It would be self defeating to desire greater understanding of the Bible by cutting portions out. This is not greater understanding. It is simply shrinking the Bible down to our level.
God forbid we eliminate or ignore one word, syllable, or punctuation from the complete sacred text of God’s perfect Word!
Rightly dividing the word of truth is not cutting off Scripture from our profit. Instead it is like the division of a book into its index, or a speech into its outline. By separating the parts into their appropriate context we are in a better position to understand the whole.
The entire Bible is written for us, but not every verse is addressed to us or written about us. All scripture is profitable, but not every passage is for our participation or obedience.
The Importance of All Scripture
A popular attack on dispensational Bible study is to claim that it eliminates most of the Bible as applicable to us. Even many young dispensationalists develop a false fear of reading or applying truth from old testament passages. However, this is a misunderstanding of what it means to rightly divide the word of truth.
In no sense would students of the Bible be better off by ignoring certain books, or rejecting books as beneficial for our profit and application.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” – 2 Tim 3:16
By right division, I mean acknowledging that the doctrine concerning the church today is found in Paul’s epistles alone by the revelation of Jesus Christ. This dispensation given to Paul was hidden in ages past, kept secret since the world began (Rom 16:25; Col 1:25-26; 2 Tim 2:7-15). However, that this mystery information was kept secret since the world began does not diminish the benefit that can be gained from the rest of scripture.
How would we know sin if it were not by the law? (Rom 3:19; Rom 7:7; 1 John 3:4)
How would we know of imputed righteousness if we could not read what ‘Abraham our Father, pertaining to the flesh, hath found?’ (Romans 4:1-3)
How could we know the obedience that God requests, unless we read the example of how Israel lusted after evil things in the wilderness? (1 Corinthians 10:6).
It is from our own apostle that we read that all scripture is profitable for our learning.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” – Romans 15:4
These are the same Scriptures that witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, essential to the gospel that we preach today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)! It should be evident that every word in the Bible is written for our edification and profit.
What is gained from an understanding of right division is the proper interpretation of every verse into its dispensational context. While every book and testament is written for us, not every book and testament is written to us or about us.
Surely we can agree that when God told Noah to build an ark, he was speaking to Noah and not to anyone in the 21st century. Once realizing the proper context, we can understand the limits of its application. While we may learn the spiritual truths about Noah’s righteous obedience as an example, or his faithful diligence despite being persecuted, we would be wrong to go and build an ark because “since God said it, I’m supposed to obey it”.
It may sound silly when applied to building an ark, but many use this same reason to support applying any verse of Scripture to their daily situations as if it were talking about them. We would be wise to first interpret every passage in the Bible into its dispensational context, before attempting to apply its doctrine to us.
Choosing not to rightly divide a passage into its dispensational context is the root of the majority of Biblical misinterpretations and errors taught today. Rightly dividing allows us to understand why there are apparent contradictions in Biblical doctrine.
Everyone seems to pick and choose which verses to obey, but then would like to say in the same breathe that every verse in the Bible should be obeyed. Their personal application is inconsistent with their claim. Attempting to obey every word in the Bible outside of its dispensational context will produce contradictions.
For example, concerning our zealous missionary efforts, do we go to Gentile nations to preach the gospel? Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10:5 to “Go not into the way of the Gentiles”, but in Acts 22:21 the same Jesus tells Paul to go to the Gentiles:
“Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” – Acts 22:21
Surely, we can not do both. Certainly the solution is obvious to any amateur Bible student: what Jesus told the disciples was not given to the apostle Paul to obey in his ministry. The question the church should be asking is whether we follow the Lord’s instructions to the twelve disciples, or the Lord’s instructions to the apostle Paul. The answer is found in rightly dividing the word of truth.
This is just one of many examples of why, if we are to profit from the entire Bible, it is required that we rightly divide the entire Bible.
It is only by rightly dividing the word of truth that we can see with clarity God’s eternal purpose on every page, the specific instructions to us, and the enormous profit it sows in every area of our life.