2 Tim. 2:15: Orthotomeo V
Peter supplies 'cut off the head', 'cut down trees' 'cut stone' 'cut in two' 'cut out the tongue', and there is 'cut out leather' and 'cut short' as further compound words made with '-tomeo.' So this seems like a productive method for creating words.
My reactions so far are that 'temno' and compound words with '-tomeo' are about as common as 'cut' in English, that is very common. It appears that the image when 'temno' is combined with road can be one of 'cutting across country', or 'leading/guiding'. In this case 'handling' in English might not be quite right, but 'cutting with precision' is too strong the other way. Not that we don't want precision, but is this the connotation that Paul intends in using this word?
I know this does not take into account the stonecutting image but I have not been convinced that this is implied here. I want to stick with the road itself being cut in a straight direction across country. However, I am open to persuasion otherwise.
In the course of reading, I noticed the expression 'suntomos' for both taking a 'short cut across country', and being 'short and to the point' in speech. Therefore, a compound with '-tomos' can apply literally to travel and figuratively to speaking.
The meaning of the word 'temno' for a road seems to range from the road being built, the road being marked, the road leading somewhere, taking the road, being guided on the road and so on. The range is significant. The point made by David R. is important. Nothing replaces simply reading a lot of text in Greek/Hebrew.
So far, there has been more discussion about the '-tomeo' part of the word than 'orthos'. 'Orthos' means 'straight up', 'upright', 'straight', 'direct', 'on a straight path', 'correct and true'. I would also argue that it is a close synonym of 'euthus'. There does not seem to be any differentiation between the two words, at least as they are used in Biblical literature.
Here are the only other two occurences of the exact word 'orthotomeo' in literature.
- Proverbs 3:6
ἐν πάσαις ὁδοῖς σου γνώριζε αὐτήν
ἵνα ὀρθοτομῇ τὰς ὁδούς σου
ὁ δὲ πούς σου οὐ μὴ προσκόπτῃ
In all your ways make her known.
that she may make straight your ways,
[and your foot will not stumble] NETS
δικαιοσύνη ἀμώμους ὀρθοτομεῖ ὁδούς ἀσέβεια δὲ περιπίπτει ἀδικίᾳ
Righteousmess cuts out blameless paths
But impiety is beset with injustice NETS
This is a longer passage in Proverbs which, I think, will show the synonomy between ορθος, ευθυς, αγαθος and λειος, smooth; and their opposite κακος, bad; σκολιος, crooked; σκοτος, dark; and καμπυλος, bent; also οδος, road; τριβος, path; τροχος, course; βουλη, counsel, and αξων, axle.
- Proverbs 2:6 - 21
6 ὅτι κύριος δίδωσιν σοφίαν
καὶ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ γνῶσις καὶ σύνεσις
7 καὶ θησαυρίζει τοῖς κατορθοῦσι σωτηρίαν
ὑπερασπιεῖ τὴν πορείαν αὐτῶν
8 τοῦ φυλάξαι ὁδοὺς δικαιωμάτων
καὶ ὁδὸν εὐλαβουμένων αὐτὸν διαφυλάξει
9 τότε συνήσεις δικαιοσύνην καὶ κρίμα
καὶ κατορθώσεις πάντας ἄξονας ἀγαθούς
10 ἐὰν γὰρ ἔλθῃ ἡ σοφία εἰς σὴν διάνοιαν
ἡ δὲ αἴσθησις τῇ σῇ ψυχῇ καλὴ εἶναι δόξῃ
11 βουλὴ καλὴ φυλάξει σε
ἔννοια δὲ ὁσία τηρήσει σε
12 ἵνα ῥύσηταί σε ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ κακῆς
καὶ ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς λαλοῦντος μηδὲν πιστόν
13 ὦ οἱ ἐγκαταλείποντες ὁδοὺς εὐθείας
τοῦ πορεύεσθαι ἐν ὁδοῖς σκότους
14 οἱ εὐφραινόμενοι ἐπὶ κακοῖς
καὶ χαίροντες ἐπὶ διαστροφῇ κακῇ
15 ὧν αἱ τρίβοι σκολιαὶ
καὶ καμπύλαι αἱ τροχιαὶ αὐτῶν
16 τοῦ μακράν σε ποιῆσαι ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ εὐθείας
καὶ ἀλλότριον τῆς δικαίας γνώμης
17 υἱέ μή σε καταλάβῃ κακὴ βουλὴ
ἡ ἀπολείπουσα διδασκαλίαν νεότητος
καὶ διαθήκην θείαν ἐπιλελησμένη
18 ἔθετο γὰρ παρὰ τῷ θανάτῳ τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς
καὶ παρὰ τῷ ᾅδῃ μετὰ τῶν γηγενῶν τοὺς ἄξονας αὐτῆς
19 πάντες οἱ πορευόμενοι ἐν αὐτῇ οὐκ ἀναστρέψουσιν
οὐδὲ μὴ καταλάβωσιν τρίβους εὐθείας
οὐ γὰρ καταλαμβάνονται ὑπὸ ἐνιαυτῶν ζωῆς
20 εἰ γὰρ ἐπορεύοντο τρίβους ἀγαθάς
εὕροσαν ἂν τρίβους δικαιοσύνης λείους
21 χρηστοὶ ἔσονται οἰκήτορες γῆς
ἄκακοι δὲ ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ
ὅτι εὐθεῖς κατασκηνώσουσι γῆν
καὶ ὅσιοι ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ
Because the Lord give wisdom,
also from his presence come knowledge and understanding;
7 and he stores up salvation for those who succeed,
he will shield their journey
8 to guard the ways of righteous deeds
and he will protect the way of the ones who revere him.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and judgement
and you will make all good courses straight.
10 For if wisdom comes into your mind,
and perception seems pleasing to your soul,
11 Good counsel will guard you,
and holy insight will protect you,
12 In order that it can rescue you from an evil way
and from a man who speaks nothing reliable.
13 Oh, those who abandon straight ways
to walk in the ways of darkness;
14 who rejoice in evil
and are happy about evil perverseness
15 whose paths are crooked
and their courses are bent
16 in order to remove you far from the straight way
and to make you a stranger to a righteous opinion
17 My son do not let bad counsel overtake you,
that which forsakes the teaching of youth
and has forgotten the divine covenant;
18 for it has set her house near death
and its courses by Hades with the shades
19 all those who walk in her will not come back,
nor will they seize straight paths;
for they are not being seized by years of life.
20 For if they were walking good paths,
they would have found the smooth paths of righteousness,
21 The kind will be the inhabitants of the earth,
and the innocent will be left in it;
because the upright will dwell on the earth
and the holy will be left in it;
22 the ways of the impious will perish from the earth,
and the transgressors will be banished from it. NETS
At this point one can also see the introduction of a new dimension. The path must be not only straight but also smooth and level so that 'your foot will not stumble'. There is still a little way left to travel. The Hebrew should be considered as well as the Greek OT.