Rightly dividing the Word of Truth II

Most of the Church do not have problems with interpreting the old testament, but there are innocent errors in the interpretation of the New Testament PORTION of the bible. One of the major reasons for this is that there is no clear distinction in the mind of most Christians between the New Testament and the New Testament PORTION of their bibles.

Of course, the New Testament did not come into FULL EFFECT until after the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. What does this mean? It means that everything we read in the New Testament portions of our bibles before Jesus’ death and burial is not necessarily New Testament. Galatians 4:4 maintains that Jesus was born and subjected to the law like every other person that lived during his days; he had circumcision, purification and was presented in the temple as required by the law (Luke 2:21-24; 27) and he also participated in mosaic festivals (Luke 2:41-42). Jesus himself counted John the Baptizer among the prophets of the Old Testament (Matthew 11:11-13). All these are in the pages of the New Testament portion of the bible.

What I am saying, therefore, is that Jesus said some of the things he said directly to those in his days who were living under the law, and should hardly be taken literally by us but only to learn from the principles in the things he said. Understanding that would help us a great deal in interpreting another example (for previous examples, see the post before this). In the 8th chapter of the gospel account of Matthew, when the Lord Jesus cleanses the leper, he asks the leper, after the cleansing has taken place, to go and show himself to the priest, and to offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. Would you ask anyone healed of leprosy today to go show himself to the priest, and to offer the gift that Moses commanded for a testimony? I hope not!

It’s therefore apparent that the Lord Jesus regarded himself as living under the law, just as the Apostle Paul puts it in Galatians 4:4. Hence, not everything said directly to individuals in the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who lived under the law is directed to the church but we can learn from the principles in them all. (To be continued)