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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Right Division

The One Great Requirement of the Word:

"Rightly Dividing" It.

The one great requirement of the Word is grounded on the fact that it is "the Word of truth." And this fact is so stated as to imply that, unless the Word is thus rightly divided we shall not get "truth"; and that we shall get its truth only in proportion to the measure in which we divide it rightly.

In this section the great principle of ‘right division’ by reason of its importance is givin consideration as it is the key that unlocks the rules and should govern our entire approach to the Scriptures. The Scripture that enjoins the practice of this principle is 2 Timothy 2:15, ‘study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’.

This verse divides naturally into three parts:

  1. The approval of God.
  2. The unashamed workman.
  3. The essential principle of interpretation.

In chapter 1 of 2 Timothy there is an anticipation of the great principle of right division, for the apostle emphasizes ‘the testimony of the Lord and of me His prisoner’. He refers to that calling that goes back ‘before age times’ but is manifest ‘now’ that he is a prisoner. He draws attention to his own special ministry to the Gentiles and the ‘good deposit’ entrusted to him and afterwards committed to Timothy, when he urged upon him the importance of having a pattern of sound words which he had heard of him, and in chapter 2 he exhorts Timothy to commit to faithful men ‘the things he had heard of him’. What is all this but the application of right division? Here a distinction between the apostle’s earlier ministry and his ‘prison ministry’ is intimated. Here is a recognition of the distinctive calling of Ephesians 1, ‘before the foundation of the world’. Here is the claim that the apostle, preacher and teacher of the Gentiles, is Paul, and here the distinction is made between ‘that good deposit’ and other parts of God’s purposes.

If Timothy is to be unashamed of his work he must know and appreciate these distinctions, otherwise (by occupying himself with service that belongs to other callings and dispensations, and so not being engaged in ‘God’s building’), his work, being revealed by fire, will be found worthless. While Timothy might be expected to perceive the necessity of right division, Paul is anxious that he should not be left to his own inferences. How then shall the apostle best put the principle that is vaguely seen at work right through chapter 1? Shall he once more go back in mind to the child Timothy at his mother’s knee? Shall he visualize the teaching of those holy Scriptures that had made Timothy wise unto salvation? Does he remember that a Jewish mother would most certainly teach her boy some of the Proverbs? and that Timothy’s father, being a Greek, and living in Galatia, would most certainly have read the Greek version of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint? We cannot tell, but this we do know, that Timothy needed no explanation of the term ‘right division’. We can dismiss all attempts by commentators to discredit this fact and feel perfectly safe in doing so, because we shall be ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’. In the Bible used by Timothy occurs the following verse:

Pasais hodois sou gnorize auten, hina orthotome tas hodous sou (Paroimai 3:6).

‘In all thy ways acquaint thyself with it (fem. ref. to sophia wisdom, in verse 5) in order that it may rightly divide thy paths’ (Prov. 3:6).

We find the same word in Proverbs 11:5, where it is again used of a ‘way’. These are the only occurrences in the  Septuagint (LXX). We are not now concerned with the differences here observable between the A.V. and the LXX but are desirous that all shall see that the words used by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15 and known by Timothy are identical.

Orthotomeo, ‘To rightly divide’.

Temno, ‘to cut’, does not occur in the New Testament but several combinations of the word are found.

‘Sharper’, Tomoteros. ‘Sharper than a two-edged sword’ (Heb. 4:12).

‘Sharply’, Apotomos. ‘Rebuke them sharply’ (Tit. 1 13).

Peritemno and peritome refer to circumcision, and there is no need to stress the literal meaning of either the Greek or the English. The word finds its place in our own language, and in such surgical expressions as anatomy, tracheotomy, and phlebotomy, the primary meaning of cutting is retained unaltered.  With this evidence before him, the reader will need no refutation of the many suggestions put forward as translations, such as ‘handling aright the Word of Truth’. Again, there is no possibility of mistaking what was to be rightly divided. It was not the believer’s conduct or service or anything to do with himself, but the ‘Word of Truth’. Just as Timothy was subsequently exhorted to ‘preach’ the Word, so is he here commanded to ‘divide’ the Word aright. What this principle involves when put into operation cannot be detailed here but every book, teaching and article on Believer.com is subject to this one great principle. Right division distinguishes administrations. It does not confound Kingdom with Church, Gentile with Jew, Mystery with Gospel, Earth with Heaven. It is beyond us, however, to attempt even a summary of its bearings, for there is no item of Scriptural teaching to which the principle does not apply.

