Are We Bible Choppers?
What Do You Do With The Other Books?
By: Pastor Doug Dodd s.b.g.
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
There is a general misconception that those who "rightly divide" the word of truth ONLY believe, value, or use the Pauline epistles. This misconception has led to name calling and labeling which is non productive to the edification and instruction of the believer.
As a caveat let me say that there may be some who only use, believe or value the Pauline epistles above the rest of the scriptures, but WE are not among those. When I say "we" I mean those who truly understand the Pauline distinctive and give to Israel what belongs to Israel and give to the church the body of Christ what belongs to the church the body of Christ.
Point One – The Importance Of All The Bible
In our text we understand that ALL scripture is given by INSPIRATION of God and is PROFITABLE for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Every scripture or contextual passage of scripture has at least three direct applications.
Historically. Historically every verse or contextual passage has a historical implication to the people it was written to in the time it was written. In other words, it meant something to someone when it was written. This is true of all scripture.
Spiritually. Every verse or contextual passage has spiritual value. We can learn something from the word of God no matter when, where, or by whom it was written.
Dispensationally. Similarly, every verse or contextual passage has a dispensational application. That is, it fits squarely into the twofold purpose of God.
Let us take a random passage and illustrate just what we are talking about. Let's take Noah and the ark.
Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Gen 6:14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
Gen 6:15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
Gen 6:16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
Gen 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Gen 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.
Historically these verses deal with the pre flood inhabitants of the earth. The words were spoken to Noah and were for Noah's obedience.
Spiritually we can learn a great deal from this passage in principle but not necessarily practice. Notice:
We learn the doctrine of God's view of sin.
We learn the doctrine of God's love towards his creation.
We learn the doctrine of God's provision for the righteous.
We learn the doctrine of man's responsibility to God.
We learn the doctrine of the free will of man.
And we could go on and on but the point is we do not have to build an ark to learn the spiritual value of these verses.
Dispensationally we learn that God has not told us to build an ark today to be saved. Noah was saved by faith (faith is believing God [Rom 10:17]), but his faith caused him to do something.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Every verse or contextual passage will follow this same rule: historically, spiritually, and dispensationally.
Point Two – Those Who Say And Do Not
During his earthly ministry (historically) the Lord Jesus Christ warned his followers about the deceitful nature (spiritually) of the Scribes and Pharisees in their use of the law (dispensationally) when he said:
Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
The same could be said of those who say they believe and practice all of the word of God. It is ignorant for anyone to say they believe and practice all of the Bible. It cannot be done historically, spiritually or dispensationally.
The only method of Bible practice that is practical, logical and non-contradictory is a dispensational method.
Let's take another example – salvation. Is it by grace or works? The answer is YES.
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
It is clear from this passage that historically there were some people who believed that a Gentile could not be saved (spiritual) unless he was circumcised and kept the law of Moses (dispensational).
But what does Paul say? Or better still, What did God tell Paul to say?
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Gal 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
These two passages either contradict or complement one another through dispensational contrasting. The point being that they are not contradictory but are dispensational in nature.
Was there ever a time when people were told to demonstrate faith by doing the works of the law for salvation? YES!
Was there ever a time when people were told they could not do anything to be saved including trying to keep the law of Moses? YES!
You cannot do both and you had better know which one is for you!
All of the Bible is for us but not all of it is written to us.
Miles Coverdale said it this way:
"It shall greatly help ye to understand Scripture
if thou mark not only what is spoken or written,
but of whom and to whom, with what words,
at what time, where, to what intent,
with what circumstances,
considering what goeth before
and what followeth after."
Point Three - What Paul Teaches About The Other Scriptures
Before we look at what Paul teaches about the "other" scriptures let us take a look at what Paul was told to write about the "scripture" he penned.
1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
1 Cor 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
In the Old Testament Law, there are NOT just 10 commandments. There are over 600 commandments which must be followed, not just the ones you like.
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
If you absolutely need some "commandments" to follow then why not follow the ones given by the risen Lord Jesus Christ, through the apostle to the Gentiles, for you and me today?
We Agree With Paul
We agree with Paul when he says:
Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
LEARNING: Gaining knowledge by instruction or reading, by study, by experience or observation; acquiring skill by practice.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary
We agree with Paul! The things that were written aforetime were written, NOT necessarily for our practice but for our learning.
1 Cor 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
ENSAM'PLE: To exemplify; to shew by example.
ADMONI'TION: Gentle reproof; counseling against a fault; instruction in duties; caution; direction.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Again, we agree with Paul. The nation of Israel showed by example what kind of behavior we are to have. Israel was given a set of instructions to follow and most of the time, it seems, they did not follow them. This is the principle lesson we are to learn: Obey the instructions given to you!
And we do, for we find the risen Lord Jesus Christ instructing us to follow Paul! So by following Paul we in fact are following Christ. Those who follow Christ today in the dispensation of the grace of God MUST follow Paul.
1 Tim 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Phil 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Phil 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
We follow Paul. Paul did not throw out the "other" books of the Bible and neither do we. We simply give them their rightful place in God's program. We give to the nation of Israel what belongs to the nation of Israel and we give to the church the Body of Christ what belongs to the Church the Body of Christ.
What Do We Do With The Rest Of The Books Of The Bible?