth by reading Matthew 12:43 when Jesus says “Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account of them in the day of judgment”. Wow, the Greek word translated as “idle” literally means to be a “non-working” word. This could certainly imply “dead”, “non-productive”, “non-active”, etc.
We could probably write a book on just this verse alone. But, one of the main points is that there are at least two types of realities being compared in this verse. One type is an inferior natural reality and one is a greater spiritual reality that overrules the natural. If you question that last statements accuracy just read the rest of the verse. First, is the Word of God coming from His mouth and is named to be “sharper” and is compared to any other double-edged sword (mouth). Next, there is the dividing of the 1) “soul” and “spirit” in conjunction with the 2) “joints” and “marrow”. Notice that the soul and spirit are found in the spiritual realm followed by the lesser “joints” and “marrow” found in the natural realm. This is God’s way of giving us clues to how to rightly divide the Word of Truth. He is saying His word rightly “pierced” will cut away every other opposing non-living word.
It is NOT a coincidence that the LORD GOD placed these words in this verse about His Word. G5114 translated as “sharper” but literally means “to cut”. The Greek word G1338 translated as “piercing” and it literally means “to penetrate”. The Greek word G3311 which was translated as “dividing asunder” and literally means “a separation” and it comes from the root word that means “to make a difference by parting”. Then there is the Greek Word G3162 that was translated as “sword” but literally means “a knife” which represents a cutting instrument. I mean come on and see what God is doing here. God just connected in His word 2 verses with His selection of words chosen to reveal a process of cutting, division, dividing between spiritual things and natural things? Do you think that we need to apply this to 2 Timothy 2:15? I certainly believe we do.
Here is where we begin to confirm that natural human words are inferior non-working wrongly spoken words. It is these types of words that are at war against the Spirit and Word of God. I pray you are receiving what I am teaching. Read Romans 8:7 and this may help. In Romans 8:7 God says “The carnal mind is enmity against God”. Where do inferior non-working words come from? The answer is from carnal thinking people. I try to tell people this often, not everything that you think should be spoken (Mat 6:31). According to the Bible our minds must be renewed with the Word of God (Rom 12:2). This renewal is a process of transformation that removes carnal natural dominance from our thinking mind that drives our wrong words and actions and replaces it over time with God’s spiritual Word and ways.
If you are not “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” it is because of carnal thinking. This is the main reason why unsaved people don’t get very much of anything from reading the Bible. This is the main reason why newly born baby Christians get very little from the Word of God. The greater the lack of knowledge of the real truth in the Bible permits Satan to keep his blinders on the parts of your mind and thinking that God is trying to teach you.
If you choose to pursue the truth of the Word of God with all of your heart and refuse to premit the plans of the enemy to steal it from you, then you will be on the path to victory. Start reading the Bible daily. But, not just that “speak the word of God as you read”. This verbal sword coming out of your mouth will eventually cut through Satan’s blindness covering your heart. It is the penetration of the Word of God into your spirit that will put God’s Word and power into effect to produce life, health, fruit, blessings, etc.
I have come to the belief that this term translated as “Rightly Dividing” is a literal truth. I have seen enough evidence that supports this belief to understand how important that it is to allow the Spirit of God and the Word of God to be viewed and understood from His viewpoint. We will be moving into Bible examples of this and there are so many that it is impossible to include them all in this lesson.
I probably lost a lot of readers with all of this attention to detail. Many of the carnally minded people reading the lesson have no real clue what I am talking about and why it is important. If you are one of these that believe this is worthless nonsense but you are still hungry to learn the truth, please don’t throw this in the trash. Just keep reading it and studying it over and over and over until it registers (pierces, cuts and penetrates into your heart).