Moreover, let us repeat that what is here to be ‘rightly divided’ is, and remains, the Word of Truth. No ‘higher critical’ cutting up of the Scriptures is countenanced by this Word, and indeed we have only to read on to find in 2 Timothy 3:16 one of the most emphatic statements concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures that the New Testament contains. We can, however, easily rob the Word of its ‘truth’ if we fail to ‘rightly divide’ it. We can confound law and grace, to our undoing; we can preach Moses where we ought to preach Christ. We can be concerned with ‘earthly things’, to our loss, if our calling is associated with ‘things above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God’. If we attempt to spiritualize the promises made to the fathers, we rob the word of promise of its truth. If we misinterpret Israel as of the Church; if we confound the Bride with the Body; if we preach the gospel of the circumcision to the Gentile to-day; if we do any of these things, we rob the Word of its Truth.

One glorious result of ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ is that every statement of God may be taken without alteration. For instance, in the case of the promise, ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’, a rightly divided word has no need to substitute ‘heaven’ for ‘earth’.

‘Let us heed this word of exhortation. If we are not occupied with that part of God’s purpose which has a present application, we shall most certainly be ashamed of our work. In other words, whether found in Genesis, Romans, Ephesians or the Revelation, "Dispensational Truth" is all the truth there is’.

Happy is the workman who, though suffering under the disapproval of tradition, is approved unto God; that workman who will have no need to be ashamed of his work, because he has obeyed the great all-covering principle of interpretation - ‘Rightly dividing the Word of Truth’.

Passing from the meaning of ‘Right Division’ let us take an illustration of the application of this principle from the ministry of the Lord Himself. In Luke 4:16-21 we read that the Saviour upon returning from Galilee to Nazareth, entered the synagogue and stood up for to read. He was given the book of the prophet Isaiah and He found the place where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord’ (Luke 4:18,19).

According to Moses Maimonedes, a public reading of the Scriptures should consist of some twenty to twenty-five verses, and had the Saviour read the whole of Isaiah 61, even though it contained but eleven verses, no one would have been surprised. What He did, however, was something extraordinary. He read one verse, and one sentence of the second verse, stopped, shut the book, and sat down. The second verse of Isaiah 61 reads:

‘To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn’.

but had He continued His reading so as to include the reference to the day of vengeance, He could not have said, as He did, THIS DAY IS THIS SCRIPTURE fulfilled in your ears, for the day of vengeance, even after nineteen hundred years, has not yet come. There is but a comma, in our English version, between the two periods, yet that comma represents a gap of nearly two thousand years. In the original Hebrew or the Greek from which the Saviour read, there would have been no punctuation mark at all. The Lord by no means set aside the dreadful fact of future judgment, He simply kept both references in their true dispensational place. This same gospel, at chapter 21 speaks of that future day, saying: ‘For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled’ (Luke 21:22). The relations between these two passages may be set out thus:

Luke
The Acceptable year of the Lord.                    4 <-------------------> 21                 The Day of Vengeance of our God.
     Fulfilled at first advent                                  (over 1900 years)                               Fulfilled at 2nd advent      

The books of the Bible were all originally addressed to some particular hearer or company, and before we take all that is written in the Scriptures as truth for ourselves, we should observe several things which in reality will be but the application of ‘Right Division’. If we hold the faith that is common to evangelical protestants we shall strenuously maintain the great doctrine of Justification by faith apart from works of the law, and by so doing we of necessity ‘divide’ the Word of truth, for the law of Moses is equally as inspired Scripture as is the epistle to the Romans. And so the principle of right division enables us to say:

‘While the Word of God is written FOR all persons, and FOR all time, yet it is true that not every part of it is addressed TO all persons or ABOUT all persons IN all time’

Hence, we can say that the Scriptures refer to three companies or classes, ‘Jew, Gentile and Church of God’, or we can say that the Scriptures relate to three spheres of blessing, ‘The Earth, The Heavenly Jerusalem and Far above all’. Yet again, the Scriptures are concerned with The Kingdom of Israel, The Bride of the Lamb and the Church which is His Body. Some of the epistles are specifically addressed to the Dispersion.

‘To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting’ (Jas. 1:1).

‘To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus ... Bithynia’ (1 Pet. 1:1).

To which should be added the epistle to the Hebrews, for Peter, writing to the Dispersion said, ‘our beloved brother Paul ... hath written UNTO YOU’ (2 Pet. 3:15).  This principle of interpretation ‘right division’ observes the ‘sundry times’ and ‘divers manners’ in which God has spoken, and these different ‘times’ are called for convenience ‘dispensations’.

THE GREAT REQUIREMENT

As to the DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH and TEACHING.

