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Randy-WhiteCovenant theology views all of Scripture as being under one purpose of God, which is the salvation of mankind. Ultimately this purpose will be understood in terms of the question, “What is God doing to save me?”, or “What is God doing to sanctify me?”

Often this leads to using every text in the Bible as the basis of an evangelistic sermon—even though those texts may have to be taken out of context in order to make that point. This can also, then, have the added consequence of causing confusion about the gospel.

Dispensational theology views Scripture under a broader purpose, which is the restoration of God’s purpose for creation.

You remember that everything began as being “very good” in the Garden of Eden. But that “very good” world quickly became very bad. God indeed promised a Redeemer shortly after the fall—and that Redeemer has come! But He has not yet fully restored creation, although He will do so in the future. That is why the last chapter of Revelation is very similar to the first chapter of Genesis. All of creation will be restored and will once again be “very good“!

And this is instructive for us as to how we are to understand the Bible. It covers a much broader topic than merely my own salvation or even the saving of all mankind. It encompasses God’s work in all of creation.

Theology Has Consequences
The belief that God’s ultimate purpose is to save humanity leads to amillennialism, because it involves the idea that God has no greater purpose for this earth. This is not the picture that Scripture represents to us.

Covenant theology usually also incorporates the idea that the church has replaced Israel. Its proponents believe that God’s ultimate focus is on saving individuals—regardless of their nationality. Thus, the eschatalogical importance of the nation of Israel (and her Promised Land) is severly de-emphasized. In fact, in the final analysis, the church itself becomes the kingdom of God on earth! Furthermore, the only thing that is important is saved humanity.

Dispensational theology teaches that God created everything for a purpose, and He will restore it to that purpose.

Covenant theology says that God created simply in order to support mankind, which He desires to save, and that once He saves mankind, nothing else matters.

Thus, there are many details in Scripture that will matter to a dispensationalist that will not matter in the same way to a covenant theologian.

If indeed the Bible is about the restoration of God’s purpose, then we ought to be very careful about reading ourselves into each passage. That passage might not be about you or me!

The Core Instruction for Biblical Interpretation
2 Timothy 2:15, a familiar passage of Scripture, gives us an important command regarding our treatment of Holy Scripture:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Every believer is commanded to make the effort to fulfill this instruction. The idea of “rightly dividing” is exactly that—you must “make a straight cut” in the Word of God. This actually makes dispensationalism a theological imperative. Dispensataionalism involves making a straight cut in the right places in the Scriptures.

Even a basic knowledge of the Bible allows us to realize that it must include divisions—at least between the Old Testament and the New Testament. However, we have to “study” in order to figure out where those places are where we must make a cut.

Dispensationalists believe that we must make such a cut at any place in Scripture at which there was a fundamental change of operation in God’s revelation to man. Then we must also decide which concepts carry over and remain in force from one dispensation to the next.

The clearest example of such a place for a cut is at the division between law and grace. Failure to recognize this—and to actually make the cut straight—leads to all manner of unbiblical subjectivity and confusion.

2 Timothy 2:16 gives us the opposite outcome that occurs when we do not rightly divide God’s Word—it leads to “profane and vain babblings.” Profane means “common or everyday.” It includes ideas that anyone could make up, in comparison to the sacred Word that God has revealed. Vain means “worthless.” Many churches today engage in discussion that amounts to “profane and vain babblings.” The same information as they provide is available commonly throughout the culture.

As opposed to offering this type of content, the one who is careful to divide God’s Word properly possesses a message of infinite importance.

Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here:

(Read Part 7)

Copyright © 2016 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.

Scripture taken from the King James Version.