The Dispensations

Whereof I Paul am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God (Colossians 1:25).

The study of the Bible cannot be by a hop-skip-and-jump method. One must “rightly divide” the Word of Truth in order to correctly understand God’s plan and purpose for the ages.

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15).

In Genesis 2:16-17 God commands Adam not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree; but why has God not commanded us to refrain from eating from a certain tree?

The answer is found in “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

In Genesis 1:29 God limits man to a vegetarian diet; then in Genesis 9:3 He allows man to eat “every moving thing that liveth.” Under the Law of Moses certain animals were once again forbidden as “unclean;” but under the dispensation of Grace, God once again allows “every creature of God” (I Timothy 4:3-5) to be eaten. All of this is understood only by “rightly dividing” the Word of Truth.

Under the Mosaic Law, God commanded the observance of “holy days” and “sabbaths,” yet in Galatians 4:10 Paul condemns the observance of days. The only answer to these apparent contradictions is the right division of the Word of Truth.

Without the proper, God-ordained divisions in Scripture, one will end up confused and in error. What is true in one age is not necessarily true in another (note the words “present truth” as found in II Peter 1:12).

The Scriptures are the revelation from God of Himself, as well as His plan and purpose for the ages. They were given to us in “sundry times and in divers manners” (Hebrews 1:1) over a period of 1600 years, consisting of 66 separate books written by about 40 authors, including kings, priests, prophets, herdsmen, fishermen, a tax collector, a physician, etc.

Some who are blind to right division while reading through the Bible scream “contradiction,” while others misapply the Scriptures.

A farmer sets certain tasks for his household in the winter, others in the spring and summer, and yet still other tasks in the fall. Would we consider him to be inconsistent by these changes? Why, no; he is only consistently following the proper rules and plan of agriculture. So it is with God.

To rightly divide the Scriptures there are some essential divisions that must be made (everybody divides the Bible, even if it is only between the “Old” and “New” Testaments). One of the most important divisions is the dispensational one.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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