Introduction to The Right Division Project
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Welcome to the right division project! Simply stated, we the creators of this website do not promote any pastor, teacher, organized religion, church, society, or institution. We have no agenda for this website other than to provide Christians with a source of accurate “scripture based” information capable of enabling them to correctly interpret the word of truth for themselves. With the ability to “rightly divide” comes the capability to understand Bible doctrine.
The material in this website will be an ongoing effort. It is our hope and prayer that you will find something here spiritually beneficial to you and that you will check back for new material on a regular basis.
The Creators of the Project:
My name is Thomas D. Cotten. I am a
senior citizen; a retired engineer employed by an East Texas REA
cooperative. I have been married to the love of my youth for over 54
years. I’m the East Texan that writes most of the notes and
commentaries. I have one son who is my partner in this project.
Neither he, nor I have any formal Bible schooling; however, we both have
spent the majority of our adult lives studying Bible doctrine under
My son’s name is Daniel L. Cotten. He
lives in a north Houston suburb. He has a degree from Stephen F. Austin
University and is employed by a major food chain. He is the webmaster
for this site. It is my desire and prayer that Daniel will, at some point, also become a contributing writer.
wife, Linda, is the editor of what I write. She checks everything from
spelling and grammar through composition and demeanor, plus provides
invaluabIe biblical input.
Update: In November of 2012 Linda
and I moved to Conroe, Texas.
"Cotten"s Corner" contains ongoing, relatively short documents concerning various bible doctrines. New documents are posted to the website on or about the first of every month, and they can be found in the left side-bar by clicking on "Other Writings." Hopefully, you will find something new and interesting there to read and study each and every month.
Located in the sidebar of the Right
Division Project index there is a King James Bible (Matthew through Revelation) including a commentary written by yours truly, devoted primarily to comments concerning rightly dividing the word of truth.
At the present time my comments are rather sparse, but it is a work in
progress. It’s just slow. This is quite an undertaking for this old man; but, I am confident that if writing this commentary is something that God wants done, He will give me the time, energy, determination and wisdom to get it done, or maybe He'll provide someone else to finish it; possibly my son.
My background in Bible doctrine
began in an Independent Missionary Baptist Church. By the time I reached
about 30 years of age, I found myself questioning some of their doctrines, and
they were unable to answer any of my growing list of questions. The
reason I had questions and the reason they couldn’t answer them was because, at that time, neither of us knew how to rightly divide the scriptures. It was about this time that I realized I
really wasn’t a Baptist and bid those folks a fond farewell. Having said
all this, let me give credit where credit is due. From my association with the
Baptists, I learned the accurate plan of salvation. Because of the gospel these
people and my parents taught me, I will spend eternity in heaven with my Savior, Jesus Christ.
It was then that I was
introduced to the teachings of Colonel R. B. Thieme, Jr. He was acclaimed to
have all the answers to my questions. I was told that he knew the Bible
like no other because he was the premier expert in the original languages.
I am sorry to admit, like many of his followers, I fell into the trap of
studying his books and tapes rather than studying the Bible. At about 60 years of age, I became discontented with some
of the doctrine being taught. Once again I walked away - this time from
the Thiemites. Again let me give credit. From Colonel Thieme I learned a
tremendous amount of accurate Bible doctrine, including such doctrines as the angelic conflict, the appeals trial of Satan, the
essence of God and the hypostatic union of His Son, Jesus Christ.
It was after leaving the Thieme camp that I was introduced to the writings of J. C. O’Hair. Amazingly, a man who died over 50 years ago gave me my first glimpse at "right division". Mr. O’Hair didn’t have all the answers, but from what he wrote I was able to put it all together through the mentoring of God the Holy Spirit. So, from the Mid-Acts Dispensationalists, I learned how to rightly divide the word of truth. The ability to "rightly divide" finally provided the answers to those biblical questions that had confounded me for much of my life. Consequently, I am the sum total of those who taught me and I truly believe that my background with these three groups of people gives me a distinct advantage in depth and ability to understanding Bible doctrine.
During the time I was studying the writings of Mr. O’Hair, my son, Daniel, telephoned. “Dad,” he asked, "remember me telling you about those writings of J. C. O’Hair on the web? Remember me saying it was probably nothing we would be interested in? I misspoke. You need to read his material. I’ve never heard anything like it before in my life.” I answered, “Yes, I know. I’ve been reading it too and he’s right about most of what he says.” That was about the time Daniel also left the Thiemites. I find it amazing that through independent study my son, my wife and I all came to the knowledge of how to rightly divide the word of truth at the same time and did so without influencing one another.
