Rightly Dividing Paul’s Epistles

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012.

There are things that Paul writes about that you would be wrong to apply to yourself. They were written to someone about something that is not where you are in Christ.

Romans 15:27 is one example. Paul says it is the Gentile duty to minister to the poor saints in Jerusalem with carnal things (the Greek word for carnal things is “moolah”).

The carnal duty was not given to unbelievers in Israel, but to the little flock led by Peter, the remnant of Israel.

The remnant group of kingdom saints were poor because they sold everything they had in response to Jesus’ explicit command under the gospel of the kingdom (Luke 18:22).

In 2012 there is not a single member of Peter’s remnant left in Jerusalem or anywhere. Unbelieving Jews, like unbelieving Gentiles, that live in Jerusalem are not saints. We are no longer taking up collections for them.

This duty to 1st century Pauline believers is not an instruction to us.

Paul talks to Jews in Rom 2 and Rom 9. He talks about unbelievers in 2 Thess 2, and is quoting the law in Eph 6:3.

The doctrine for the church is found in Paul’s epistles, but not every word Paul writes is for your participation. We must still consider Paul’s audience and context.

For His Glory,

Justin Curtis Johnson

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