The following Bible questions are just a few issues that present an insight into some of the scriptures that relate to the understanding of the “dispensation of grace” (Ephesians 3:2)
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
Jesus instructed the Apostles “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 ). And Jesus said “19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19 ) Paul said ” 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:7-8 ). “15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:” (Acts 9:15 ).
(1) Were the Apostles to go to “all the world” and “all nations” but only to the circumcised (Jews / children of Israel)? Was Paul to go to the uncircumcised (Gentiles), and if so why was Paul to bear the Lord’s name “before the Gentiles, and kings, AND the children of Israel” ?
(2) Why did Jesus tell the Apostles during his earthly ministry ” Go not into the way of the Gentiles” but “go not except unto the lost sheep of Israel” ?
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(3) What did Jesus mean when he told the “woman of Canaan” (a gentile) “, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” ? Why did he refer to the Jews as the children and her (a gentile) as the dogs ?
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
(4) What did Paul mean when he stated “8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 )
Paul said “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, (Galatians 2:1-2) “5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7And when there had been much disputing, (Acts 15:5-7)
(5) Why is it that “14 years” after the apostles had been teaching in Jerusalem when the “apostles and elders” came together to discuss “that gospel which I (Paul) preach among the Gentiles there were “certain of the sect of the Pharisees which BELIEVED” that “rose up” and there was “much disputing” ? How is it that these Pharisees which “believed” did not understand that it was clearly not necessary “to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses” after the twelve apostles had been teaching them personally for 14 years ?
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
(6) When Peter asked Jesus about his reward to come “what shall we have therefore?” Jesus replied “when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Why are the “twelve” Apostles only judging the “twelve tribes of Israel” ? Who judges everyone that is not of the twelve tribes ? Is Israel judged separate from others ? What about the Apostle Paul ?
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
(7) In speaking of the end times Jesus said “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” Is this statement made to everyone Jews and Gentiles, and if so why would it matter to the Gentiles or Jews that are members of the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:2) if this happens on the “Sabbath” who are told “do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.”
2 Peter 3:15-16
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all,
(8) Why did Peter, James, and even Barnabas lost sight of the CRITICAL significance of “the dispensation of the grace” or these “things hard to be understood” (2 Peter 3:15-16) as Peter referred to it ? Paul stated “whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:3-4) and “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9) How could Peter and the others withdraw from these teachings with a full understanding of their importance ?
See Ephesians 3:1-11
17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
3 ”Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace
(9) Why is it that the letter written by James that is addressed to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1) makes statements that seem to be in direct conflict with statements made by the Apostle Paul.
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(10) When the rich man ask Jesus “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life ?”Jesus replied “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Also Jesus said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” But the Apostle Paul stated “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law (the commandments) ; ye are fallen from grace.” Why does there seem to be a disagreement between these statements ?
Jesus said 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(11) Jesus said “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” In (Acts 8:12-16) and (Acts 19:1-8) believers were baptized with water but had not received the Holy Spirit, but in (Acts 10:44) at the house of Cornelius “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” and then afterwards they were Baptized with water. Jesus indicated there are two separate baptisms one with water, and one with the Holy Spirit. So what did Paul mean when he said there is “one baptism” ?
20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
(12) These “certain Greeks” came to see Jesus “Sir, we would see Jesus”. Did he agree to see them ? What did his comment mean ?
(13) Jesus Christ specifically instructed the 12 Apostles to baptize with water. (Mark 16:14-18 & Matthew 28:16-20) Why did the Apostle Paul say “For Christ sent me not to baptize” ?
1 Corinthians 1:17-18
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Dispensation: 1 Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 3:2, Colossians 1:25
Strong’s Concordance – Dispensation
From G3623; administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”:—dispensation, stewardship.
Dispensationalism is the study of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) to understand when various dispensations begin and end, and under what conditions God has dealt with man in these dispensations and why.
This is not to be confused with Ultra-Dispensationalism in which some try to teach that because parts of the Bible were not written directly to us, that it is not for us. This teaching is in direct conflict with the scripture “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2 Timothy 3:16).
As a new Christian I wondered why there were over 30,000 denominations of Christianity that seemed to agree on very little, even among the members of their own congregations. I believe now I understand why.
As William R. Newell said:
The failure or refusal to discern the Pauline Gospel as a separate and new revelation and not a “development from Judaism,” accounts for two-thirds of the confusion in many people’s minds today as regards just what the Gospel is.
Understanding the Bible (Dispensation)
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Grace and Peace,
Paul Hartley @ http://www.havefaith.org