Why do we need to Rightly Divide God’s Word?
Answers to Bible Questions
Scriptures are from the KJB
(Q) Why Do We Need to Rightly Divide God’s Word?
(A) We can be thankful that postal employees are more faithful than some Bible interpreters. If they were not, we might never get our mail! You see, postal workers must be careful to read the address on the envelope to make sure the right people get the right messages.
The Bible is no different. God has been very careful to address His Word to the people He intended to instruct. God has told us to rightly divide the Word of truth in II Timothy 2:15. If we don’t rightly divide the Word of truth, we will never understand the instructions He intended for us to live by today.
Some will say that as long as you are saved and going to Heaven, it doesn´t make any difference what you believe and how you look at the Word. The important thing, they say is that you are in the Word and we should all try and get along and love each other. So why do grace believers emphasize rightly dividing? First of all, the Bible tells us to do so in 2 Tim. 2:15. What is it? It is simply recognizing the divisions that God placed in the Bible. God has different sets of instructions for different groups of people for different periods of time. That which was make known (prophecy, Acts 3:21) is not the same as that which was kept secret (mystery, Romans 16:25). The Apostle Paul was the first and only one who was given instruction by the Lord for rightly dividing. (1 Tim. 1:16). Paul received a new body of truth from the risen Lord Jesus Christ that was never before revealed (Gal. 1:11-12). It is God´s mail to us as grace believers. What better way to learn how to rightly divide than by following our apostle by what was written in Romans through Philemon, the books he authored. (1Cor. 14:37, Romans 16:25, 1Cor. 4:16, 11:1, Col. 1:25, Phil. 4:9). It does make a difference what you believe because it has eternal implications, as well as whether or not you are confused or understand God´s Word today. There are many reasons to rightly divide, but in this short discussion, we will address a few of those reasons. Get a KJV Bible and look them up for yourself. Be a Berean and see what I mean. (Acts 17:11).
Paul preached the cross work of Jesus Christ . We are saved today by the cross, not at the cross (Eph. 2:16, 1Cor, 1:18). One can´t be saved today apart from believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Cor. 15:1-4). That truth is not found in the old testament nor in the Matt-John´s gospels. Gentile grace salvation is not available today unless we recognize right division and the distinctiveness of the gospel of grace revealed by God to the Apostle Paul which completed the Word of God (Col 2:25). Under the principle of progressive revelation, we should follow the most recent information that God has given to man. That was the revelation that was given to Paul over about a 40 year period and that is the program that God is currently operating under today, since we have a complete Bible. There is no greater importance of this fact since our eternal destiny is at stake-that of heaven or hell.
We must rightly divide the Word to expose Satan´s work of “spiritual wickedness” in high places according to Eph. 6:12. Satan seeks to discredit and bring dishonor upon believers and God´s use of them in order to save face in the eyes of his cohorts. This reproach of believers allows him to repair the damage to his pride and to his original claims about himself to be “like the most high” (Is. 14:12-14). The devil working “spiritual wickedness” is his counteracting response to the “spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph.1:3) that we as believers are to live in to bring glory to God. When believers fail to know, understand, appreciate and daily live in these “spiritual blessings”, Satan gets the opportunity to glory in himself. Satan seeks to dishonor and discredit us in view of the fact that God has honored and credited us “in Christ”. So, the fact that Satan´s aim is one of producing dishonor and discredit to counter the honor and credit we have “in Christ”, provides the key to understanding who is being glorified by a believer´s life. As believers, we need to daily put on the armor of God explained only by the Apostle Paul in order to be equipped to combat the wiles of the devil. (Eph. 6:10-18). The battle that rages today is what body of wisdom/truth/doctrine is going to operate in God´s people–the hidden wisdom of God contained in the mystery of Christ understood by rightly dividing the scriptures or the counter opposing wisdom of Satan. Whichever wisdom operates in God´s people brings glory to the author of such wisdom, whether God or Satan. Satan´s main attack today is using his ministers to advance false doctrine and religious superstitions in Christianity (2Cor. 11:14-15, Eph.4:17-18, Col. 2:4-8). He seeks to perpetrate the lie–another Jesus, another spirit, and gospel (2Cor. 4:3-4, Gal. 1:8-9, 1Tim. 4:1). Because Satan knows they mystery, he is behind mixing the doctrines of law and grace and prophecy and mystery to create mass confusion and/or ignorance among believers and keeping lost people from getting saved. Keeping people confused and ignorant in religion allows Satan to get the glory as well because people never realize all they are and have “in Christ”.
