Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
What are Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. We might paraphrase this by, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a laborer without cause for shame, correctly apportioning the word of truth.
This is not to be an improvement, but a help in explaining it. It is helpful at times to try expressing things in various ways. In Eph. 4:3 we find the word endeavoring, but the Greek is the same as studying. But also we find the word in Gal. 2:10 where it is forward or zealous. This will give some idea of the meaning.
This does not mean that we are to endeavor to work for our salvation. It is not seeking approval by good works in the sense of being saved by works. A workman is one who is already hired, the servant. And he is supposed to do a good job at whatever he may be doing. But here it is rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
The Word of Truth makes some divisions that men have forgotten about, or never knew. The kingdom and the church are distinctly divided in the Word. But Christendom is very careless about this. And so they speak of the church which is the body of Christ as the bride. But the bride is Israel, and so has to do with the kingdom on earth, not heavenly places.
Law and grace are all mixed up, and some think that the law of Israel is in effect in the Gentile church of today. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Even back when Israel had the law, when Paul wrote to the Galatians, he made it plain that the Gentile believers had no business being circumcised and obeying Israel's law. And the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15 verified that very thing. But Christendom does not know. And there was a time when Israel did not know, no not as much as the ox and ass. See Isa. 1:3. And Christendom does no better.
At the end of the flood, there was a change in climate, a change in diet, and a change in that murder was to be punished by death.
At Babel began the building of cities, a great curse to mankind. Also a change in language. And so the nations were given up as in Romans 1:18-32. But at that very time a new nation was promised which would some day restore the law of God to the earth. So Abraham enters the picture and the nation, Israel.
There are other changes during the OT. And the same things went on in the NT to a certain point. The NT begins with the offer of the kingdom, and Acts 28:28 reveals the kingdom set aside and postponed to a future season.
But for today the great good news is that at Acts 28:28 the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles. And immediately the present dispensation of the mystery was revealed by the apostle Paul. And this dispensation is still in force at this writing. And so we are to study to shew ourselves approved as we teach.
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