INTRODUCTION TO RIGHTLY DIVIDING
GOD’S WORD EXAMPLES
We are going to be introduced to the fact that there are literally many examples given to us in the Bible that were provided by God to demonstrate the great need for the principles of people hearing the Word of God being spoken and still not understanding it correctly because they did not “rightly divide” what was spoken to them. Again what I mean by that statement is that they did not attempt to adjust and turn away from their human point of view to see what God’s point of view was for the words that were said. Let’s begin with this section with this verse:
Mat 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
There are at least 11 times in the Gospels where it is recorded that Jesus spoke these exact words or very similar to people on the earth. There are 5 times in Matthew, 4 times in Mark and 2 times in Luke. These words were spoken to mostly to unsaved Jewish people in the Gospels but they are repeated again in Revelation with Jesus speaking directly to the saved people in the churches. This teaches us that the problem still existed even after salvation’s new birth. That was very important what I just said, so please don’t ignore it.
Why would Jesus speak these easily understandable words to people that all obviously had the physical ears to hear Him? If we take the statement literally Jesus appears to be either ignorant or stupid and I know He is neither. Therefore, we must realize that we are the ones that need enlightenment to understand these words correctly. Jesus must be speaking of something that is by far of greater value than just having natural ears to hear naturally spoken words. It could be that He is speaking of paying attention, listening closely and trying to understand and I believe these are all applicable ways to interpret the statement. In other words all of that can be true even though it was not directly stated in the message. This would be one human attempt to explain it as a “figurative” interpretation of the words.
It is interesting to note that there are only 3 different Greek words in the entire verse. These are G2192, G3775 and G191. G191 translated as “hear” is twice at the end of the verse. The first Greek word G2192 is popularly translated as “has, had, hath, have, etc.”. The second Greek word G 3775 literally means “ears” but Strong points out that these ears can be either physical or mental. I’d like to suggest that there is another ear type found or at least implied within the spiritual realm. For example, Luke 16 when Jesus tells us of the rich man that dies and goes to hell where he still speaks and hears the words spoken to him by Abraham and neither had a physical body. Wow, that should change a lot of religious thinking. The last word G191 repeated in succession literally means “to hear” but again Strong adds an alternative word meaning to be a figurative mental capacity to “understand”. Even men like Strong who studied the Bible 125 years ago could understand that one word can mean multiple things simultaneously and it was up to us to determine the correct meaning with the LORD’s help of course.
What I am confirming again is the potential for spiritual word meanings to occur in the Bible simultaneously with natural word meanings. I have found that there is a higher spiritual way to look at most of the statements of Jesus in the Bible. When we shift to think more in line with God then I believe that this is a wiser attempt to view the words spiritually instead of just using our natural human understanding of the words. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. We can take anything to an extreme position of error including over spiritualizing every verse and every word. That is not what I am teaching you. What I am trying to say is to just be open if the Spirit of God desires to reveal something spiritual that you may not be aware of yet.
When Jesus Christ was the speaker men not knowing who Jesus really was, thought that He was just speaking like they did every day to their friends. We must understand that Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:1-14). Then we must understand that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Our Creator the Spirit of God was manifested in the flesh to die for our sins. If we know and believe this then we must understand that He is a much higher spiritual thinker and speaker than we could possibly imagine (Isa 55:9).
I am a very firm believer from many years of Bible study that in the Gospels when Jesus was speaking to people and answering their natural questions that He was normally speaking way over their carnal thinking brain and answering them with a greater spiritual understanding that they could not comprehend fully. Most of the time the disciples heard all of the words but did not take them into their mind or spirit the way they were spoken but rather they heard them the way they were thinking that He was speaking. This is why I believe that Jesus told His disciples repeatedly “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”. Why was this? Jesus actually told us that this was prophesied to occur:
Mat 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Here is the prophecy given by Isaiah the prophet concerning the people that were alive during the days when Jesus was physically present on the earth. However, I still see this happening everywhere even in churches. How is this possible that Words can be spoken and some perceive and understand and others do not? God seems to give us some clues to understanding what is going on in the Bible. For example read this verse:
Act 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
From reading this prophecy it appears that it is a human choice how we want to listen. God declares “Their eyes they have closed”. The Spirit of the LORD is teaching us that humans have a choice. Remember what the LORD said in Deuteronomy 30:19? “I have set before you; life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life that you and your seed may live”. God has given to men a right to decide and many people have made the wrong choices. I know I did in my life and you probably have also. When we finally come to our senses like the prodigal son and turn back to our loving Father God our life can begin to change and our mind can be renewed. However, Jesus still warned us that many will never turn:
Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
We can choose to love the light or the darkness. Those who love the darkness will be unable to see or understand the spiritual light of God’s Word. Psalms affirms this:
Psa 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
God is giving us some significant clues why the spiritual truth of the light of His word is not able to be seen by many humans and even Christians. Choose to love Light. Ask God for Light. Ask Him to increase your ability to see and understand His light. Pray and ask Him to help you not close your eyes to His light. It is a choice that we make daily to desire to know the truth.
