Thyself approved, or acceptable to God.
Rightly handling. In the Greek, cutting or dividing the word of truth, according to the capacities of the hearers, and for the good of all. (Witham)
The Protestant version has, dividing the word of truth. All Christians challenge the Scriptures, but the whole is in the rightly handling them. Heretics change and adulterate them, as the same apostle affirms, 2 Corinthians xi. and 4. These he admonishes us (as he did before, 1 Timothy vi. 20.) to avoid, for they have a popular way of expression, by which the unlearned are easily beguiled. "Nothing is so easy "says St. Jerome, "as with a facility and volubility of speech to deceive the illiterate, who are apt to admire what they cannot comprehend. "(Ep. ii. ad Nepot. chap. 10)
This he has well said. For many distort the text of Scripture and pervert it in every way, and many additions are made to it. He has not said “directing” but “rightly dividing,” that is, cutting away what is spurious, with much vehemence assailing it and extirpating it. With the sword of the Spirit cut off from your preaching, as from a thong, whatever is superfluous and foreign to it.
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Everywhere this not being ashamed! And why is he ever so careful to guard him against shame? Because it was natural for many to be ashamed both of Paul himself, as being a tent-maker, and of the preaching, since its teachers perished. For Christ had been crucified, himself was about to be beheaded, Peter was crucified with his head downwards, and these things they suffered from audacious and despicable men. Because such men were in power, he says, Be not ashamed; that is, fear not to do anything tending to godliness, though it be necessary to submit to slavery or any other suffering. For how does any one become approved? By being a workman that needs not to be ashamed. As the workman is not ashamed of any work, so neither should he be ashamed who labors in the Gospel. He should submit to anything.
Rightly dividing the word of truth.
This he has well said. For many ...
And presbyters and deacons, pious men, righteous, meek, free from the love of money, lovers of truth, approved, holy, not accepters of persons, who are able to teach the word of piety, and rightly dividing the doctrines of the Lord.