(1) One part of the PAST not necessarily to be read into another part of the PAST.

(a) Matt. 10:5,6 and 28:19,20.
(b) Luke 9:3 and 22:35,36.

(2) The PAST not to be read into the PRESENT.

(a) Law and Grace.
(b) Imprecatory Psalms.
(c) The Sabbath.
(d) The Kingdom.
(e) The Gospels.
(f) The Sermon on the Mount.
(g) The Lord’s Prayer.
(h) The Priesthood.
(i) Baptisms.
(k) The prophecy of Amos. Amos 9:11,12, Acts 15:14-18
(l) The title ‘Son of Man’.

(3) The PRESENT not to be read into the PAST.

(a) The Mystery.
(b) ‘Sons of God’.
(c) The ‘Church’.

(4) The FUTURE not to be read into the PRESENT.

(a) The Great Tribulation.
(b) The 144,000.
(c) Sundry Prophecies. Psa. 2; Isa. 2; Isa. 40.
(d) The Day of the Lord.

(5) One part of the FUTURE not necessarily to be read into another part of the FUTURE.

(a) The Advents.
(b) The Resurrections.
(c) The Judgments. 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt 25:31-36; Rev. 20:11-15.

(6) The truth and teaching of the CANONICAL ORDER to be distinguished from the CHRONOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ORDER.

(a) The Tabernacle.
(b) The Great Offerings.
(c) The Four Gospels.
(d) 1 Samuel 16 to 18.
(e) The book of Jeremiah.
(f) The Pauline Epistles.

The expansion of this principle of right division is only limited by the limits of Scripture itself, and under whatever subdivisions it may fall, is from first to last but an exhibition and exposition of this great principle. Having given the term an examination and the application of the principle an illustration we must leave its full unfolding to the separate articles as they appear in this section menu on the right side of the page.

The One Great Requirement of the Word:-"Rightly Dividing" It.

The one great requirement of the Word is grounded on the fact that it is "the Word of truth." And this fact is so stated as to imply that, unless the Word is thus rightly divided we shall not get "truth"; and that we shall get its truth only in proportion to the measure in which we divide it rightly.

The Requirement is thus stated in 2 Timothy 2:15: "Give diligence to present thyself approved to God, a workman having no cause to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth."

The word in question here is orqotomounta (orthotomounta).*

* From orqoV (orthos), right, and temnw (temno), to cut.
As this word occurs in no Greek writer, or even elsewhere in the New Testament, we can get little or no help from outside, and are confined to Biblical usage.
It is used twice in the Septuagint for the Hebrew r#$ayaf (yashar), to be right, or straight. In Proverbs 3:6, 11:5, the Hebrew is Piel (or causative), to make right (as in 2 Chron 32:30; Prov 15:21; Isa 40:3, 45:2,13).

But it is the Greek word that we have to do with here, in 2 Timothy 2:15; and we cannot get away from the fact that temnw (temno) means to cut; or, from the fact that we cannot cut without dividing. To divide belongs to the very nature of the act of cutting. Even as applied to directing one's way, it implies that we divide off one way from others—
because we desire to follow the right way and avoid the wrong.

The only Biblical guide we have to the usage of the word is in Proverbs 3:6:

"In all thy ways acknowledge him
And he shall direct thy paths."

In the margin the RV gives, "make straight or plain" as an alternative rendering for "direct." But our ways can only be made straight or plain by God's causing us to proceed on our way aright—i.e., by avoiding all the ways that are wrong, and going in the one way that is right; in other words, the right way is divided off from all the wrong ways.

What else can the word mean in 2 Timothy 2:15?

It matters little what others have thought or said. We could fill a page with their names and their views, but we should learn but little and only become confused. The duties of Priests, Furriers, and Ploughmen have been referred to as indicating the correct meaning. But we need not leave the Biblical usage, which associates the word with
guidance in the right way.

The scope of the verse plainly teaches that:

Our one great study is to seek GOD'S approval, and not man's.
We are to show all diligence in pursuing this study.
As workmen, our aim is to have no cause to be ashamed of our work.
In order to gain God's approval and avert our own shame we must rightly divide the word of truth.
To do this we must direct our studies in the right way.
This great requirement is associated with the Word in its special character as being the Word of truth; i.e., "the TRUE Word."
All this tells us that we shall not get the truth if we do not thus rightly divide it; and that we shall get the truth only in proportion to our "rightly dividing" it.
Other titles of the Word have their own special requirements. As "the engrafted Word" it must be received with meekness (James 1:21). As "the Faithful Word" we must hold it fast (Titus 1:9). As "the Word of life" we must hold it forth (Phil 2:16).

