RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH
Dr. Cyrus Ingerson Scofield
"The purpose of this pamphlet is to indicate
the more important divisions of the Word of truth."
THE BELIEVER'S TWO NATURES
The Introduction and previous chapters of Rightly Dividing
may be accessed via links in our
this pamphlet, Dr. Scofield outlines some basic and very important distinctions in Scripture that must be acknowledged for proper understanding. Among these are distinctions that are of particular concern to the messianic community. Perhaps the two most important distinctions in this regard are those between Israel and the Church and between the various ages in God's dealings with mankind, the latter of which are often referred to as "dispensations," each of which has been initiated by a covenant that radically altered God's expectations of those with whom He made the covenant and with those who subsequently entered into it.
Many reject the doctrine of dispensationalism, often on the grounds that it was invented by C.I. Scofield, a late eighteenth - early nineteenth century American minister. By the same token, many have rejected the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone on the same grounds: It was invented by Luther. Of course, Luther didn't invent the doctrine; it was in Scripture all the time. Similarly, Scofield didn't invent dispensationalism; it was in Scripture all the time. He merely brought it to the notice of millions, particularly through The Scofield Reference Bible, first published in 1909. Furthermore, there were many before him that recognized distinctions between the ages and developed the concept to varying degrees, at least as far back as Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) - virtually on the heels of Paul, who so copiously expounded on the subject. So there really was an unbroken line, or virtually unbroken line, of church leaders and theologians who recognized these "dispensations."
In 1885, Scofield issued Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, a pamphlet that "set the direction for his teaching and, through numerous editions, the agenda for a major segment of American fundamentalism."1 With this Shofar, the AMC is pleased to continue presenting the entirety of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, a concise aid that will help us in rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). - ed.
THE WORD OF TRUTH
THE BELIEVER'S TWO NATURES
say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things
that ye would.
~ Galatians 5:16-17 ~
Scriptures teach that every regenerate person is the possessor of two natures:
one, received by natural birth, which is wholly and hopelessly bad; and a new
nature, received through the new birth, which is the nature of God Himself,
and therefore wholly good.
The following Scriptures will sufficiently manifest what God thinks of the
old, or Adam nature: Behold, I was shapen in
iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none
that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone
out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that
doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)
God does not say that none of the unregenerate are refined, or cultured, or
able, or sweet-tempered, or generous, or charitable, or even religious. But He
does say that none are righteous, none understand God, or seek after Him.
It is one of the sorest of faith's trials to accept the divine estimate of
human nature, to realize that our genial and moral friends, who, not
infrequently, are scrupulous in the discharge of every duty, filled with
sympathy for the woes and the aspirations of humanity, and strenuous in the
assertion of human rights, are yet utter despisers of God's rights and
untouched by the sacrifice of His Son, whose divinity they with unspeakable
insolence deny and whose word they contemptuously reject. A refined and gentle
lady who would shrink with horror from the coarseness of giving a fellow
creature the lie, will yet make God a liar every day! (See I John 1:10; 5:10).
And this difficulty is vastly increased for thousands by the current praise of
humanity from the pulpit.
How startling the contrast between appearances and realities in the time
before the flood. There were giants in the earth in
those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the
daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men
which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)
And so it appeared that the world was growing better, in men's eyes; a
continual improvement they probably would trace, and the apparent result of
the unholy intermarriage of the godly with the worldly was the lifting up of
human nature to still grander heights.
But God saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only
evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed
evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness,
wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,
foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile man.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:14)
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it
is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are
in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8)
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times
past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the
mind; and were by nature the children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3)
By these it appears that the unconverted man has a three-fold incapacity. He
may be gifted, or cultured, or amiable, or generous, or religious. He may pay
his honest debts, be truthful, industrious, a good husband and father - or all
these together - but he can neither obey God, please God, nor understand God.
The believer, on the contrary, while still having his old nature, unchanged
and unchangeable, has received a new nature which
after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. The
following Scriptures will show the origin and character of the new man.
