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Volume 33 - Page 21 of 253 Index | Zoom | |
The Dispensational Landmark (28: 23 - 31).
Paul's use of the O.T., and the structure of the section.
pp. 21 - 24
We closed our last article with an intimation to the effect that besides the selection by
the inspired writer of the name "Jesus", there was another point of nomenclature worth
considering in Acts 28: 23, as compared with verse 31.
When Paul bore his testimony to the chief of the Jews, the basis of his exposition was
the law of Moses and the Prophets. But after Israel were set aside, his testimony is no
longer called "expounding" but "preaching" and "teaching", and the Scriptures are
unnamed. Now a false argument might be deduced from this absence of reference to
the then existing Scriptures, but an examination of Paul's subsequent ministry shows
that he still retained a whole-hearted belief and love for the Word of God. In fact, in his
last epistle we find the clearest testimony to the inspiration of "all Scripture"
(II Tim. 3: 14-17), yet, even so, there still remains to be weighed the fact of the absence
of any reference to the Scriptures in the last verse of the Acts, which is set in such
pointed contrast with the twenty-third verse.
If we turn the page and look at the first epistle that follows, that to the Romans, we
observe that the gospel of God is that "which He promised afore by His prophets in the
holy scriptures" (Rom. 1: 2), and that the very doctrine of justification by faith is "as it is
written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1: 17). Indeed "What saith the scripture?"
(Rom. 4: 3) might well be taken as epitomizing Paul's attitude in these early epistles.
Altogether Paul uses the word graphe, "scripture", fourteen times. Seven of the
occurrences are in Romans, two in I Corinthians and three in Galatians, leaving only
two in the epistles written after the setting aside of Israel, namely, I Tim. 5: 18 and
II Tim. 3: 16.
Upon examination we discover that neither of these two latter has
anything to do with the teaching of the mystery, for I Tm. 5: 18 deals with the
recognition of service, a matter of practice that is quite inter-dispensational, and
II Tim. 3: 16 is the Apostle's testimony to "All Scripture" which precludes references to
any particular doctrine.
The phrase "It is written" is used by Paul some forty times in his early epistles, but is
entirely absent from the epistle written after Acts 28: 25. Let us then examine
Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians and see the manner in which the O.T. Scriptures
are used, or referred to, in them.
We read the whole of the first chapter of Ephesians down to the twenty-second verse
before we come to a reference, viz., "And hath put all things under His feet" (Psa. 8: 6),
but if the reader will compare "what" are here said to be put under his feet, with what are
said to be under His feet in Eph. 1: 21-23, he will agree that the Apostle owed nothing to
the O.T. for what he writes in Eph. 1: 21-23. We read on through chapter 2:, through
chapter 3:, through chapter 4: to verse 8 before we meet with the next quotation.