This is the introduction to the lesson example topic for today. Next I am going to go through some specific Bible examples of why this principle of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” was required even when Jesus was physically present and is still applicable to us that read the same words today. There are many great examples of this provided in the life of Jesus speaking spiritual things to natural thinking people who could not or more correctly chose incorrectly to not seek to understand Him because they loved darkness and evil more. We are not going to be able to go through every example found in the Gospels. But we will see enough when Jesus spoke spiritual words that were misunderstood by people with natural human ears and eyes to confirm that they are true.
I want you to understand that when Jesus is speaking He does not explain that He is speaking in spiritual terms. Most of the times He just answers a question like the listeners were supposed to understand the answer. We will be reading more than one great example where Jesus is speaking in far greater hidden spiritual terminology while those that heard what he said were thinking in a much lower state of human natural literal thinking and reasoning and missing the entire vital spiritual message. I plan to go through enough examples to prove that this is far more common than you can imagine. In doing this I hope that I am able to teach at the least some serious Bible disciples, how to begin to look at scriptures from a higher spiritual dimension.
Jesus Speaking Spiritual Words – Example 1
Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Joh 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
Joh 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
This is an awesome and very obvious example of how Jesus was speaking in spiritual expressions and speaking of unseen spiritual realities while the humans that were listening were only thinking and hearing literal natural truths. This is a very clear example of “Wrongly dividing the Word of Truth”. I pray that you do see it? To me this is so obvious. But, I know to those that originally heard the words they didn’t have a clue what was being said. In this discussion we are given two opposing viewpoints that are not the same levels or dimensions of truth. However please notice that both viewpoints were true at the same time!
We can clearly see that there was a human definition for a temple that represented a large stone building that took 46 years to build and this natural truth was countered with Jesus’ definition of “His Body” that defined a spiritual temple that He spoke of. The revelation of this statement is more than profound. Jesus was claiming to be the spiritual temple of the Most High God. BY making this statement He professed that He was God. But, if Jesus was speaking of the 46 year stone temple like they thought He was, He would be perceived to them that heard Him to be a foolish crazy man. Verse 41 confirms this truth concept found in the Bible very clearly. This verse informs us that Jesus used a radically different and higher spiritual definition for what a “temple” represented to Him. Wow, wow, wow!!!!
Please notice that verse 21 was NOT spoken by Jesus to the Jewish leaders. They were kept in the dark to what was actually being spoken of. This information of verse 41 was written about Him here in the Book of John many years after Jesus had died, was buried and ascended back into heaven. This is a vital concept of great spiritual significance. This was a personal demonstration of what God had given to these people in all of their Holy Scriptures. God was hiding spiritual information in plain sight to anyone that desired to understand it but they were unable to grasp it because of their love for the darkness.
I love this example. It is a revelation of how God in the flesh (Jesus) thought and spoke in spiritual expressions that were in sharp contrast with natural human thinking and speaking expressions. This is a very direct example of why we should not take every statement recorded in the Bible using literal definitions found in human books and dictionaries. I have taught this repeatedly in so many Bible lessons that there are spiritual truths that are a higher priority than the natural ways of receiving them. God’s definitions of the His chosen Word will always triumph over the human dictionary definition. If you don’t know the divine definition, this is where we must “study to show ourselves approved, not to be ashamed”.
