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Friday, March 31, 2006

2 Tim. 2:15: Orthotomeo VII

To conclude my discussion of ορθοτομεω I now consider the expression as synonymous with ευθειας ποιειτε τας τριβους αυτου 'make his paths straight' in Matthew 3:3 and ευθυνατε την οδον κυριου in John 1:23. Without going into any analysis of the use of these quotatations in the New Testament, I am simply going to try to translate ορθοτομεω in such a way that the connection and the synonymy will be transparent, if that is at all possible.

    Mathew 3:3
    make his paths straight. ESV, NRSV
    make straight paths for him.'" NIV

    Proverbs 3:6
    In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ESV, NRSV
    in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight NIV
At this point I simply want to translate ορθοτομεω τον λογον τνς αληθειας as 'make straight the path of the true word'. I will even consider 'make straight the path of the True Word'. That, however, seems overly interpretative. However, I would like to think that this inference is there. It is possible that Paul is talking about preaching Christ, not preaching the written word.

One last stop on the way. The Vamva New Tesatment will offer the added commentary of the modern Greek interpretation.

    14 ταυτα υπενθυμιζε διαμαρτυρομενος ενωπιον του Κυριου, να μη λογομαχωσι, το οποιον δεν ειναι εις ουδεν χρησιμον, αλλα φερει καταστροφην των ακουοντων.
    15 Σπουδασον να παραστησης σεαυτον δοκιμον εις τον θεον, εργατην ανεπαισχυντον, ορθοτομουντα τον λογον της αληθειας
    16 Τας δε βεβηλους ματαιοφωνιας φευγε. διοτι θελουσι προχωρησει εις πλειοτεραν ασεβειαν,
    17 Και ο λογος αυτων θελει κατατρωγει ως γαγγραινα, εκ των οποιων ειναι ο Υμεναιος και ο Φιλητος,
    18 οιτινες απεπλανηθησαν απο της αληθειας, λεγουντες οτι εγεινεν ηδη η αναστασις, και ανατρεπουσιν την πιστιν τινων.
    19 Το στερεον ομως θεμελιον του Θεου μενει, εχον την σφραγιδα ταυτην. Γνωπιζω ο Κυριος τους οντας αυτου, και Ας απομακρυνθη απο της αδικιασ πας οστις ονομαζει το ονομα του Χριστου.
Here is my translation at this point. It varies only in a few phrases from the major standard translations, but it gives me more insight into Paul's thinking and his associations.

    14 Remind them of these things and warn them before God not to war about words, which does no good but causes those who listen to fall down.
    15 Make every effort to demonstrate to God that you are trustworthy, a worker with no reason to be ashamed, making straight the path of the true word.
    16 Avoid nonsensical wordiness, for it will lead people into more and more impiety,
    17 And their word will spread like a cancer. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
    18 Who have wandered away from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.
    19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: "The Lord acknowledges those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from injustice.”
I have chosen 'acknowledge' in verse 19 since it reflects the interpretation in the Vamva translation. Also in verse 18, the Vamva translation gives the more easily understood αποπλαναω instead of αστοχεω. This demonstrates that for Vamva, the semantic domain of following a road is relevant. While it is tempting to make this contrast between ορθοτομεω and αποπλαναω more transparent, I felt it was necessary to use 'make' or 'prepare' the path, rather than 'guide on a straight path', because of the association with a worker.

Now it is obvious that Paul bases his teaching on Proverbs 3:6, "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." This passage was familiar to both Timothy and himself, but now Paul shifts the players. The trustworthy worker will make straight the path of the True Word and in return the Lord will acknowledge them.


At Mon Aug 27, 01:32:00 AM, Blogger Mario said...

Hello, In my greek church (and denomination in greece) we confidently understand of orthotomeo to be a distinct word deliberately used by Ap. Paul to indicate the responsibility of the Christian teacher to apply conceptually the Word correctly.
Specifically, it has a significant meaning speaking of the minister's and consequently overall the church's responsibility to follow correct-ortho, basis-tomo (which has a division connotation) for 1. each theological belief and 2. each ecclesiastical function and way of conduct. It is our observation that Christian churches orthotomoun much better theologically but rate poorly in their orthotomisi on matters of conduct and ecclesiastical functions.


At Sun Sep 21, 07:52:00 PM, Blogger sovereign797 said...

I think 'rightly divide' is the appropriate interpretation, as the focal point of the sentence is study, not implementation. That is, here Timothy is encouraging the reader to separate truth from false, and is an implication that not all that is made of The Word is, in fact, true. Is is not sufficient to hear the Word, it must be rightly understood, and that requires dividing the proper understanding from the improper.


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