It will be seen that regeneration is a creation, not a mere transformation -
the bringing in a new thing, not the change of an old. As we received human
nature by natural generation, so do we receive the divine nature by
Verily, verily, I say unto thee
[Nicodemus, a moral, religious man], Except a man be
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but
of God. (John 1:12-13)
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ
Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)
It will be observed what bearing these Scriptures have upon that specious and
plausible, but utterly unscriptural phrase so popular in our day, "the
universal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man - an
expression all the more dangerous for the half-truth of the last clause. Not
all who are born, but all who are born again are the children of God. The
Scripture tells us indeed that Adam was the son of God, but it is also careful
to state that Seth was the son of Adam (Luke 3:38).
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is
created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature [literally, a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all
things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
And this "new man" is linked with Christ. I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in
me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son
of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
To whom God would make known what is the riches of
the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope
of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in
God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with
him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.
(2 Peter 1:4)
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of
sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)
And this is the record, that God hath given to us
eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and
he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (I John 5:11-12)
But this new, divine nature, which is Christ's own, subsists in the believer
together with the old nature. It is the same Paul who could say,
Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, who
also says, For I know that in me (that is, in my
flesh), dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18); and,
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil
is present with me (Romans 7:21). It was Job, the perfect and
upright man, who said, I abhor myself. It
was Daniel, eminently a man of God, who said, My
comeliness was turned in me into corruption, when he saw the
glorified ancient of days.
Between these two natures there is conflict. Study carefully the battle
between the two "I's": the old Saul and the new Paul in Romans 7:14-25. It is
an experience like this which so discourages and perplexes young converts. The
first joy of conversion has subsided, his glowing expectations become chilled,
and the convert is dismayed to find the flesh with its old habits and desires
within himself as before his conversion, and he is led to doubt his acceptance
with God. This is a time of discouragement and danger. Paul in this crisis,
cries out for deliverance, calling his old nature a
body of death. The law only intensifies his agony (though a
converted man), and he finds deliverance from the
flesh, not through effort, nor through striving to keep the law,
but through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans
The presence of the flesh is not, however, an excuse for walking in it. We are
taught that our old man is crucified with Christ;
that, in that sense, we are dead, and we
are called upon to make this a constant experience by mortifying ("making
dead") our members which are upon the earth.
The power for this is that of the Holy Spirit who dwells in every believer (I
Corinthians 6:19) and whose blessed office is to subdue the flesh.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not
fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and
the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so
that ye cannot do the things that ye would (Galatians 5:16-17).
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if
ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live
(Romans 8:13). Therefore, instead of meeting the solicitations of the old
nature by force of will, or by good resolutions, turn the conflict over to the
indwelling Spirit of God.
Romans 7 is a record of the conflict of regenerate man with his old self, and
is, therefore, intensely personal. I would,
I do not, I would
not, I do, is the sad
confession of defeat which finds an echo in so many Christian hearts. In
chapter 8 the conflict still goes on, but how blessedly impersonal! There is
no agony, for Paul is out of it; the conflict is now between
flesh Saul of Tarsus - and the Holy
Spirit. Paul is at peace and victorious. (It will be understood that this
refers to victory over the flesh, such inward solicitations to evil as lust,
pride, anger, etc.; temptations from without are met by recourse to Christ our
Consider attentively the following passages: Knowing
this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be
destroyed [annulled, rendered powerless] that henceforth we should not serve
sin (Romans 6:6).
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the
Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
For ye are dead [have died - in Christ], and your
life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed
unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not
provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:14)
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the
flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)
1. W.N. Kerr, "Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson," Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 1992 ed.
Dr. Cyrus Ingerson
Scofield (1843-1921) was an attorney,
evangelist, Congregational minister and writer.
Dividing the Word of Truth is
republished by permission of www.BibleBelievers.com,
where other fine articles
by Scofield and others may be found.
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