RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF
"The purpose of this
pamphlet is to indicate
the more important divisions of the Word of truth."
BELIEVERS AND PROFESSORS
Introduction and previous chapters of Rightly
may be accessed via links in our Library.
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
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
students have frequently applied to the
children of God
the warnings and exhortations meant only
for the self-deceived or hypocritical."
Ever since God has had a people
separated to Himself they have been sorely troubled
by the presence among them of those who professed to
be, but were not, of them. And this will continue
until the Son of man shall
send forth his angels, and they shall Sober [sic] out of his
kingdom all things that offend, and them which
do iniquity... Then shall the righteous shine
forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father
tells us of this mingling of tares and wheat - of
mere professors among true believers. Yet misguided
students have frequently applied to the children of
God the warnings and exhortations meant only for the
self-deceived or hypocritical.
The fact of such admixture is abundantly recognized
in the Scriptures. (See Gen. 4:3-5; Exod. 12:38;
Num. 11:4-6; Neh. 7:63-65; Neh. 13:1-3; Matt.
13:24-30, 37-43; 2 Cor. 11: 13-15; Gal. 2:4; 2 Pet.
It is impossible, in a brief Bible reading, to refer
to all the passages which discriminate true
believers from the mass of mere formalists,
hypocrites, or deceived legalists, who are working
for their own salvation instead of working out a
salvation already received as a free gift. (See
Phil. 2:12-13 with Eph. 2:8-9.) The following
comparison of verses will sufficiently indicate the
lines of demarcation.
ARE SAVED; MERE PROFESSORS ARE LOST
And he said to the woman,
Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace
And they continued
stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in
prayers (Acts 2:42).
My sheep hear my voice, and
I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto
them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than
all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my
Father's hand (John 10:27-29).
All that the Father giveth
me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out. And this is the
Father's will which hath sent me, that of all
which he hath given me I should lose nothing,
but should raise it up again at the last day
And while they went to buy,
the bridegroom came; and they that were ready
went in with him to the marriage: and the door
was shut (Matt. 25:10).
Even the righteousness of
God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all
and upon all them that believe: for there is no
difference (Rom. 3:22).
Let us be glad and rejoice,
and give honour to him: for the marriage of the
Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself
ready. And to her was granted that she should be
arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the
fine linen is the righteousness of saints
I am the good shepherd, and
know my sheep, and am known of mine
(John 10: 14).
Nevertheless the foundation
of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord
knoweth them that are his (2 Tim.
Verily, verily, I say unto
you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting
life (John 6:47).
Father, I will that they
also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where
I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou
hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the
foundation of the world (John 17:24).
Being confident of this
very thing, that he which hath begun a good work
in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus
Christ (Phil. 1:6).
But we are not of them who
draw back unto perdition, but of them that
believe to the saving of the soul
Then Simon himself believed
also: and when he was baptized, be continued
with Philip. But Peter said unto him ... Thou
hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for
thy heart is not right in the sight of God
They went out from us, but
they were not of us; for if they had been of us,
they would no doubt have continued with us: but
they went out, that they might be made manifest
that they were not all of us (John
But there are some of you
that believe not. For Jesus knew from the
beginning who they were that believed not, and
who should betray him. And he said, Therefore
said I unto you, that no man can come unto me,
except it were given unto him of my Father. From
that time many of his disciples went back, and
walked no more with him (John
Afterward came also the
other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you,
I know you not (Matt. 25:11-12).
Even so ye also outwardly
appear righteous unto men, but within ye are
full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Ye serpents, ye
generation of vipers! how can ye escape the
damnation of hell? (Matt. 23:28,33).
And when the king came in
to see the guests, he saw there a man which had
not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him,
Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a
wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then
said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and
foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer
darkness (Matt. 22:11-13).
Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and
in thy name done many wonderful works? And then
will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity
What doth it profit, my
brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and
have not works? can faith save him?
For it is impossible for
those who were once enlightened, and have tasted
of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of
the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of
God, and the powers of the world to come, if
they shall fall away, to renew them again unto
repentance (Heb. 6:4-6).
Now the just shall live by
faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him (Heb. 10:38).
ARE REWARDED; PRETENDERS ARE CONDEMNED
25:19-23 with Matthew 25:24-30; Luke 12:42-44 with
Luke 12:45-47; Colossians 3:24 with Matthew 7:22-23.
Some texts are not free from difficulty, but with
prayer and careful study light will surely come when
keeping in mind the important rule: Never use a
doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear
and positive one. Do not use an "if" to contradict a
"verily": Hebrews 6:6 to contradict John 5:24.
The cases of Judas Iscariot and of Peter should
present no difficulty. Judas was never a believer;
(see John 6:68-71). Peter never ceased to be one
It should be ever remembered that these principles
are to guide us only in rightly dividing the Word of
God, but are never to be applied to living persons.
The judgment of professors is not committed to us,
but is reserved to the Son of Man (Matt. 13:28-29; 1
1. W.N. Kerr, "Scofield, Cyrus
Ingerson," Evangelical Dictionary of Theology,
Dr. Cyrus Ingerson Scofield
(1843-1921) was an attorney,
evangelist, Congregational minister and writer.
the Word of Truth is republished
by permission of www.BibleBelievers.com,
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