Saturday, August 1, 2015

How must we rightly divide the word of truth

In the last post I mentioned why we must rightly divide the Bible, now I will look at how we should do it. But first I will tell you what happens when the Bible is not rightly divided.



JEW: The Bible says to keep the Law of Moses to be saved. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. (Deut. 6:25)

PENTECOSTAL CHARISMATIC: You have to believe on Christ, get water baptized, and have an apostle lay hands on you so that Christ will baptize you with the Holy Ghost. Then Peter said unto them, 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....Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38, 8:14-17)

"CHURCH OF CHRIST": You must repent, believe, confess, get baptized, and live godly the rest of your life. Then Peter said unto them, 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. (Acts 2:38). For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mat. 16:27). For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mat. 5:20).

BAPTIST: You must come to an altar and confess Christ before men after giving your heart and life to God. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Mat. 10:32-33). Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Mat. 16:24-27)

SAVED CHRISTIAN: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, do not do any works. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30-31). Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,. (Eph. 1:13).

As you can see, there are many different Bible answers that can be given to the question What Must I Do To Be Saved. All five groups of people gave five different belief systems and each one gave verses that state exactly what they believe. The COC gave verses that said what they believe, but so did the Christian. Both gave verses that said exactly what they believe.

Now here is what happens when these guys get together. One guy gives his verses, the other guy gives his verses, and then they both stand there and dual with them.

The COC preacher gives his verses on why we must do works of righteousness to be saved (Matt. 3:15, 5:20, Acts 2:38) and then all the COC people say "Amen! We're right and everyone else is wrong!"

But then the Christian pastor gives his verses why salvation is by grace through faith without works (Acts 13:38-39, 16:30-31, Eph. 1:13, 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-7, 2 Tim. 1:9, Rom. 3-5). Then all of us saved Christians say "Amen! We're right and everyone else is wrong!"

Both sides gave verses that state exactly what they believe. That is a problem, because that would mean that the scripture contradicts itself. However, the Bible is pure (Ps. 12:6, 119:140, Prov. 30:5-6).

So why does the Bible have contradictions? How do we reconcile the differences in verses that contradict? How do we rightly divide the Bible? (2 Tim. 2:15)

You divide the Bible by acknowledging the distinctions in God's word. 2 Timothy 2:15 does not say to divide truth from error, it says to divide the word of truth. That is, dividing truth from truth.

Here are six contradictions in scripture. Each commandment God gives is contrary to the last one. However, if you look at the context of each commandment you will notice that each one is given in a different economy/dispensation.  

Genesis 2:
[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
[16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
[17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die

Genesis 9:
[1] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
[2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
[3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
[4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat

Leviticus 11:
[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
[2] Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
[3] Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
[4] Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
[5] And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
[6] And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
[7] And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
[8] Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you

Acts 10:
[9] On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
[10] And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
[11] And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
[12] Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
[13] And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
[14] But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
[15] And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
[16] This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven

Acts 15:
[19] Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
[20] But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
[21] For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
[22] Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
[23] And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
[24] Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
[25] It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
[26] Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[27] We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
[28] For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
[29] That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well

1 Timothy 4:
[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
[2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
[3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
[4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
[5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer

Colossians 2:
[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
[15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
[16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
[17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ

Revelations 2:
[14] But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
[15] So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
[16] Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
[17] He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
[18] And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
[19] I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
[20] Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols

Notice each dispensation (dispensing of revelation) is different. In each one God is dealing with different people with different sets of rules. Here they are:

