In these last days, when the ears of so many in the churches are turning to fables, and so many are giving heed to doctrines of devils, it is more needful than ever for the church of Jesus Christ to draw nigh unto her head and be washed with water by the word of God.
These are times when men have grown complacent and lazy, and are,”…at ease in Zion…”; the time of the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, when the so-called Christians are saying, “…we are rich, and increased with goods…”, and know not that they are “…wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:14-22) So, it is the mission and calling of this man of God to bring the word of the Lord Jesus, rightly divided, to the people of God in these last days.
It is my prayer that you, the reader, will prayerfully consider the things you are about to read herein, and search the scriptures to see that the things I write to you are indeed the word of God, rightly divided.
Rightly dividing the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) simply means to use it as it was intended, as opposed to taking words and phrases out of context to form a doctrine (doctrine means teaching) that is not taught in the scripture.
In these last days, most professing Christians believe what they believe based on the opinions of their denomination, or commentaries of scholars; but have never actually searched the word for themselves. Therefore it has become dangerously easy for men to stand in the pulpits of today and use a verse or two from the Bible totally out of context, and teach doctrines that are totally foreign to the word of God, deceiving the multitudes; because the people in the churches just don’t know their Bibles.
That is the purpose for my calling from the Lord in these last days, and for the material you are reading. So be prayerful, and be ready to hear the word of God, and to reject the traditions you have probably been taught from your youth (as was I, until I began to read the scriptures for myself!), and let the vain traditions of men be replaced by the pure word of God, in Jesus’ name.
Rightly dividing the New Testament is so very important, because that is the dispensation (time period) in which we are now living. So, What is the New Testament? It the fulfillment of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, it was written by the hand of Jeremiah the prophet,
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant (testament) with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”(Jer. 31:31-33).
This New Covenant (or Testament) was a blood covenant—the one that God had planned all along, and was the reason for the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant, which could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:11), but were a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17).
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”(Galatians 4:4,5) …so that by the power of HIS BLOOD we could be set free from the power of sin, and the condemnation thereof, and be clean by obeying the gospel of the New Testament.
So, the New Testament of our Bible is the historical account of:
* how Jesus came in the flesh and accomplished what he had promised in the Old Testament,
and also of
*the first few decades of the New Testament church, as well as the teachings of the apostles and elders concerning the doctrine of Christ, as they were commanded by him to, “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
(Matthew 28:19, 20).
The Bible is really pretty easy to understand, if one will only take the time to study it, and be willing to obey it.
So, let’s look at the New Testament…
The New Testament has 27 letters, which are commonly called books. They are arranged in a particular order (chronologically) for good reason.
The first four books are:
These books tell us the historical account of the things we need to know which happened from the time of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, until the time of his ascension into heaven; including his life, teachings, miracles, persecutions, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, and his appearing to his disciples for 40 days afterward.
It is important to note at this point that the New Covenant (or Testament) that Jesus came to bring had not yet been established here.
It was spoken of here, and the way was made here, but here in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
…there is NO church, there are NO Christians, and there is NO New Testament gospel being preached.
The gospel (good news) that Jesus was preaching was the fact that the kingdom of God was at hand, and it was time for the Jews to repent and believe on their Messiah. It was a gospel for the Jew only, and it was preached under the dispensation of the law, so that “…the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) could be gathered unto their Shepherd, as he had promised to do for them by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet (Ezekiel 34:11,12).
“For thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”
So, we need to keep in mind that the things that Jesus said in these four books were not addressed to the whole world (although at times he did refer to the world in his teachings), but solely to the house of Israel—the Jews.
The lack of understanding of this fundamental truth has many multitudes in the churches confused in these last days, as they take many verses from these four gospels out of their proper context, and misapply them to the church, when in fact there was no New Testament church at that time; and the Lord Jesus was dealing exclusively with the house of Israel.
As it is written in Romans 15:8, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [the Jewish people] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]…”
These four books are a part of the New Testament of our Bible because they tell the story of how the New Testament was prepared and accomplished by God in his Son, Jesus Christ. But the New Testament period in which we now live did not begin during that time. The prophet Jeremiah said, “…I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts…”
(Jer. 31:33); and Paul the apostle of Christ quoted Jeremiah this way, “…I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
(2 Corinthians 6:16)
So, when did that come to pass?