I know these men that were listening to Jesus were not born-again or spirit-filled believers in Him. I know this is a requirement for receiving anything spiritual from the Bible (1 Cor 2:14). But, I have had more negative comments on my spiritual Bible lessons from people who honestly believe that they are saved but do not see the spiritual truth staring them right in the face. These types of people are referred to in the Bible as potential “baby Christians” (1 Cor 3:1). Paul wrote to one church and told them “I could not minister unto you in spiritual word, because you thought carnally as new babes in Christ”. That was my paraphrase of the verse, but it does represent the statement being made very accurately. Here is the actual KJV Bible translation of 1 Corinthians 3:1:
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
It is extremely clear to me that the Apostle Paul understood the differences between natural carnal thoughts and words and spiritual thoughts and words. I believe from this verse that Paul demonstrates to us that it was his greatest desire to preach and teach everyone these spiritual things that the LORD Jesus had revealed to him. It is also extremely obvious from this verse that even a saved Christian can still be very naturally thought dominated.
Jesus’ Spiritual Word Example 2
Joh 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Joh 11:2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Joh 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
Joh 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Joh 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Joh 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Joh 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
Joh 11:7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
Joh 11:8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
Joh 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
Joh 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Joh 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Joh 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Wow, this is such an amazing example of Jesus thinking and speaking in a very high spiritual dimension and the disciples thinking and speaking in a significantly lower natural dimension. Did you see it? I felt like it was extremely obvious. I underlined all of the spiritual words spoken by Jesus and left the natural words spoken without an underline. I’m not going to go through every verse to explain them all, but I will do an overview. Jesus is hiding away from where Lazarus lived because the Jews had desired to stone him near there. Lazarus falls sick and was nearing death when his sisters sent for Jesus to come and help him. But, Jesus stays where he was for two more days and then goes to where Mary, Martha and Lazarus were located. By that time Lazarus had died and had been buried for four days.
Now, review the recorded words of Jesus being spoken and notice that Jesus was predominately focused upon spiritual things. He did not lower himself to a human point of view until verse 14 in order to help them understand what was really happening from their perspective in the natural realm.
Beginning in verse 4 is where we first find a spiritual point of view in the recorded conversation. Jesus speaking to the disciples says “This sickness is not unto death…”. Well either Jesus lied or He was speaking of a different kind of death than what we normally think of, because we find later in verse 21 that Martha said about her brother Lazarus that he is clearly dead. In verse 39 Jesus is told by Martha that he had been dead four days. Yet in the middle of these two verses Jesus says this:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Ok, you must see it, right? Jesus is clearly not speaking at the same level of understanding with these human people that were listening to Him and certainly Jesus is not a liar. Jesus’ definition view of the word “death” must be dramatically different than what was on everyone else’s mind including Strong. Strong defines this word translated G2288 as “death”. To give him credit he does say that this word can be a literal or figurative meaning. But, he does not attempt to give us the meaning of what a figurative death might represent. Uh oh?
Go back to verse 11 and see another example. In this statement Jesus tells his disciples that Lazarus is only sleeping and that he will go to awaken him. His disciples’ response was “if he just sleeps he will do well”. But verse 13 explains the communication difficulty that was taking place. Go back and read verse 13 again to see it more clearly. This verse clearly says when Jesus was speaking of “sleep” that it was defined to be “physical death”.
This is so very important to know that Jesus is not a liar (Heb 6:18). Jesus was just speaking about spiritual things using naturally understandable words that had human meanings and because of their spiritual unawareness they totally missed His point of view. Jesus knew that even if Lazarus was physically dead that he would not be spiritually dead. Because Lazarus believed in Jesus he would never die (spiritual definition to be separate from God) like Jesus said later to Martha. So Jesus clearly tells the people to roll away the grave stone so that He could “awaken” him from his “sleep” like he said He would do for the Glory of God.