But, because this is "the Word of truth," its paths must be well noted, the sign-posts must be observed, the directions and guides which are in the Word itself must be followed.

We are to "give diligence" to this great Requirement of the Word just because it is "the Word of truth."

It is true that there are many who altogether ignore this precept; and have no thought as to obeying this command in their study of the Word.

There are many who make light of our insistence on obedience to this precept.

On what ground, we ask, are we to treat such an important command as though it had never been given?

Why is not this command as binding on Bible students as any other command in the Word of God?

What motive can such have to blunt the point and dull the edge of this "Sword of the Spirit" in this matter?

Strange to say, those who would be-little our efforts in rendering due obedience to this command, are themselves obliged not only to accept its division into chapters, and verses, and punctuated sentences; but they go further, and adopt the division of its subject-matter which is made by the insertion of chapter-headings and running page-
headings according to man's own ideas.

The only question is, Do they divide it rightly, or wrongly?

For example, in the English Bibles which our readers use, over Isaiah 29 we notice the running page-heading "Judgment upon Jerusalem"; and on the opposite page, over chapter 30 we notice the page-heading "God's mercies to His church."

Again, over Isaiah 59 we note the chapter-heading "The sins of the Jews"; in the chapter-heading of chapter 60 we note "The glory of the church." And this in spite of the declared fact that this book contains "the Vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (ch 1:1).*

* If these headings are not found in some of the current editions of our English Bibles, it is only a proof that still greater liberties are taken in changes of these headings.
Surely, this is dividing the Word. But the only question for us to ask is, whether it is divided "rightly" or wrongly.
In the consideration of this great and important requirement there are four principal spheres in which we are to give diligence so that we may follow the right ways which are so clearly cut and marked out for our studies.

We must rightly divide the Word of Truth:

As to its Literary Form.
As to its Subject-matter.
As to its Times and Dispensations.
As to its Dispensational Truth and Teaching.
We will consider these in their order.
 
 
i. Rightly Dividing the Word as to its Literary Form.

The "Word" comes to us in our English Translation. But it comes with much that is human in its Literary Divisions; and it is far from being rightly divided.



1. The Two Testaments.
"THE WORD OF GOD" as a whole comes to us in two separate parts: one written, originally, in Hebrew; the other in Greek. Only in the Versions are these two combined, and bound together in one Book.

These division, of course, are not human, though the names are by which they are commonly known.

Up to the second century the term "Old Covenant" was used by the Greeks to describe the Hebrew Bible. This passed into the Latin Vulgate as "Vetus Testamentum," from which our English term "Old Testament" was taken.

By way of distinction, the Greek portion was naturally spoken of as the "New Testament." But neither of these names is Divine in its origin.



2. The Separate Books of the Bible.
When, however, we come to the Separate Books, though their origin is Divine, the human element is at once apparent.

(a) The Books of the Old Testament.—The Books as we have them to-day are not the same as in the Hebrew Canon, either as to their number, names, or order.

The change first came about when the first Translation of the Hebrew Bible was made into Greek in the Version known as the Septuagint.

It was made in the latter part of the third century BC. The exact date is not known, but the consensus of opinion leans to about 286-285 BC.

It is the oldest of all the translations of the Hebrew Text, and its Divisions and arrangement of the Books have been followed in every translation since made.

Man has divided them into four classes: (1) The Law, (2) The Historical Books, (3) The Poetical Books, and (4) The Prophetical Books.

The Lord Jesus divides them into Three classes: (1) The Law, (2) The Prophets, and (3) The Psalms. And who will say that HE did not rightly divide them! But His Division was made according to the Hebrew Bible extant in His day, and not according to man's Greek Translation of it—which was extant also at that time.

In the Hebrew Canon these three Divisions contain twenty-four Books, in the following order:—

(i) "The Law" (Torah)
These five books form the Pentateuch
1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy

(ii) "The Prophets" (Neviim)
"The Former Prophets" (Zech 7)
6. Joshua
7. Judges
8. Samuel
9. Kings

The Latter Prophets
10. Isaiah
11. Jeremiah
12. Ezekiel
13. The Minor Prophets

(iii) "The Psalms" (K'thuvim) or the [other] writings
14. Psalms
15. Proverbs
16. Job

The Five "Megilloth" (or scrolls)
17. Song of Songs
18. Ruth
19. Lamentations
20. Ecclesiastes
21. Esther

22. Daniel
23. Ezra-Nehemiah
24. Chronicles

This is how the Books are rightly divided in the Hebrew Bible. And it is sad to find so many good men exercising their ingenuity in order to find some Divine spiritual teaching in the utterly human and different order of the Books given in the Translations. One actually manufactures "five Pentateuch's," quite dislocating the books of the Bible; and
he arbitrarily re-arranges them to suit his theory. Another divides them by re-arranging them in what he conceives to be the chronological order, which results, among other calamities, in the Psalms being dispersed among the Historical Books.