The Mechanics of Right Division:
Since you are reading the introduction to this website, you already know that for much of my life I was a member of the Baptist church. As I moved from one locale to another, so I also moved my membership in the Baptist church. Over an extended period of time I was exposed to “Baptist doctrine,” as they like to call it, from a number of different Baptist pastors in a number of different Baptist churches.
During this time, I encountered numerous confused souls to whom I presented the gospel of salvation, explaining how that Jesus Christ had died for their sins. Then, I would go to Ephesians 2:8-9 and quote them “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” These scriptures obviously, flatly state that a person is saved by the grace of God, and that, that grace is obtained through faith in His son, Jesus Christ; and that salvation is a free gift not obtained through works.
Then I would explain that salvation is an eternal gift that cannot be lost. Often I would go to Romans 8:38-39 which says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Certainly, sins are present things as well as things to come in the lives of all people whether they are saved or unsaved. Therefore sin, according to the scripture, cannot separate the believer from the love of God, which obviously means that he can neither lose fellowship with God in time nor can he lose his eternal salvation. It all seemed so simple to me. Surely, I thought, anyone could understand it.
Then came the questions. Note: The following questions and comments are examples of how many people respond to the presentation of accurate Bible doctrine. Read all the following questions and comments as though they were being presented by someone questioning the validity of the two statements pertaining to salvation that I have made in the above paragraphs.
Question #1 – If salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone why did the Lord say in Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The Lord said both belief and baptism are necessary for salvation, didn’t He? Sure he did.
Question #2 – And why did Peter say in Acts 2:38 “. . . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Peter says repent (be sorry because of your sins, quit doing them, turn away from them) and be baptized for the remission of sins. Isn’t remission of sins what salvation is really all about? Doesn’t Peter say you need to do more than just believe in Jesus for salvation?
Question #3 – Doesn’t 1 John 1-9 say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Doesn’t John say that it is necessary to confess your sins before you can be cleansed? Doesn’t John say that forgiveness is conditional on whether or not we confess our sins. Isn’t confession something else required for salvation other than just faith? Surely, you’re not going to tell me that God’s forgiveness of sins and cleansing of unrighteousness pertains to something other than salvation.
Question #4 – What part of James 2:24 is it that you don’t understand? “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” I don’t know how it can get much clearer than that. James says flat out that salvation is not by faith alone. Don’t you believe the book of James is part of the inspired word of God?
Question #5 – Didn’t the Lord say in Matthew 19:16-21, “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” So, isn’t keeping the law a necessity for eternal life? Isn’t being generous and charitable part of being a good Christian? Don’t we need to follow Jesus in order to be saved? Did Jesus lie to this young man when he told him all these things were necessary in order to have eternal life? I think not.
Question #6 – If being good or being bad isn’t pertinent to salvation why did the Lord say in John 5:28-29 “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Sounds to me like human conduct determines in which direction one goes after death. Isn’t this about being good in order to be saved? Sounds to me as if there is more to salvation than just believing that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and has provided us with eternal salvation through faith in Him as personal Savior. Can you explain this scripture to me?
Question #7 – You say we can’t lose our salvation – once saved, always saved. If that’s true, what about Hebrews 10:26-27? It says “if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” This doesn’t sound like once saved, always saved to me. Where is grace in this passage? How do you explain this scripture? How do you explain any of the above scriptures? I can give you at least a hundred more of these. If you can’t explain these few, how are you going to make the rest line up with your theory of faith alone in Christ alone for salvation and the eternal security of the believer? Answer me that.
Good News For You:
Back in those days, I couldn’t answer any of the above seven listed questions without changing the scriptures to make them say what they obviously didn’t say. Today it’s easy as “rightly dividing the word of truth." If you are saved and don’t have the answers to the above questions, it’s because you don’t know how to “rightly divide.” Don’t despair. By the grace of God, I can provide the information and the mechanics of “right division” and God the Holy Spirit can enable you to understand and learn. In the left sidebar of this website, you will find a listing for "other writings. Click on "other writings" and a list of documents will appear. Click on these documents to open them. If you study these documents you can learn "how to rightly divide the word of truth" which will enable you to answer all of the above questions plus many more. “Right division” will cause you to change the way you think about the scriptures. But that’s good. The truth will set you free to understand bible doctrines that you were never before able to understand.
Positive/constructive feedback is welcome. However, we have no interest in debating anyone concerning the doctrines we teach. The information at this website is intended to help those Christians who are positive about learning Bible doctrine. If after a thorough investigation of what we teach, you are still in disagreement, we suggest that rather than trying to argue with us, you search out other websites for teachings that are compatible with your viewpoint.