Paul tells us to correctly partition, or rightly
divide, the word of truth, II Tim. 2:15. This might be hard to do
if he had not given us the key to it. He says that he had been
appointed as apostle to the gentiles, or nations, I Tim. 2:7, and that
the apostles to the Jewish ecclesia, or church, recognized this
appointment, Gal. 2:7-9. Nowhere does Paul speak of himself as an
apostle to the Circumcision. His work is for the
His epistles are to be cut off from all the rest of
scripture. All scripture is to be read by us for two
reasons. First, it contains matter, in some passages, that are of
race-wide interest. Second, we need to know how God deals with
others. But when we want to know what special promises, teachings,
etc., are for us as the body of Christ, we must look for it in the
writings of Paul. And we must remember that there is one sure way
to recognize his writings. His name is the first word in all his
epistles. Paul did not write Hebrew. Men have put his name
in the heading, but Paul did not place it in the text. I have no
doubt that it was written by someone who had come under Paul's ministry,
and understood why the Jews had been set aside. But the epistle is
not Paul's and does not come within the scope of his mission, which is
that of "an apostle and a teacher of the nations," II Tim.
We have no right to partition, or divide, Paul's
epistles. None of them is to the Circumcision. Aside from
the fact that he is the apostle to the nations, as stated by himself
several times, each epistle contains internal evidence that it is for
believers of the nations, or gentiles.
There are some things in his early epistles that are
modified later, but this does not argue that these things are not for
early believers among the nations. There was a period when both
the Jewish ecclesia and the body ecclesia existed at the same
time. In such case, the latter was more or less under the
domination of the former. Tim was required to get the saints
away from this. So, as a matter of expedience, certain gifts were
placed in the ecclesia. Paul says, I Cor. 12:7, "Now to each
one is given the manifestation of the spirit, with a view to
expedience." Then he mentions these gifts. They are
wisdom, knowledge, faith, the grace of healing operations of powers,
prophecy, discrimination of spirits, species of languages, translation
of languages." In the latter part of the chapter is found
this: "...first, apostles, second, prophets, third, teachers, thereupon
powers, thereupon graces of healing, supports, pilotage, species of languages.
Not all are apostles. Not all are prophets. Not all are
teachers. Not all are have powers. Not all have the graces
of healing. Not all are talking languages. Not all are
interpreting. Yet be zealous for the greater graces."
Let us remember that at least some of these were
temporary. This is indicated by the word,
"expedience." And it would seem that the apostle seeks
to show us which are NOT temporary, by numbering them"first,
apostles, second prophets, third teachers." Evidently these
three are the ones referred to when he says, "Be zealous for the
In the next chapter, 13, he shows the path suited to
transcendence. Many of these "gifts" or graces do not
belong in that path. The ability to foretell events, talking in
other languages, directly-revealed knowledgethese are to be
abrogated, verse 8. Later the grace of healing was taken away from
even Paul. He was not able to heal his Brother Timothy, but
had to suggest medicine for his infirmities, I Tim. 5:22.
However, three gifts remain prominently in the
ecclesiaapostles, prophets, teachers, Eph. 4:11. These are
number one, two and three in Paul's summary in I Cor., as I have just
quoted. This does not mean that we have prophets and apostles
today. Their work and teaching remain in the foundation of the
ecclesia, Eph. 2:20. These together with teachers, are evidently
the greater graces. In Eph. Paul adds to the gifts, pastors and
evangelists. These are to remain unto all saints attain to the
unity of the faith and the realization of a son of God," Eph.
4:13. As this has not been done, these gifts remain in the
I Cor. is written to the same people that received
copies of Eph. The latter was not written to the ecclesia in
Ephesus. It was a circular letter, copies of which were sent to
different ecclesias. The ecclesia in Ephesus was only one congregation
that received a copy. It contains matter that was intended for
those who had received Paul's earlier ministry, but which would have
been almost unintelligible to those who had not.
I Thess. is said to be Paul's earliest epistle.
Yet in that letter, he says things about the return of the Lord, that
contradicts what is said in the Circumcision scriptures concerning His
coming to Israel. See I Thess. 4:13-18. The Lord, Himself
will descend. He Himself, will blow the trumpet. The dead
shall be roused before the living saints are affected. All shall
meet Him in the air.
In the case of His coming to Israel, it is said,
"And then the sign of the Son of Mankind shall be appearing in the
heaven, and then all the tribes of the land shall be grieving, and they shall
be viewing the Son of mankind coming on the clouds of heaven with power
and much glory. And He shall be assembling His chosen ones from
among the four winds, from the extremities of the heavens, to their
extremities," Matt. 24:30, 31. According to Dan. 123,
the dead saints of Israel will NOT be roused before the living ones ore affected.
And according to Zech. 14, He shall come to the earth, and stand on the
Mount of Olives.
Don't try to read into I Thess. 4:13-18, what you
find in the Circumcision scriptures concerning the return of the
Lord. He shall come in the air, and snatch the ecclesia which is
His body away to met Him in the air. He shall come to the earth
for Israel, and send His angels to gather all His living chosen ones
from every section under the heavens, before He rouses the dead
saints. Thus TWO returns are fore toldone for us, and one for
The saints to whom the general epistle, (Eph.,) was
addressed, had already heard the word of truth, the evangel of their
salvation, Eph. 1:18. They were not a new body of saints, who had
not been the beneficiaries of Paul's earlier ministry. They were
the same ones to whom his earlier writings had been sent.
There is no difference between the body of Christ in
I Cor. 12, and the body mentioned in the Perfection epistles. The
fact that Christ is mentioned as the Head, in the latter writings, is no
reason for believing this is not true of the ecclesia mentioned in I
Cor. In the later ones, Paul is stressing the fact that the body
is dependent on Christ. In the earlier epistle he is telling of
the dependence of each member on other members. There is no
occasion to say anything about Christ as the Head.
Yes, we should divide the word of truth. But
not arbitrarily. We should RIGHTLY divide it.