Rightly Dividing the Word
Division of the Books
A proper classification of the books of Scripture makes our study much easier. In the Old Testament, we have books of law, history, poetry, and prophecy. In the New Testament, we have the gospels, history, letters (epistles), and prophecy.
Division of the Dispensations
The Patriarchal Dispensation has derived its name from the father of the family or tribe. This has been called a family system of religion, as each family seems to have been left free under the guidance of God to carry out its own affairs. There was no written system of religion. God spoke to the head of the tribe orally.
This system lasted from Adam to the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.
This grew out of the promise of God that He would make a blessing of Abraham (Gen 12:2). This was the first written system of religion (Ex 19, 20).
The family system of worship was enlarged and developed into a national system.
One purpose of the Jewish Dispensation was to keep Abraham’s posterity into a separate and distinct race until the promised seed should come (Gal 3:16-19).
The law was also “a shadow of the good things to come” (Heb 10:1). The law was also a schoolmaster/tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24). The law was faulty (Heb 8:7; Rom 8:3). One clear weakness of the law was that it could not forgive sins: Hebrews 10:1-4.
God intended for the Jewish Dispensation to be temporary: Gal 3:19, 16.
This dispensation also grew out of God’s promises to Abraham. Genesis 12:3. Genesis 22:8.
This is the new covenant promised to God’s people. Jeremiah 31:31-33. Hebrews 8:6-13.
The change of priesthood required a change in the law. Hebrews 7:12. Hebrews 9:11. 1 Peter 2:5.
Jesus took the law away by nailing it to His cross (Col 2:14).
The New Testament was not in effect until after the death of Jesus (Heb 9:16-17).
The Christian Dispensation has been given to all nations (Matt 28:19).