How to Rightly Divide the Word of Truth

Feb. 3, 2020 | By Creflo Dollar

Summary

Are we to preach the whole Bible, or preach Jesus through the Bible? Should we preach everything we read, or are we called to preach the Gospel of Christ? We learn much from the Old Testament, but should we preach as if we are still under the old covenant? We see Jesus in the Old Testament through types, images, and shadows, but we have been called to preach Him through the whole Bible. We are not to preach as if the old covenant was still in force. Preaching the Word wrong will have a major impact on our lives.

  1. There is a major difference between Old Testament law and New Testament grace.
    1. In the Old Testament, God repeatedly told the children of Israel that He would curse those who did not obey the law, and His punishment would extend to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 34:7; Exodus 20:5; Numbers 14:18).
      1. All these Scriptures were written before Jesus went to the cross. After the cross, everything changed. God promises us He will remember our sins no more if we accept His Son.
      2. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:12).
      3. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 10:17).
    2. Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15, AMPC).
      1. Studying the Word helps us divide it correctly. Analyzing it wrong has serious consequences.
    3. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John focus on when Jesus walked the earth, during which time the old covenant was still valid.
    4. Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:28).
      1. We are perfect in Christ Jesus.
      2. Read in this way, the Bible is not a book that tells us how bad we are. It reminds us how perfect we are in Jesus, despite what we see.
      3. Christ in us enables us to live a different lifestyle.
    5. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
      1. Although we are now under the new covenant, we should not discount the Old Testament.
      2. The entire Bible was written so that we may be perfected.
      3. We should respect all Scriptures, whether Old or New Testament. 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).
  1. There are seven guidelines for interpreting Scripture.
      1. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. There is no need to use a dictionary.
        1. We need to put Scriptures in context with other Scriptures, and with the rest of the chapter.
        2. For instance, in John 12, Jesus was referring to judgment.
        3. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:31, 32). Jesus was referring to the judgment of sin in the world, and the drawing of all sin to Him.
      2. Do not read anything into the Scripture that is not there. Read its true meaning.
        1. Romans 3:20-23 is one example. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:20-23).
        2. Analyzing verse 23 incorrectly makes it look like a condemning statement from the old covenant. Verse 20 tells us that the law does not justify us in God’s eyes. Verse 21 refers to the covenant of grace, minus the law. Verse 22 establishes that we need faith in Jesus to be made righteous—it says nothing about works.
      3. Read the meaning out of the Scripture, not into it.
        1. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3, 4).
        2. Taking 1 Peter 3:3, 4 out of context makes it seem like the Bible is saying women should not wear makeup or jewelry, or braid their hair. It actually means we should pay more attention to the inward person, not the outward appearance.
      4. Be consistent with the selected type of interpretation throughout the Scripture.
        1. For example, if a lamb is a type of redemption in the first part of the Scripture, it should be a type of redemption in the last part.
      5. Two or three witnesses are needed to make a doctrine. It cannot be made from a single Bible verse.
        1. Several biblical sources are needed to confirm a teaching. Paul wrote about this.
        2. This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (2 Corinthians 13:1).
      6. Study to whom a Scripture is written, and what time it is written about.
        1. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
        2. This Scripture was written to the Jews who were still living under the Law of Moses and feared death.
        3. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26).
        4. This was also written to the Jews, specifically the ones who continued to make animal sacrifices after Jesus made the one perfect sacrifice for all time.
      7. Notice how the finished works of Jesus affect the way we interpret the entire Scripture.
        1. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God (1 John 3:20, 21).
        2. We should read this in light of what He did on the cross. If our hearts condemn us, we know that we are not operating under the new covenant. There is no condemnation in Christ.

    For more on how rightly dividing God’s Word reveals the radical differences between the Law of Moses and the grace of Christ, click on the link below for the DVD, Comparing Covenants.

    http://bit.ly/ComparingCovenantsDVD

Scripture References

Exodus 34:7

Exodus 20:5

Numbers 14:18

Hebrews 8:12

Hebrews 10:17

2 Timothy 2:15, AMPC

Colossians 1:28

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

Romans 15:4

John 12:31, 32

Romans 3:20-23

1 Peter 3:3, 4

2 Corinthians 13:1

Hebrews 2:14, 15

Hebrews 10:26

1 John 3:20, 21

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