Wednesday, October 17, 2012
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).
Literally tens of thousands of groups claim and quote the Bible, but they all have starkly opposing views. How can they use the same text to promote these antithetical views? Whom are we to believe?! How do we solve these contradictions?
The Bible’s first verse notifies us of a division—heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1)—which is present even in the Bible’s closing book (Revelation 21:1). As expected, God has a program that concentrates on heaven (mystery; Romans 16:25), and another program that focuses on earth (prophecy; Acts 3:21). Also, He has one agency He will use in heaven (the Church the Body of Christ; Ephesians 2:6,7), and another He will use on earth (the nation Israel; Exodus 19:5,6). All of God’s dealings with mankind can be divided into three time periods—“time past” (past), “but now” (present), and “the ages to come” (future) (Ephesians 2:7,11-13).
As today’s Scripture indicates, we seek God’s approval, not a church or preacher’s approval. During Bible study, it is ALWAYS crucial to our spiritual wellbeing that we note the author and audience of that passage/book, lest we claim verses God never promised us. We should not steal Israel’s verses, and she should not take ours. This is “rightly dividing the word of truth!”
Every Bible verse fits into one of those two programs—prophecy or mystery—and we must never mix those programs and their unique doctrines. Part of the Bible is written to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace (the mystery program)—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—and the rest of the Bible deals with Israel and her earthly prophetic (kingdom) program. If we mix these programs, contradictions (and denominations) will arise. Oh, the confusion!! Church tradition and careless theologians have done us such a great disservice, wrongly dividing God’s Word, trying to apply verses to us that God never gave us (instead He gave them to Israel).
Dispensational Bible study is the only way to understand God’s Word, for this is the way God Himself designed His Word to be studied.