  1. God was dealing with two people, Adam and Eve. He was dealing with them in a perfect garden called Eden and the two people there are sinless. The only rule was that they could only eat fruits/vegetables and they could not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 
  2. The second dispensation was with "Noah and his sons" and in it God said that they could eat anything they wanted as long as the blood was cooked out of it. 
  3. The third dispensation was between God and a nation of physical descendants of Abraham. God had chosen a nation that He made a covenant and testament with. God gave a set of laws that this nation was to obey with their whole heart and soul. Those who did not follow these laws would be cursed. The rules for what they could eat are found in Leviticus 11 and it divides animals into clean and unclean categories. The nation was only allowed to eat the clean animals. 
  4. The next dispensation was in Acts chapter 10 when God told Peter that he could eat any animal he wanted. The context of the verses show us that God had begun to transition from dealing with the nation of Israel and was beginning His dealings with the Gentiles (see Acts 22:20 and God's purpose for Paul and all of Acts chapter 10).
  5. The next dispensation was given by the apostles and elders (filled with the Holy Ghost) at a church in Jerusalem. This dispensation states that Gentile believers must abstain from meat that had been offered to idols, meat that had been strangled, and meat with blood in it. This dispensation was given because of the contentions between Hebrew and Gentile believers (see all of Acts 15, 1 Cor. 8, and Rom. 14).
  6. The next dispensation is the one we are presently under, it states that you can eat anything you want and not to let any man judge you in it. This dispensation was given after the "elect" "remnant" of Israel accepted the gospel of grace by the close of Acts (see the transition in Acts from Jew to Gentile in  1:6, 2:14, 3:25, 9:15, 10:1-48, 13:45-46, 18:6, 28:28 and the purpose for pleasing and provoking the Jews during that time in Rom. 11:1-27 and 1 Cor. 9:12-24.)
  7. The last dispensation is one that begins after the economy of Grace (Rom. 6:14). It is a dispensation in which God resumes dealing with the nation of Israel (Rom. 11:25-27) and the New Covenant Law is in place, a modified version of the Mosaic Law. The nation of Israel is back under the dietary laws as found in Leviticus 11 and cannot eat things offered to idols. This dispensation takes place in the Day of the Lord, Daniel's 70th Week (Rev. 1:10, Matt. 24:14-20, Heb. 7:12). 
As you can see, God has seven different dispensations concerning dietary rules. All of the rules are different, but they are all TRUTH. That is the answer to how must we rightly divide the Bible. You do it by separating things that differ. Things that are different are not the same. If two verses contradict, then they are not talking about the same thing.

Acts 2:38 contradicts Acts 8:14-17 which contradicts Acts 10:43-44. Those three passages are in different settings. In Acts 2:38 God is offering the Kingdom to Israel with the 12 apostles of Israel preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Acts 1:6-8, 2:14, 2:30, 3:19-26, Matt. 24:14). The twelve apostles were apostles of Israel (Matt. 10:5-8, 19:28). That is not the same thing as the Dispensation of Grace committed to the apostle of the Gentiles, Paul (Eph. 3:1-9, Acts 20:24, 1 Cor. 2:7-8, 4:15-16, 11:1-2, 15:1-4, Rom. 11:13). Israel fell in Acts chapter 7 for rejecting the King and the Holy Ghost (Rom. 11:1-25, Acts 7:51, Mark 3:28-29, Luke 12:10, Matt. 12:31-32, 1 Thes. 2:14-16). God then blinded Israel and saved the apostle Paul to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ and the fellowship of the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:1-9). Paul is THE apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13, 15:15-16) and was given the Gospel of the Grace of God which he taught to the other apostles in Acts 15 (Gal. 1:11-12, 2:1-9). He is the pattern for those who believed the gospel after him and he is who Christ told us to follow (1 Tim. 1:11-16, Titus 1:1-3, 1 Cor. 3:9-11, 4:15-16, 11:1-2, Phil. 3:17, 2 Tim. 2:7). 

Which is why we must rightly divide the word of truth, separating God's truth and putting it in its proper time line. Here is an illustration of wrongly dividing the word of truth....

2 Timothy 2:
[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
[16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
[17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
[18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some

Hymenaeus and Philetus did not rightly divide the word of truth. They said that the resurrection was in times past when it is really still future. They put the resurrection in the wrong time period. For the different time periods that are laid out in the Bible, see the scriptures given in this post:

--Eli Caldwell

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your questions or comments welcome.