Jan 25

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The greatest book ever written! This can honestly be said about one book and one book only and it is the Bible! If we think of the Bible as a complete library, when the books are rightly divided, and placed on the shelves it becomes easier to understand. It may be rightly said that most people, even readers of the Bible, never “rightly divide” the Bible in this manner. This results in much confusion!
As you look at the shelves upon which the books of the Bible may rightly be placed, more light is put upon it. That which has been in “darkness,” quietly comes to light and gives understanding. How should the Bible be “rightly” divided? Before answering this question, let us recall the words of the apostle Paul to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Let us here look at some of the words in this text. The first word is “study,” which is the Greek “spoudazo” and has this as one meaning: “to make effort.” In other words, the Bible does not “just jump into” our minds. Luke wrote of those in Berea “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Much could be written about this verse, but here we will allow it to speak for itself! In the “spirit of effort,” Luke put those of Berea in the spiritual class of “nobleman!” It behooves all mankind to be as they were! Being a good student of the Bible requires that it be “rightly divided;” as Paul wrote to Timothy, “rightly dividing,” which is the Greek “orthotomeo” and means “to make a straight cut,” and “to dissect” “the word of truth” and when this is done, it makes for greater understanding.
With the above in mind, let us look upon the shelves upon which the books of the Bible are placed. First, we see that the Bible is divided into two major parts: 1) The Old Testament and 2) the New Testament. If this first division is not made, there is no way that a person will ever gain the truths which the Bible holds for the reader, more correctly, the studier of the Bible. A few words here are in order about the word “testament.” The Greek word translated “testament” or “covenant” means “the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will.” We all know about a “will,” which a person prepares to be read and put into force after death! So, to the Hebrews Christians it was written that God said: “… Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Heb. 8:8). Therefore, the writer wrote these words: “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13, Jer. 31: 31-34). A “new” will was written, which is known as “the New Testament,” and was to replace the “Old Testament.” We sometimes say: “The last will and testament,” knowing that it is the “Last Will” that is now in force, which has the power of God upon all people! But who died? But who’s last “will” and “testament” is read to all people? Therefore, as we look at the Bible, we first see two shelves; upon the first is placed all the books of the Old Testament and upon the second one is placed the books of the New Testament! Therefore, in Hebrews it reads: “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9:17). Only after the death of Jesus did his “last will and testament” came into force!
On the left side, as one stands facing the shelves, on the left side all the Old Testament books are seen. This means that thirty-nine books are found there, all the books starting with Genesis through Malachi. It is these books that are the Old Testament, the books that have been closed and are of no force, as a New Testament, the last will and testament of Christ, is now in force. Here we find how a person is to live, what a person must do to be saved, what it means to be faithful to Christ, and what will be used in the final judgment for all who have lived and died on this side of the first Pentecost after the death of Jesus!
With this in mind, read with me the words of Paul: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now (From Pentecost until the coming of Jesus. frw) commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17::30-31). How will you answer the Lord on Judgment Day?

Frank R. Williams

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