- Published: 14 April 2011
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I have been reading some of your daily teachings. To be honest, I don't understand the point you are trying to make. I get the impression your trying to pick apart the Bible and some things I think you are taking out of context. I hope for your sake, that I have just misunderstood you.
God Bless your beautiful heart and thank you for writing. We have included this short teaching to help illustrate why some but not all Scripture is written to us as rules to live by and that all of Scripture is written for our learning but may not apply to our administration or dispensation of God.
This verse divides naturally into three parts:
- The approval of God.
- The unashamed workman.
- The essential principle of interpretation.
If Timothy is to be unashamed of his work he must know and appreciate these distinctions, otherwise (by occupying himself with service that belongs to other callings and dispensations, and so not being engaged in Gods building), his work, being revealed by fire, will be found worthless. While Timothy might be expected to perceive the necessity of right division, Paul is anxious that he should not be left to his own inferences. How then shall the apostle best put the principle that is vaguely seen at work right through chapter 1? Shall he once more go back in mind to the child Timothy at his mothers knee? Shall he visualize the teaching of those holy Scriptures that had made Timothy wise unto salvation? Does he remember that a Jewish mother would most certainly teach her boy some of the Proverbs? and that Timothys father, being a Greek, and living in Galatia, would most certainly have read the Greek version of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint? We cannot tell, but this we do know, that Timothy needed no explanation of the term right division. We can dismiss all attempts by commentators to discredit this fact and feel perfectly safe in doing so, because we shall be comparing spiritual things with spiritual. In the Bible used by Timothy occurs the following verse:
- Pasais hodois sou gnorize auten, hina orthotome tas hodous sou (Paroimai 3:6).
- In all thy ways acquaint thyself with it (fem. ref. to sophia wisdom, in verse 5) in order that it may rightly divide thy paths (Prov. 3:6).
- Orthotomeo, To rightly divide.
- Temno, to cut, does not occur in the New Testament but several combinations of the word are found.
- Sharper, Tomoteros. Sharper than a two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12).
- Sharply, Apotomos. Rebuke them sharply (Tit. 1 13).
- Peritemno and peritome refer to circumcision, and there is no need to stress the literal meaning of either the Greek or the English. The word finds its place in our own language, and in such surgical expressions as anatomy, tracheotomy, and phlebotomy, the primary meaning of cutting is retained unaltered.
Moreover, let us repeat that what is here to be rightly divided is, and remains, the Word of Truth. No higher critical cutting up of the Scriptures is countenanced by this Word, and indeed we have only to read on to find in 2 Timothy 3:16 one of the most emphatic statements concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures that the New Testament contains. We can, however, easily rob the Word of its truth if we fail to rightly divide it. We can confound law and grace, to our undoing; we can preach Moses where we ought to preach Christ. We can be concerned with earthly things, to our loss, if our calling is associated with things above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. If we attempt to spiritualize the promises made to the fathers, we rob the word of promise of its truth. If we misinterpret Israel as of the Church; if we confound the Bride with the Body; if we preach the gospel of the circumcision to the Gentile to-day; if we do any of these things, we rob the Word of its Truth.
One glorious result of rightly dividing the word of truth is that every statement of God may be taken without alteration. For instance, in the case of the promise, the meek shall inherit the earth, a rightly divided word has no need to substitute heaven for earth.
- Let us heed this word of exhortation. If we are not occupied with that part of Gods purpose which has a present application, we shall most certainly be ashamed of our work. In other words, whether found in Genesis, Romans, Ephesians or the Revelation, "Dispensational Truth" is all the truth there is.
Passing from the meaning of Right Division let us take an illustration of the application of this principle from the ministry of the Lord Himself. In Luke 4:16-21 we read that the Saviour upon returning from Galilee to Nazareth, entered the synagogue and stood up for to read. He was given the book of the prophet Isaiah and He found the place where it was written:
- The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18,19).
- To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.
The Acceptable year of the Lord.
Fulfilled at first advent
4 <-------------------> 21
(over 1900 years)
The Day of Vengeance of our God.
Fulfilled at 2nd advent
While the Word of God is written FOR all persons, and FOR all time, yet it is true that not every part of it is addressed TO all persons or ABOUT all persons IN all time (How to Enjoy the Bible, Dr. E. W. Bullinger).
Hence, we can say that the Scriptures refer to three companies or classes, Jew, Gentile and Church of God, or we can say that the Scriptures relate to three spheres of blessing, The Earth, The Heavenly Jerusalem and Far above all. Yet again, the Scriptures are concerned with The Kingdom of Israel, The Bride of the Lamb and the Church which is His Body. Some of the epistles are specifically addressed to the Dispersion.
- To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting (Jas. 1:1).
- To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus ... Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1).
As to the DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH and TEACHING.
- (1) One part of the PAST not necessarily to be read into another part of the PAST.
- (a) Matt. 10:5,6 and 28:19,20.
- (b) Luke 9:3 and 22:35,36.
- (2) The PAST not to be read into the PRESENT.
- (a) Law and Grace.
- (b) Imprecatory Psalms.
- (c) The Sabbath.
- (d) The Kingdom.
- (e) The Gospels.
- (f) The Sermon on the Mount.
- (g) The Lords Prayer.
- (h) The Priesthood.
- (i) Baptisms.
- (k) The prophecy of Amos. Amos 9:11,12, Acts 15:14-18
- (l) The title Son of Man.
- (3) The PRESENT not to be read into the PAST.
- (a) The Mystery.
- (b) Sons of God.
- (c) The Church.
- (4) The FUTURE not to be read into the PRESENT.
- (a) The Great Tribulation.
- (b) The 144,000.
- (c) Sundry Prophecies. Psa. 2; Isa. 2; Isa. 40.
- (d) The Day of the Lord.
- (5) One part of the FUTURE not necessarily to be read into another part of the FUTURE.
- (a) The Advents.
- (b) The Resurrections.
- (c) The Judgments. 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt 25:31-36; Rev. 20:11-15.
- (6) The truth and teaching of the CANONICAL ORDER to be distinguished from the CHRONOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL ORDER.
- (a) The Tabernacle.
- (b) The Great Offerings.
- (c) The Four Gospels.
- (d) 1 Samuel 16 to 18.
- (e) The book of Jeremiah.
- (f) The Pauline Epistles.
The expansion of this principle of right division is only limited by the limits of Scripture itself.
Please consider the teachings from the Right Division section.
All God's Blessings,