By Charles H. Welch
For a note on the difference between ‘Doctrinal’ and ‘Dispensational Truth’, and their relationship one with the other, the reader is referred to the Introduction to this Part 1 of An Alphabetical Analysis, and to the article entitled EXCELLENT.
THE THREEFOLD DIVISION OF ALL TRUTH
The revelation given in the Scriptures comes to us in three forms:
What do we mean by Doctrinal Truth? - Doctrinal Truth embraces all that has been revealed concerning the Being and Attributes of God, and all that God has done, commanded, promised or foretold in Creation, Law and Grace. ‘All have sinned’ is true under whatever dispensation we may be called. ‘God is Just’ is as true under grace as it was under law. ‘To the Jew first’ was true during the period covered by the Acts, but cannot be put into practice since the dismissal of the Jew in Acts 28. This latter statement therefore comes rather under the next heading.
What do we mean by Dispensational Truth? - Dispensational Truth takes note of the purpose of the ages, the changes that have been introduced since Creation, such as may be denominated the Dispensation of Innocence, Law, Kingdom, Grace, Church, Mystery, etc., and the office of Dispensational Truth is to decide whether any particular doctrine - be it command, promise, calling or prophecy - does or does not pertain to any particular individual. Dispensational Truth would lead the believer to distinguish between the blessing which says, ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’, and those blessings which are described as ‘all spiritual’ and to be enjoyed ‘in heavenly places’.
What do we mean by Practical Truth? Not until doctrine has passed the mesh of Dispensational Truth, can Practical Truth put in its claim. It is obvious that the people of Israel, called to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation, with its sphere of influence in the earth, could not be called upon to put into practice the injunctions of Ephesians 4 to 6. In like manner, the Church of the One Body has no guarantee that obedience to the special truth of that calling will result in blessing in ‘basket and in store’. Those who are under the law, must have a very different form of practice from those who are under grace.
Only by loyally preaching and teaching the truth of God as related to these three aspects can we hope to become workmen who need not to be ashamed, for only by so doing shall we ‘rightly divide’ the Word of truth.
To all who discern ‘things that differ’ (Phil. 1:10 marg.) and who seek to obey the injunction ‘rightly to divide’ the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) we very warmly commend the following analysis of words, terms and Scripture references, that are employed in making known Dispensational Truth, believing that it will prove a tool in the hands of the ‘unashamed workman’ and that it will be of great service to both teacher and student alike.
A word or two may be of service relative to the method adopted in this analysis: First, the subjects selected appear in alphabetical order and not in any order of merit of relative importance. The word Aaron is relatively of slight importance to the believing Gentile today, but the office and witness of the Apostle is of first importance in the opening up of truth for the time, yet ‘AARON’ must head the list, even as the MYSTERY, a word of supreme importance dispensationally, necessarily comes later in the list.
In the second place, a distinction has been made in the type used to indicate subsidiary headings and those which are of first importance. For example ABBA is printed in small capitals Helvetica bold type, and stands at the beginning of the paragraph, because it is subsidiary to the main theme of ADOPTION. This subject of ‘adoption’ is differentiated from subsidiary articles by being printed in Helvetica bold type capitals, and being placed in the centre of the page, instead of at the beginning of the first line.
Structures. - Where the meaning of a term can be illuminated by the structure of the section in which the term occurs, that structure is given, and as the scope of a passage is of first importance in the interpretation of any of its parts, these structures, which are not ‘inventions’ but ‘discoveries’ of what is actually present, should be used in every attempt to arrive at a true understanding of a term, phrase or word that is under review. Under the heading STRUCTURE the uninitiated believer will receive an explanation and an illustration of this unique feature of Holy Scripture. In like manner, other exegetical apparatus such as Figures of speech and all such helps are indicated under the main heading INTERPRETATION.
References. - Where a word occurs ten times or less in the original a complete concordance will be provided. Where the number of references exceeds ten, a selection will be given, but an indication of its distribution, number and translation will be given in order that nothing relevant to the subject under consideration shall be omitted or ignored.
Greek and Hebrew words. - Those readers who can read the Greek and Hebrew originals of the Scriptures will understand the English transliteration adopted, while those readers who have no knowledge of the original languages will be encouraged to follow the argument, and refer to the Concordance and Lexicon by the fact that Hebrew and Greek words are printed with English letters. We have employed italic type for both Hebrew and Greek words, but we have not attempted to differentiate between long and short vowels, printing the ‘o’ in logos or lego alike, although in logos the vowels are short, while in lego the ‘o’ is long. Again in order to avoid confusion, the spelling of Hebrew words follows that employed in ‘Young’s Analytical Concordance’.