Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
The Basic Bible Truth
Life is complicated and full of surprises. Each day we see new trials and tests blocking our path and we wonder how we are to respond. For the Christian, there is a handbook called the Bible. If we will study it and familiarize ourselves with its truth, the questions that arise each day often have answers that God has already put into print for us to see. But we have to be reading and studying to find them. Everything we need to truly succeed in life is written in the pages of the Bible—everything! But too many of us set our Bibles up on a shelf and simply use them as bookends. We have a treasure trove of information at our fingertips, given by God specifically for us to use to govern our lives and live His way.
A WWII Anti Nazi Poem
We adore and admire Chancellor Hitler The eternal English land is unworthy of life. We curse, we crush the people beyond the sea. On earth, the Nazi alone will survive. Support then the German Fuhrer The youthful sailors will finish the odyssey. To them alone belongs a punishment. The palm of victory awaits the swastika
“Rightly divided” it reads a bit differently. Read the first half of each line as a group and the second half of each line as a group, and you will see an entirely different message communicated.
We adore and admire / Chancellor Hitler The eternal English land / is unworthy of life. We curse, we crush / the people beyond the sea. On earth, the Nazi / alone will survive. Support then / the German Fuhrer The youthful sailors / will finish the odyssey. To them alone belongs / a punishment. The palm of victory / awaits the swastika
I came across this poem many years ago. The story that went with it, as I recall, dates back to the Second World War. History tells us of the struggles of that time, especially for the English people. The USA was late coming into the war, and the English were determined to fight and defend themselves at all costs. One of the least publicized, but most interesting methods of fighting the war was a subversive propaganda war waged by Britain. They were well aware that not all of the German populace was firmly behind Hitler. His band of Nazi sympathizers had taken control of Germany, but there were many who disdained the Nazis and what they stood for, and what they were doing. So the British waged a war of words aimed at the people of Germany. It took many forms. The Nazis were a very “religious” group. Satan has always prided himself at being able to twist the worship of God into something ugly and sinful. The Nazi regime was a perfect example. Not to cast any aspersions of the Lutherans as a church, but during World War Two, a “good Nazi” was a “good Lutheran” as well. They had infused themselves into the denomination as well as taken control of the government.
As “religious” people, Nazis were confused about true worship and the people in leadership often turned their attention to the occult. They were fascinated with contacting the dead through séances and would employ fortune tellers and card readers to give them direction in life and militarily. The British exploited these weak spots during the war with their propaganda. Allow me to give you an example of how they would do this. The Germans had a very popular magazine that was published during the war in Germany that was known to print predictions and such for the general public to bolster public opinion for the Nazi regime and the war effort. The British government obtained one of these issues several months after its publication, and reprinted the exact same issue, but with their own information in place of the fortune telling. The English looked back at several instances where they had won a battle or driven the Germans back, and highlighted these exact instances as if they had been foretold by the prognosticator, along with dire expectations for the future. They then inundated Germany with their “new” version of the magazine, and many Germans read the copy of the “new” magazine in their hands, completely unaware of the forgery, and were crushed by the fortunes foretold for the German war effort. And the fortunes listed in that magazine had come true, every one of them.
As I was told the story, an individual from Britain entered a writing contest in Germany. The little poem above was his submission. It was eventually printed and distributed throughout Germany. What the Germans did not know at the time was that the poem could be divided in such a way as to proclaim victory for Britain and condemnation for Germany. You have to love British humor, don’t you?
This poem, “rightly divided”, displays the true meaning of the poem as penned by the writer. Now, I fully understand that the Bible verse we are looking at uses the phrase “rightly divided” as well, and I also understand what I have presented to you is not what “rightly divided” means. I simply took a quite literal interpretation of “rightly divided” to make my point. God’s Word is understandable on the surface, but there is more when you dig down deep. There are rich truths buried in Scripture that only “rightly dividing”—studying—will bring to light.
We live in a time in which all of us can have access to a printed or electronic copy of the Word of God. That has not always been the case throughout history. A verse comes to mind that says, to whom much is given, much will be required. We have been handed God’s Word, and have at our fingertips commentaries and materials to help us understand the Bible. We will be held accountable for how well we have used that which we have been given. May we “rightly divide” well.