Is All the Bible Written for Us?
Is All the Bible Written for Us?
INTRO BY DR. MIKE: Before examining this study, let’s recall a major hermeneutical distinction: Israel and the church are NOT THE SAME! I think you and I would agree that while all Scripture is given to us (the church), it is not all specifically for us. Our church “mail” comes from Paul, not the prophets per se. Israel (a single race nation) is born from prophecy as the prophets speaking for God gave her Laws and Covenants which included the promise of an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. The church was born from the revelation of mystery from Christ to Paul (Rom. 11:25; 16:25; Eph. 3:3-9; etc), not from the prophets. The church (which is a multiracial body) focuses- on a kingdom in the heavenlies (Ephesians), not on the earth. The church- which began in a mystery- will likewise disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
It would be self-defeating to desire a greater understanding of the Bible by cutting portions out. God forbid we eliminate or ignore one word, syllable, or punctuation from the complete sacred text of God’s perfect Word!
The entire Bible is written for us, but not every verse is addressed to us or written about us.
Rightly dividing the word of truth does not insinuate 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 Importance of ‘all Scripture’
There are many who attack dispensational Bible study by claiming that it eliminates most of the Bible as applicable to us. Even many dispensationalists develop a false fear of reading or applying truth from ‘Old Testament’ passages. However, this is a grotesque misunderstanding of what it means to ‘rightly divide’ the Scriptures.
In no sense, would students of the Bible be better off by ignoring certain books, or rejecting books as beneficial to 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
Although it is only in Paul’s epistles that we find the mystery information about the grace given to us in this dispensation, certainly this does not diminish the benefit that can be gained from any other verse of Scripture.
How would we know sin if it were not by the law? (Romans 3:19, 7:7, 1 John 3:4)
How would we know of our 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:
“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 each verse into its appropriate 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 interpretation, we can understand the limits of its application. While we may learn 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 believe it’.
However, many would use this method 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 it as if it were talking directly about us.
Choosing not to rightly divide a passage into its appropriate dispensational context is the root of every Biblical misinterpretation and error taught today. Dividing passages into their appropriate dispensational context allows us to understand easily certain instructional contradictions.
Everyone understands how to rightly divide naturally, but the inconsistency of its application produces doctrinal confusion. If we were to attempt to obey every word in the Bible without respect to the context then we are faced with a serious dilemma – oh, the 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:
“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 to or about the Apostle Paul and his ministry. Thus we have just one of many examples of why profiting from the entire Bible requires we rightly divide the entire Scripture.
It is only by ‘rightly dividing’ the word of truth that we can see with clarity the thread of God’s purpose throughout the Bible and the enormous profit it sows in every area of our life.