The "Higher" Critics would have us make a Hexateuch instead of a Pentateuch.

We fear it is hopeless ever to look for the books to be rightly divided and arranged in the order of the Hebrew Canon; so we shall have to make the best of man's having wrongly divided the Word of truth from the very outset.

The number of Concordances and Commentaries and general works where reference is made to the present chapters and verses would be sufficient to make such a change impossible, however desirable it might be on other grounds.

Nevertheless, it is well for those who would study the Word of truth to have this information, and to be in possession of the facts of the case, even if the result is only to prevent them from attaching any importance to the present order of the books, and keep them from elaborating some scheme of doctrine or theology based on what is only
human in its origin.

(b) The Books of the New Testament.—As to the Books of the New Testament the problem presented is somewhat different. We find them in the Manuscripts generally in five groups: (1) the Gospels, (2) the Acts, (3) the General Epistles, (4) Paul's Epistles, and (5) the Apocalypse.

The order of these groups varies in certain MSS; and the order of the books also in the different groups varies. There is, however, one exception which we have elsewhere pointed out: The Epistles of Paul which are addressed to Churches are always in the same order as we have them in our English Bible to-day. Out of the hundreds of
Greek MSS not one has ever yet been seen where the Canonical order of these Epistles is different from that in which they have come down to us.

We can therefore build our teaching on a sure foundation, though we cannot do so on the order of the other New Testament books.
 
 



3. The Divisions of the Hebrew Text.
The Hebrew Text is divided (in the MSS) into five different forms:—

(a) Into open and closed Sections, answering somewhat to our paragraphs. These were to promote facility in reading.

(b) Into Sedarim or the Triennial Pericopes;* i.e., Portions marked off: so that the Pentateuch is divided into 167 Pericopes or "Lessons," which are completed in a course of three years' reading. There are 452 of these Seders** in the Hebrew Bible, indicated by p, in the margin.

* Greek, from peri (around) and kopto (cut); a portion or extract Pronounced Pe-ric'-o-pe.
** From rdasaf (sadar), to arrange in order.

(c) Beside these the Pentateuch was divided into 54 Par'shioth* or Annual Pericopes, by which the Law was read through once a year.
* From #$rap@af (parash), to divide.
(d) The division into verses. The verses in the Hebrew Bible are of ancient origin, and were noted by a stroke called Silluk under the last word of each verse.
These words were carefully counted for each book. Hence the Scribes were so called not because of their writing (from the Latin word Scribo), but they were called Sopherim or Counters (from the Hebrew, Sopher, to count). The Massorah gives the number of verses as 23,203.
 
 



4. The Divisions of the Greek Text.
In the Greek MSS of the New Testament there is an indication of sections in the margin, dividing the text according to the sense.

There is also a division of the Gospels ascribed to TATIAN (Cent. II.) called Kephalaia, i.e. heads or summaries: these are known also as Titloi or titles. AMMONIUS, in the third century, divided the Text according to sections, known by his name: "The Ammonian Sections." In the fifth century EUTHALIUS, a deacon of Alexandria, divided
Paul's Epistles, the Acts, and the General Epistles into Kephalaia; and ANDREAS (Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia) completed the work by dividing the Apocalypse into 24 Logoi or paragraphs, each being again divided into three Kephalaia.

These dividings of the New Testament can be traced back to individual men, and are all essentially human.
 
 



5. The Divisions of the Versions.
(a) The Chapters.—There are other more modern divisions into CHAPTERS. These are quite foreign to the Original Texts of the Old and New Testaments. For a long time they were attributed to HUGHES DE ST. CHER (Hugo de Sancto Caro). He was Provincial to the Dominicans in France, and afterwards a Cardinal in Spain: he died AD
1263. But it is now generally believed that they were made by STEPHEN LANGTON, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1227.

(b) The Verses.—Hugo made use of Langton's chapters and added subdivisions which he indicated by letters. This was in 1248. ROBERT STEPHENS, finding these letters inadequate, introduced numbers in their place in his Greek Testament of 1551. This was the origin of our verse-divisions, which were first introduced into the English
Version known as the Geneva Bible (1560), and from that into our Authorized Version in 1611. These verses do not correspond always with those of the Hebrew Bible.

