Why do I believe so strongly in rightly dividing the word of truth? It is not a novelty (i.e. something new, just to be different), but a biblical necessity. The critics of dispensationalism claim that it was invented by John N. Darby in the 1800s. Actually, it is God’s method of Bible study as revealed in His word. In the one verse in which God plainly tells us to study His word, he tells us why and how to do it.
All of the Bible is “the word of truth” (Ps. 119:43; 2 Cor. 6:7) and is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16), but there are divisions that God put within His word that we must acknowledge and consistently maintain in our Bible study if we are going to get the profit out of it that He put in it for us.
God does not change (Heb. 13:8), but He does change in His dealings with man and acknowledging that fact is the dispensational approach to Bible study. A biblical dispensation is a dispensing of divine revelation that brings about major changes in God’s dealings with man.
Rightly dividing is an absolute NECESSITY for:
I Presenting the Gospel Clearly
(12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
(13) 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. 1:12-13)
There is only one gospel by which we can be saved in this present age, but there is certainly more than one gospel in the Bible. Do you really think that God has had only one message of good news throughout the ages? The gospel of our salvation was revealed by Christ to the apostle Paul (Gal. 1:11-12).
(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
(2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
(3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
(4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
(1 Cor. 15:1-4)
If there is only one gospel in the Bible, please explain the following passage:
(31) Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
(32) For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
(33) And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
(34) And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. (Lk. 18:31-34)
The “word of truth” to Israel (Jam. 1:1, 18) is not the word of truth by which we are saved today. This is clearly seen by comparing Acts 2:37-38 with Acts 16:30-31. Preachers inevitably muddy the waters of the gospel when they fail to rightly divide the word of truth!
II. Understanding the Bible
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (2 Tim. 2:7)
When we understand through Paul’s epistles where we are living in God’s plan for the ages, the Bible will begin to open more and more to our understanding. There has been a rebellion in heaven (before the world began) and earth (since the world began). The Bible reveals God’s purpose and plan to reconcile the government of heaven and earth back to Himself through Jesus Christ (Gen. 1:1; Eph. 1:9-10; Col. 1:16-20). The prophetic kingdom program of Israel concerns God’s purpose for the earth (Acts 3:19-21).
The mystery (i.e. secret) program of the Body of Christ concerns God’s purpose for the heavenly places (Rom. 16:25) and was revealed through Paul (Eph. 3:1-12). Satan deceived himself when he had Christ crucified, for in thinking he was defeating God’s purpose for the earth he will lose dominion in both realms (1 Cor. 2:7-8). Therefore, Satan hates and opposes the truth of the mystery like nothing else. No wonder so many are blinded to this glorious truth!
III. Knowing our Identity in Christ
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Col. 2:10)
It’s in Paul’s epistles alone that we find the heavenly position, conversation, and destiny of the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:6; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-4). We are not Israel, but a NEW creature (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15-16).
IV. Knowing the Will of God
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Col 1:9)
The will of God is revealed in the word of God and yet most Christians are busy trying to find it in feelings, circumstances, experiences, and religion. The will of God for this present age is revealed in Paul’s epistles (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 5:14-17). God gives us the liberty to make choices. When we focus on doing the revealed will of God the details of our life will begin to fall into place (e.g. 1 Tim. 2:4). We must be in line with what God is doing, otherwise, we will experience defeat and discouragement.
V. Living a Fruitful Christian Life
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Col 1:10)
Knowing the will of God should lead to doing the will of God. The Christian life will not operate on the basis of ignorance. It is by rightly dividing the word of truth that we learn we are complete in Christ and how to live out that glorious position by faith (Rom. 6:14-17; Col. 2:6-7). The grace life is the Christ life (Gal. 2:20; 4:19; 5:22-23).
VI. Looking for the Blessed Hope
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (1 Cor. 15:51)
Sadly, most professing Christians do not know what the hope of their calling is (Eph. 1:18). They either think Christ is coming to the earth to give them the kingdom (the hope of Israel) or that there will be no Kingdom Age at all. Many today believe we must go through some or all of the tribulation period.
The key to understanding the blessed hope of the Body of Christ is to recognize that it was a mystery revealed to Paul and rightly divide it from Israel’s hope. This present age, which was a mystery hid from the prophets, is what is keeping the 70th week of Daniel 9 from being fulfilled.
We are to be looking for Christ from heaven to catch us up to meet Him in the air and give us a glorified body that is fit to reign with Him eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1; Phil. 3:20-21; Titus 2:13).
VII. Being Rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ
(10) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
(13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
(14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. 3:10-15)
We will not be “approved” (2 Tim. 2:15) in our service at the Judgment Seat of Christ and receive eternal rewards if we do not follow the example and doctrine of the wise master builder (1 Cor. 4:1-5, 16-17; 11:1; 2 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:5, 10-13).
As you can see from these seven points, rightly dividing the word of truth is indeed a necessity! All who work to make this truth known can expect satanic opposition. We must depend on God for the strength to keep standing for the word of God rightly divided (Eph. 6:10-20). It is worth it now, but especially in the life to come!
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58)
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:9)