Acts of the Apostles
It came to pass on the day of the feast of Pentecost, in the year of our Lord 33, fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (as it was written in the law–Leviticus 23:10-21); and the account of it is written in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
The book of Acts picks up where the four gospels leave off, chronologically. It was written by Luke, and it begins after the resurrection of our Lord and shortly before his ascension into heaven; and it continues as an historical account of the events that took place from the birth of the New Testament church, and several decades into the future, so that we may see—
- How the promise of the Holy Ghost was poured out,
- How the apostles of Christ preached the gospel he gave them,
- The order in which it was preached (Jew, Samaritan, Gentile),
- How people got saved and became Christians,
- How churches became established, and
- How God bore witness with power to the word of his apostles.
In the second chapter of Acts, the New Testament church was born, and the gospel thereof began to be preached in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the Gentiles (Acts 1:8), just as the Lord had commanded his apostles to do. Only in the book of Acts can we read historical accounts of:
- the gospel being preached,
- people obeying it to be saved,
- churches being established,
- and the disciples of Jesus performing the same miracles he did by faith in his name
So, the book of Acts is a continuation of the story of the four gospels, picking up at the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and going on to describe the beginning of the New Testament church which he purchased with his blood in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Then, we have—–
The Epistles (Romans – Jude)
1 & 2 Corinthians
1,2, &3 John
These are letters (epistle is another word for letter), which were written by the apostles and elders to the churches.
In the book of Acts, we can see many of these churches being established.
(Corinth–Acts 18, Galatia–Acts 16:6 & 18:23, Ephesus–Acts 19:1-7, Thessalonica–Acts 17:1-9, etc…)
So, after the apostles went forth preaching the gospel, baptizing believers, and teaching them the commandments of the Lord (Matthew 28:19,20), they moved on to preach in other places, and, at times, sent letters back to the churches they had left earlier in order to teach, comfort, admonish, and sometimes correct them.
This is what the epistles are.
It is important to note, that they are not written to the whole world.
They are written to Christians.
They do not preach the gospel to sinners so they can get saved from sin.
They are instruction to saints who had already heard and obeyed the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to further establish them in the truth, give them greater and deeper understanding of the gospel they had obeyed, and teach them how they ought to live their lives both in and out of the meeting of the church, in order to glorify God and inherit his kingdom.
So, remember, when you read the pronoun “we” in the epistles, it is not referring to everyone in the world, but only to the church of God. When the writers are referring to the world, it is distinctly noted by the use of the pronoun “they”.
This is so very important to understand, and is a fundamental part of knowing how to rightly divide the New Testament of the Bible.
For us to take a phrase out of the four gospels, which was spoken to the Jews, and read it as though it was spoken to the church, will cause error and confusion.
For us to take a phrase out of one of the epistles, and read it as though it was written to the world, or as though it was preaching the gospel to sinners, will also cause error and confusion.
Lastly, we have the book of —
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
This book is prophecy.
It is not “Revelations“.
It is not the Revelation of John.
It is just what the first 5 words says it is—The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Chronologically, it deals with the period of time beginning with the birth of the New Testament church, until the consummation of all things, and the establishment of the eternal kingdom of God, when time shall be no more, the wicked shall forever be in the lake of fire, and the righteous shall reign with God (Jesus Christ) forever and ever.
The book itself is divided as follows:
Chapter 1———-the vision of Jesus Christ
Chapters 2-3——the dispensation of the New Testament church
Chapters 4-20—–the judgment & wrath of God upon the world
Chapters 21&22—the establishment of the eternal kingdom of God
And that is how the New Testament is to be rightly divided…it is basically quite simple. If we look at it using the New Testament gospel as a center, or focal point, we can say that:
*in the four gospels (Matthew-John), the gospel was PREPARED-
*in the book of Acts, the gospel was PREACHED-
*in the epistles (Romans – Jude), the gospel was PRESERVED-
*in the Revelation, the gospel was PRESUMED-
It is my prayer and earnest desire that this lesson will give you, the reader, a clear understanding of the basic “building blocks” of the New Testament of the Holy Bible; and that, having this foundation, you will understand more and more by the grace of God, how to rightly divide it and perceive the things written therein, that you may be washed from the many errors of the organizations of men by the pure word of God, and come fully out of the teachings of Babylon and into the Bride.
Those who do not know how to rightly divide the word of God, will never understand it.
It is not a book of “magical” verses, to be taken and used in whatever context suits the will of the user (that is witchcraft!); but rather it is a book given to us by the God of Heaven, inspired word for word, and in purposeful order, so that those whom he has chosen (his sheep) may know the truth and obey it unto eternal life.
The prophet Hosea spoke these words from the LORD:
“…for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
So, let us rightly divide the word of God, and live.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
Proverbs 8:8, 9
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:
for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
1 Timothy 4:16