(c) The Chapter Breaks—As to these chapter divisions, they were not of Jewish origin; and were never associated with the Hebrew Bible until AD 1330, when RABBI SALOMON BEN ISMAEL adopted the Christian chapters by placing the numerals in the margin, to facilitate reference for purposes of controversy.*

* This appears from a note appended to MS No. 15, in the Cambridge University Library. See Dr. Ginsburg's Introduction, etc., p. 25.
In many cases they agree with the Massoretic divisions of the Hebrew Bible, though there are glaring instances of divergence.*
* Up to AD 1517 the Editors of the Printed Text of the Hebrew Bible closely adhered to the MSS and ignored the Christian or Gentile chapters.
The first to reverse this practice were the Editors of the Complutensian Polyglot of CARDINAL XIMENES (1514-1517); but still confining the indications to the margin, in Roman Numerals.

FELIX PRATENSIS was the first to substitute Hebrew Letters for the Roman Numerals in his Edition printed by Bomberg, Venice, in AD 1517; though he retained the Massoretic divisions.

JACOB BEN CHAYIM adopted the same practice in his standard Edition (AD 1524-5); and it was continued down to 1751, when

ARIAS MONTANUS actually went so far as to break up the Hebrew Text, and insert the Hebrew Letters (or Numerals) into the body of the Text, in his edition printed at Antwerp in 1571.

From this, the "pernicious practice," as Dr. Ginsburg well calls it, has continued in the Editions of the Hebrew Text since printed, though it is discarded in his own Massoretico-Critical Edition, printed in Vienna in 1894, and published by the Trinitarian Bible Society of 7, Bury Street, Bloomsbury, London.

It will thus be seen how very modern, and human, and how devoid of all authority are the chapter and verse divisions which obtain in the version of the Bible generally, and in our English Bible in particular. Though they are most useful for purposes of reference, we must be careful never to use them for interpretation, or for doctrinal teaching.
They seldom accord with the breaks required by the Structure.* Sometimes they break the connection altogether; at other times they materially affect the sense.
* See Part II, Canon II.
As examples, where the chapter-breaks interfere with the Connection and the Sense, we may notice Genesis 1 and 2, where the Introduction (1:1-2:4) is broken up, and the commencement of the first of the Eleven Divisions (or, "Generations") is hidden. This wrong break has led to serious confusion. Instead of seeing in 1:1-2:3 a separate
Summary of Creation in the form of an Introduction, many think they see two distinct creations, while others see a discrepancy between two accounts of the same creation.
The break between 2 Kings 6 and 7 should come after chapter 7:2; that is to say, 7:1, 2, should be 6:34, 35.

The break between Isaiah 8 and 9 is, to say the least, most unfortunate, dislocating, as it does, the whole sense of the passage.

Isaiah 53 should commence at chapter 52:13. This agrees with its Structure:

A. 52:13-15. The foretold exaltation of Jehovah's Servant, the Messiah.
B. 53:1-6. His rejection by others.
B. 7-10. His own sufferings.

A. 10-12. The foretold exaltation of Messiah.
Isaiah 52:1-12 should have been the concluding portion of chapter 51.
Jeremiah 3:6 begins a new prophecy which goes down to the end of chapter 6.

Matthew 9:35-38 should belong to chapter 10.

John 3 should commence with 2:23, thus connecting the remarks about "men" with the "man of the Pharisees."

John 8:1 should be the last verse of chapter 7, setting in contrast the destination of the people and that of the Lord.

In Acts 4 the last two verses should have been the first two verses of chapter 5.

We can quite see that Acts 7 is already a long chapter; still, the break between it and chapter 6 is unfortunate, because the connection between "these things" in 7:1 is quite severed from the "things" referred to in chapter 6.

The same is the case in Acts 8:1. Also in 22:1.

Romans 4 ought to have run on to 5:11, as is clear from the argument, as shown by the Structure.

In the same way Romans 6 ought to run on, and end with 7:6, which concludes the subject. The commencement of 7:7, "What shall we say then?" would thus correspond with 6:1.

Romans 15:1-7 really belongs to chapter 14.*

* See Part II, Canon VII.
1 Corinthians 11:1 should be the last verse of chapter 10.
2 Corinthians 6 should end with 7:1; for 7:2 commences a new subject, and leaves the "promises" of 7:1 to be connected with the rehearsal of them in chapter 6.

In the same way Philippians 3 ought to end with 4:1 to complete the sense.