LAW AND GRACE
The purpose of the law was not only to increase sin (Rom. 3:20, 5:20, 1Cor. 15:56) but also to show man the knowledge of sin so that he would realize his inability to measure up to the standard required for salvation. (James 2:10) In time past under the law, there were over 600 rules that Israel has to obey as part of their salvation — it was faith plus works (law). Believers today are under grace not law (Romans 6:14). We are also dead to the law (Romans 7:4). Grace has been defined as “God´s Riches At Christ´s Expense” which sums it up nicely. Under grace we are saved by believing and trusting that Jesus Christ shed his blood, died, was buried and rose again to pay for all our sin (1Cor. 15:1-4). We don´t deserve it nor can we earn it. Salvation is a free gift with no works. (Eph. 2:8-9). Under law people were always reminded of sins but under grace, our sin problem has been totally dealt with by the cross. It is faith plus nothing, That body of truth called the dispensation of the grace of God was not known before the Apostle Paul received it (Eph. 3:1-3) so without right division, we would not have experienced salvation by grace without works. Unfortunately, today Christianity mixes the 2 programs because they fail to rightly divide.
Scripture teaches in Romans through Philemon that once saved, you are always saved (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30, 1Cor. 1:21, Rom. 6:22; 8:16, 31-39). If you could lose it, that means you had to do something to earn it and you were only on “probation”, which would be a conditional salvation. Salvation is a free gift and can´t be earned (Eph. 2:8-9). It is also complete and unconditional. Without right division there is no eternal security of the believer. There are verses in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that indicate a person must “endure to the end” to receive life and enter into the Kingdom. The book of Hebrews also warns against “falling away”. Enduring to the end is a reference to future tribulation that will come upon earth as a means of judgment on Israel for rejecting her Messiah. Concerning the warning of “falling away” in Hebrews, first know that the book of Hebrews was written to Israel, not the Body of Christ. Secondly, Hebrews follows Romans through Philemon, which is the revelation of the interruption in God´s dealing with Israel. When the age of grace is over and believers of this age are raptured out of this world into Heaven, God will resume his dealing with Israel. Therefore, the book of Hebrews is a warning to the nation of Israel not to “fall away” from following Christ during the tribulation. It has nothing to do with grace believers losing salvation. There´s no way to understand this apart from right division.
HEAVEN AND EARTH
The church, the Body of Christ will one day occupy the heavens (II Cor. 5:1) whereas, Israel will in the future occupy the earth in reference to God´s promised kingdom for them (Gen. 1:1; 12:1-3). This great truth can only be understood through right division by the Apostle Paul.
Today there is only one baptism which takes place when we believe the gospel of the grace of God and are placed into the Body of Christ by the Spirit [salvation] (Rom. 6:3, I Cor. 12:13, Eph 4:5, Col. 2:12). There is no water involved. It is a supernatural baptism. In the gospels and early Acts period, water baptism was a requirement for salvation (Matt.28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:32). Scripture records 12 baptisms but only 5 of them have to do with a water ceremony which all applied to Israel, not the Body of Christ (Mt. 3:13-15, Mk. 7:1-7, Lk. 3:3, Heb. 6:2;9:10, Acts 2:38). Without right division, that which was given for Israel´s program will be applied to the gentile grace dispensation and negate what God said about there being only baptism today. Sadly, most of Christianity today believe in something other than the one baptism explained by Paul.
BIBLICAL AND SOUND DOCTRINE
Today in the dispensation of grace, we have sound doctrine which term was only used by the Apostle Paul (2 Tim. 1:13, 2:2, 4:13; Titus 1:9, 2:1). There are many other doctrines in scripture that may be Biblical but if we fail to rightly divide the Word, that Bible itself can be destructive to our spiritual life (2 Peter 3:16, I Tim. 4:16, 6:3-5, 2Tim. 2:16-18, 25-26).
ADULT SONS AND CHILDREN
Without right division, you can´t access your full grown adult sonship position as a member of the Body of Christ (Gal. 4:4, Rom. 8:14). We get that at the moment of salvation. Israel, as children will not get their sonship position until God sets up the 1000 year kingdom on earth (Heb. 12:5-8).
JEWS AND GENTILES
The ministry of Jesus Christ on earth was to Jews only (Rom. 15:8, Mt. 10:5-6, 15:24). There were several exceptions because those gentiles recognized their position under Israel. Prior to the mystery revelation given to Paul, gentiles were saved by coming through Israel´s program (Eph. 2:11-13, Is, 49:6, 60:1-3). Today in the grace dispensation, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile; all are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9, 14-16, Rom. 10:12, Gal. 3:28). God set Israel aside when he instituted a new set of instructions through the Apostle Paul (Rom. 11:11-12,25, 32; Acts 13:46-47, 18:6, 25:28). He will resume Israel´s program when he ends grace with the rapture of the Church.
