Pauline Dispensationalism

Q. A friend is taking some on line Bible classes and said he just learned that Romans, 1, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians were written to Gentiles. While Hebrews, James, 1,2,3, John, Jude and Revelation were all written to the circumcised Christians. He has been to several different Schools and is a relativity new Christian and still looking for what he believes.

A. It sounds like he’s fallen in with a group of Pauline Dispensationalists, sometimes called Mid-Acts Dispensationalists. In my opinion they improperly use the phrase “rightly dividing the word of truth” from 2 Timothy 2:15 as their justification for deciding which parts of the New Testament are meant for the Church and which parts are not. They imply that the books they say were meant for “circumcised Christians” in effect became obsolete once the door was opened to the Gentiles, and the miracles that characterized the first half of the Book of Acts ceased for the Church as well.

But Paul’s advice to Timothy was not meant to split the Scriptures apart. After all, in the same letter Paul said, “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God can be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16).”

When used metaphorically, the Greek word translated “rightly dividing” means to hold a straight course. Some English translations of 2 Timothy 2:15 say, “correctly handles the word of truth.” Paul was instructing Timothy to teach God’s word accurately, correctly, and with precision so he wouldn’t be ashamed to stand before God and be judged for his teaching.

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