Colossians 3 should end with 4:1. Thus "masters" would follow, and stand in connection with, the exhortation to "servants"; and 4:2 would commence the new subject.

In 1 Peter 2:1 the word "wherefore" points to the fact that this verse is closely connected with chapter 1.

2 Peter 2:1, in the same way, concludes chapter 1, and the "false prophets" are contrasted with the Divinely inspired prophets.

In 2 Timothy 4:1 the force of the word "therefore" is quite lost by being cut off from the conclusion of chapter 3.

Revelation 3, as a break, ought to be ignored, as it quite dislocates the seven letters to the Assemblies.

Revelation 13:1 belongs to, and is the conclusion of, chapter 12. The break is thus actually made in the RV, and the correct reading of the Greek MSS followed shows the close connection of the words "and he [i.e. Satan] stood upon the sand of the sea," with 12:17, and also with chapter 13 as containing the result of Satan's thus standing.

In the same way the break between Revelation 21 and 22 is unfortunate, as the real chapter-break should correspond with the Structure and should come between verses 5 and 6 of chapter 22.

Other examples may easily be found, but these will be sufficient to show the importance of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," even as to the Chapter Divisions.

(d) The Chapter, and Running Page-Headings.— When these chapter divisions are combined with (1) the chapter headings, and (2) the running page-headings, they become positively mischievous, partaking of the nature of interpretation instead of translation. It is needless to say that we may absolutely disregard them, as always
aggravating the chatper-break, and often misleading the reader.

The running page-headings are a fruitful source of mischief. Over Isaiah 29 (as we have said above) in an ordinary Bible we read "God's judgments upon Jerusalem." On the opposite page we read over Isaiah 30 "God's mercies to his church." The same may be seen in the concluding chapters of Isaiah, both in the running page-headings
and in the chapter-headings. But there is no break or change in the subject-matter. It consists of all "the vision which Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem" (1:1). Here is a "dividing" of the Word. But, the question is, can it be called "rightly dividing" when God's "mercies" are claimed for the Church, and His "judgments" generously given
over to the Jews? Such "dividing" of the Word can hardly be said to be "without partiality."

(e) Punctuation.—One other mode of dividing the Word as to its Literary Form is by Punctuation; which is a still more important manner of dividing the Word, as it seriously affects the Text by dividing its sentences, and thus fixing its sense.

The importance of this will be seen when we note that its effect is to fasten the interpretation of the translator on to the Word of God by making his translation part of that Word. It thus comes to the ordinary reader as part and parcel of the Truth of God, whereas it is absolutely arbitrary, and is wholly destitute of either Divine or human authority.*

* Sometimes a change of punctuation may be made through inadvertence or through ignorance. We have heard of 1 Corinthians 9:24 being read aloud thus: "They that run in a race, run. All but one receiveth the prize." The ignorance that perpetrated this failed to see the bad grammar which resulted in the last clause.
The Greek Manuscripts have, practically, no system of punctuation: the most ancient, none at all; and the later MSS nothing more than an occasional single point even with the middle, or in line with the top of the letters. Where there is anything more than this it is generally agreed that it is the work of a later hand.
So that in the Original Manuscripts we have no guide whatever to any dividing of the Text, whether rightly or wrongly. Indeed, in the most ancient MSS there is not only no division at all, but there is not even any break between the words! So that we can find no help from the MSS.

When they came to be collated, edited, and printed, a system of punctuation was introduced by the respective Editors. Each one followed his own plan, and exercised his own human judgment. No two editors have punctuated the text in the same way; so that we have no help from them.

When we come to the English Authorized Version we are still left without guidance or help.

The Authorized Version of 1611 is destitute of any authority; for the Translators punctuated only according to their best judgment. But even here, few readers are aware of the many departures which have been made from the original Edition of 1611; and how many changes have been made in subsequent Editions.*

* These changes affect not merely punctuation, but the marginal notes and references, the uses of capital letters and italic type, orthography, grammatical peculiarities, etc.
Some of these differences arise doubtless from oversight, but other changes have been made undoubtedly with deliberate intent. Who made them, or when they were introduced, no one can tell. A few, however, can be traced.*
* A full account of these may be seen in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Queen's Printers' Patent, 1859, a Blue Book full of interesting information; also in DR. SCRIVENER'S Preface to The Cambridge Paragraph Bible of 1873.
The edition of 1616 was the first edition of the AV which shows any considerable revision. The first Cambridge Editions of 1638 and 1639 appear to have been a complete revision, though done without any authority.
The Edition of 1660 added many marginal notes. That of 1701 was the first to introduce the marginal dates, tables of Scripture measures and weights, &c.