CIRMCISION AND UNCIRCUMCISION
Circumcision was required for salvation for Israel under the law (Gen. 17:10-14) and continued up through the gospels. As a gentile grace believer there is no circumcision for salvation. Paul teaches us that circumcision does not profit us at all. (Gal.5:2, 6; 6:15). Circumcision and uncircumcision also refers to 2 gospels as outlined by Paul in Gal.2:6-9. Peter was commissioned to go to the Jews with the gospel of the circumcision and Paul was sent with the gospel of the uncircumcision to the Gentiles. They were 2 distinct and different gospels. Failure to recognize that God changed the program with the Apostle Paul, will result in mixing the two gospels which is rampant in Christianity today.
Being in Christ today provides complete, total forgiveness as a present possession (Eph. 1:7. 4:32; Col. 1:14; 2:13). We do not ask for forgiveness when we sin today, but we recognize that at the time Christ died for us, all of our sins were future. We don´t take sin lightly, but we see it in light of the cross that his shed blood fully paid for our sins. If we fail to accept that the price he paid was not enough, we are really saying that Christ didn´t do it right the first time when he died. Christ no longer imputes sin to the believer since it is a settled issue (Rom. 4:8). Under the Old Covenant, an Israelite did not have total forgiveness; it was limited (Mt. 6:14-15, Heb. 10:1-4, 9-12). They had to sacrifice an animal yearly to receive forgiveness, which only provided a temporary covering for sins. An Israelite never had the assurance that we have today about forgiveness of sins. Some would say “what about 1 John 1:9”? Again, if you rightly divide the word, 1 John is a message to the Little Flock of Israel about their fellowship in the 7 year tribulation. It is Israel´s “mail” for yet a future event.
LIBERTY AND BONDAGE
As gentile believers, we are free from sin and not under bondage, since we are dead to sin (Rom. 6:11-13, Gal. 4:3, 5:1, 13). Israel in the past was under the law and did not enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:10, 4:9, 30, Deut. 6:24,25). We are free to choose not to sin as believers today because of the Holy Spirit who resides within us and provides the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:7, 8:2, Gal. 5:16). An unbeliever has no choice but to sin since he is still alive to sin and under the curse of Adam’s (fallen nature).
SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL BLESSING
As a member of the Body of Christ today, we have all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ at that moment of salvation compared with Israel whose blessings are physical and yet future. (Eph. 1:3, 1 Tim. 6:17, Gen. 12:1-3, Heb. 8:10-12). Israel must endure the Tribulation to be able to go into the 1000 year millennial kingdom where they will finally get the physical blessings promised to Abraham and his seed.
HEALING & MIRACLES
In the gospels and early Acts period individuals were miraculously healed and raised from the dead. Not just one or two but in the context of several passages all were healed (Mt. 4:23-24, Acts 5: 14-16). These were signs to the nation of Israel to believe that Christ was their Messiah and that the Kingdom of God was at hand. God is not doing that today. When suffering comes today and it will, we need to have the Word of God in our souls to get us through these times to bring glory to God. Because we now have a completed Word of God, we no longer need miracles to believe. Paul said that God´s grace is sufficient, and his strength is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor. 12:7-10; 2Cor. 11:30). He doesn´t say that he will remove our infirmities but he´ll provide a way of escape that will be able to bear them. If he did, the power of Christ and the glory to be revealed in us will be hindered (2Cor. 4:16-17). Paul needed Luke, a doctor in his day as well (Col. 4:14, 2Tim. 4:11). The love of God today is not connected with healing and miracles as many believe today but to Calvary (Rom. 5:8). That‘s where Christ proved his love for us. To believe otherwise is to fail to walk by faith.
Today under grace we are instructed that we can eat anything as long as it is received with thanksgiving. In Adam´s day, God told him to eat seeds, fruits, beans, and nuts (Gen. 1:29). For Noah, God changed the directive–he could eat anything that he could catch (Gen. 9:3). When you get to Moses, God makes a further distinction between clean vs. unclean things for consumption (Lev. 11:2, 4-8, 46-47). Only the light of right division gives the appropriate direction we should follow today–that of being thankful for whatever we do have to eat.
It does make a difference today how you approach God´s Word. It is the difference of deriving the benefit out of it that God intended or having it be destructive to your soul (2Pet. 3:16).
Rightly dividing God Word of truth is the only way to understand God’s instructions for all people living today.
By Linda Ness, and John