By Oscar M. Baker
[In the last article some general principles of right division were given as noting ‘the address on the envelope’. The following gives some additional specific examples of the need for rightly dividing the Word.]
We have to be careful about applying James 5:14, which talks about anointing the sick with oil and praying over them. The Epistle of James is addressed to the 12 tribes that are scattered abroad, and you’ll find that in James 1:1. So there is no occasion today among Gentile believers to follow this instruction in James. Now there’s some very good teaching in James that is profitable, but here is one point that is not in the line of our duty today. In general the teaching in James is addressed to Israel, and when they were expecting the Kingdom, and not concerning the Church which is the body of Christ.
There’s another thing that brings about many mistaken ideas today. It is a habit among many of our Bible teachers to do like Eve did---she added to and she took away from what God had said when she was speaking to the serpent (Gen.3:2 & 30). And I find this true of Luke 24:49. It says, “…but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” This is the way they usually read it, “but tarry until ye be endued with power from on high”, and they leave out, “in Jerusalem”. Now specifically these folks, the condition upon which they were to be endued with power on high (which they were at Pentecost) was that they were to remain in Jerusalem. Not in Chicago, not in San Francisco, or New York, or not up in Galilee, but in Jerusalem---that is where they were to tarry. And if anybody is going to try to tarry today they have to take that whole command, that whole verse and not pick out a part of it! You can’t be picky when you’re operating with the scriptures. That is one of those very dishonest things about handling the scriptures, adding to and taking away. And when you come to the prison Epistles of Paul which have to do with the Church which is the body of Christ, you don’t find anything about tarrying until you be endued with power from on high---that’s not the subject.
If we are to attain unto the truth of the Word of God, IT MUST BE RIGHTLY DIVIDED, and especially with reference to various dispensations. And we find that if you distinguish between the dispensations in the Bible, many of these so-called discrepancies that people talk about, disappear. If you don’t make that distinction you may find that one part of scripture may seem to contradict another because it’s written to another family.
[From a T.F.T. radio tape.]