The Edition of 1762 contained serious attempts at improvements made by Dr. Paris. He was the first to substitute a full stop for the colon of 1611 in Zechariah 11:7, after "staves." This edition considerably extended the use of Italic type; and incorporated Bishop Lloy'ds chronological notes.

Dr. Blayney's Edition of 1769 introduced many changes and many glaring errors which, unfortunately, have been followed without enquiry and without suspicion. These imperfections led to a great controversy, and a Public Enquiry, which included the policy of the Royal Patent and the working of the University Presses.

A Revision of the American Bible Society (1847-1851) prepared the way for our English Revised Version (1881-1885).

The "Advertisement" to the Universities' Edition, called "The Parallel Bible" (of the RV and AV), fully endorses all we have said:—

"The left hand column contains the text of the Authorized Version as usually printed, with the marginal notes and references of the Edition of 1611, the spelling of these being conformed to modern usage. In the left hand margin are also placed, in square brackets, the more important differences between the edition of 1611 and the text now in
use, whether these differences are due to corrections of the edition of 1611 or to errors which have subsequently crept in."
In spite of all these facts many ill-informed readers of the English Bible take the punctuation as "Gospel truth"; and not only build their own theories, and bolster up their traditions upon it, but treat as heretics, and cast out almost as apostates any one who dares to question the authority of this human interference with the Word of truth, if it should
run counter to their Traditions, which are generally based on such human foundations.
In view of this indefensible attitude we shall have to show its utter groundlessness.

It is beside our present object to enumerate all the cases where the punctuation has been changed, though all are of interest, and many are of importance.

These changes may be classed under three heads.

Where the Edition of 1611 is to be preferred to the later Editions.
Where the changes in the later Editions are improvements; and
Where there are other proposed changes which we suggest as being most desirable.
We shall proceed to give a few examples under each of these three heads.
(1) Changes in punctuation where the Edition of 1611 is certainly to be preferred to the later Editions.

1 Kings 19:5, "And as he [Elijah] lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold then, an angel touched him." In 1769 this was altered to "behold, then." This comma after "behold" has continued to the present day.

Nehemiah 9:4, "Then stood up upon the stairs of the Levites, Joshua, &c." In the Edition of 1769 this was changed to "Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Joshua."

Psalm 79:11, "come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power: Preserve thou, etc.": instead of "come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou." This change was made in 1769.

Psalm 89:46, "How long, LORD, wilt thou hide thyself, for ever?" instead of "How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever?" The third comma of 1611 was removed in 1629,* 1638, 1744, 1769, and in the current editions.

* Not 1630. In 1762 this comma was replaced by a semicolon.
In Proverbs 1:27, the final colon of 1611-1630 after "cometh upon you": is preferable to the present full-stop, introduced in 1629, and retained in the current editions.
In Proverbs 19:2, the comma before "sinneth" should be restored, which was discarded in 1762.

In Proverbs 21:28, the comma before "speaketh" should be restored, which was removed in 1769.

Hosea 7:11, "a silly dove, without heart" instead of "silly dove without heart," since 1629; as though the last two words related to the dove, instead of to Ephraim.

John 2:15, "and the sheep and the oxen." In 1630 (not 1638 and 1743), 1762, and current editions, a comma was introduced after "sheep."

John 18:3, "a band of men, and officers." In 1769 the comma after "men" was dropped; hence, the Roman cohort is not distinguished from the Jewish officers.

Acts 11:26, "taught much people, and the disciples were called." This was so from 1611 to 1630, both clauses being dependent on the verb "it came to pass." Two things came to pass, (1) that the people were taught, and (2) that the disciples were first called Christians. But in 1638-1743 the comma was replaced by a semicolon, and in 1762 by
a full stop: the latter being quite against the Greek.*

* The RV goes back to the semicolon, but not to the comma of 1611.
2 Corinthians 13:2, "as if

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0 #4 Jim23 2013-03-13 12:14
Thank you for your ministry and your willingness to stand for "right division"! It is SO necessary to correctly interpret the Word. :lol:
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+1 #3 garymr7 2012-07-26 14:11
Thank you very much for the info. Wow, alot to take in. Lord Jesus, I give you thanks and praise. You have given me so much, so little time to learn your word, but well worth it. Bless you all!!
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+4 #2 alissa 2012-02-02 11:57
I really LOVE this page. I AM A BELIEVER!! :lol:
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Today the principles of right division have been almost lost so we offer teachings from the Word of God that will illuminate how to rightly divide the Scriptures.  2 Timothy 2:15 states "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth".  Click to learn more.

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