Rightly Dividing the Truth About Unity
The singular church, which is the Church of the living God, is the pillar and ground of the truth. The Apostle Paul made this statement to Timothy in the event that he might be delayed in returning. He said it to affirm to the young man where exactly he needed to look for guidance in serving the church. It is a foundational statement to us all in terms of potential unity and clarity within Christ’s one body.
It is in the same vein of thought, then, that Paul said this to Timothy. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This has long been taught, even into the present time. We often think of the doctrines that have been taught and handed down through the generations in God’s Church. They have stayed consistent for the most part, though not entirely, down to today.
A great question arises out of this, however. Why, in the face of common doctrine, is God’s one Church in the fractured condition it is today? The Church of the living God is the pillar and ground of the truth. How do we reconcile foundational truth with a fractured body? Obviously, the fault cannot lie with the truth. That leaves us with only one possible answer which we will state in the form of a question.
What part of God’s truth are we not comprehending? Are we truly rightly dividing the word of truth? Looking at history, we know that some of those in the early Church at Corinth were not able to be fed with the meat of God’s word because they were so weak spiritually. They knew of the Holy Spirit and had received it at baptism, but those in question were not yielding to its lead at the point of Paul’s correction. Unleadable, they ceased to be able to rightly divide the truth. Disunity ensued.
The spirit of God will lead us into all truth and unity if we truly want to rightly divide it. Doing the truth is where the solution lies. Paul affirms that fact and offers the necessary, follow-up edification to each of us. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another”’ (Galatians 5:25-26). The thing that stops the doing of God’s truth, that rightly divided, leads to unity, is the putting of self first. The Apostle John points to an example of this in 3 John 9, “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us”. If we read God’s truth through “preeminent” eyes, we won’t be able to rightly divide the truth and then do it. John goes on to say, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). Regardless of how a believer is received, he or she will focus on imitating the good, rightly dividing the word of truth.