The spiritual words in all of these underlined words of Jesus are amazing truths spoken from a divine perspective. If you want to know how Jesus thinks and speaks dominated from a God perspective, go and study the words “day”, “light”, “see”, “walk”, “stumble” “night” “dead”, “die”, “sleep”, “awake” to name a few words that have very obvious spiritual meanings with different corresponding natural meanings. Most of the time the natural meanings are true at the same time as the spiritual meaning and we see this very clearly in verses 9 and 10 when Jesus was speaking of 12 hours, day light and night. These words have great spiritual meanings with parallel natural significance. But, verses 4 and 11 are clearly speaking of only spiritual truth from a spiritual point of view. But, then in verses 7 and 14 these words spoken by Jesus were only valid from a natural human point of view and cannot be taken as spiritual. Wow, we have 3 types of words spoken by the LORD Jesus and knowing what He is speaking of at each requires us to “Rightly Divide His Spoken Word of Truth”..
This chapter of John is another great example of how easy it is for humans and even saved Christians to misunderstand the Word of God. Any person reading the Bible can completely miss the spiritual side of the conversation by thinking completely in terms of their own natural education and experiences.
Jesus’ Spiritual Word Example 3
Joh 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
Joh 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Joh 8:25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
Joh 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
Joh 8:27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
You should be able to see what is happening by now. Here is another example of a spiritual speaking man named Jesus communicating with naturally thinking humans that could not comprehend the meaning of His words. Jesus is declaring very significant spiritual truths about spiritual facts that are far greater truths than their natural truths and they could not perceive them. These religious men that were listening are being warned in verse 24 that they were going to die if they did not believe in Him. Remember what we just learned about Lazarus. Jesus is not speaking of a natural death since everyone is going to die naturally if Jesus tarries. No, Jesus was speaking of eternal spiritual death defined as a permanent separation from God in hell if they chose not to believe on the Son of God. They immediately ask him, who are you? But, Jesus continues to answer their natural question using spiritual terms again stating spiritual truths that were not received by their carnal minds.
Please don’t be a hard hearted religious person that refuses to see the truth. This pattern is given to us in the Bible over and over and over so that we can learn from their wrong examples to not follow after them.
These have been only a very few examples of how natural thinking people wrongly divide the words that were being spoken to them to misunderstand a higher way of learning and knowing the greater spiritual truth of God’s Word. There are many, many other examples of this in the Gospels. For example you can go read a Bible lesson that I wrote a long time ago on “Jesus Heals a Blind Man in John Chapter 9”. The disciples asked Jesus a natural thinking question and Jesus answered and focused on the much higher spiritual truths in His answer. While the disciples focused upon a man’s natural blindness, Jesus was thinking of the man’s spiritual blindness.
What we should have learned today is that there are two types of truth found in the Bible in almost every verse. There is the existence of historical facts of truth, with real people that lived and did things some good and some evil. There are laws given from God and written down by Moses on Mt Sinai. There are prophetical things that are declared to happen before they happen. In all of these things Jesus said He was hidden in order that we could search for Him to see Him. This is where we must begin to allow the Holy Spirit to unveil Him and take the covers off of the natural truths. We are required to penetrate beneath the covers to find the spiritual truth that God wanted us to all to find.
How are you thinking when you read the Bible? Every Christian that I know of can struggle with this same challenge. If you are a completely carnal thinking person, you are probably not saved and didn’t get one thing from this Bible lesson. There are saved Christians that are at many differing levels of spiritual maturity and can see some spiritual things in the Bible from a growing and rising level of spiritual awareness. This is one of the main goals of this website. I desire to help us all to grow into the unity of the faith in Jesus Christ.
I believe that Jesus understood while walking the face of the earth that He was dealing with natural humans that thought wrong. But, I also believe that Jesus desired to teach them to come up to His higher level of spiritual thinking, speaking and living. I pray that this was one of the main points that you took away from reading this Bible lesson. I believe with all of my heart that rightly dividing the Word of Truth is someone that can perceive the spiritual understanding from the natural words that are found within the Word of God. Please don’t be like those that chose to not understand what Jesus was speaking of. If you don’t see it quickly pray and ask God to help you see it. Ask God questions about what this word, verse or chapter means. Learn to seek to come up to a greater level of spiritual awareness, understanding and knowledge of Christ Jesus in the Bible. I’ll leave you with another outstanding true spiritual thought:
To be born once you will die twice,
but to be born twice you will only die once.
I thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me and I love you all very much. God Bless you. Also please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this Bible lesson. Thank you.