Principles of
Right Division

Berean Expositor




"It is widely acknowledged that we tend to find in scripture exactly what we have conceived as already being there, since none of us can easily face the threatening possibility that our 'received' understanding does not coincide with the Bible.  (The problem is compounded if we are involved in teaching or preaching the Bible.)  A religious doctrine which has been accepted intellectually and emotionally is dislodged with great difficulty."

Anthony F. Buzzard
Charles F. Hunting
The Doctrine of the Trinity;
Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound

"There is nothing so absurd but that, if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it."

Dr. William James
The Father of Modern Psychology

"Plans pertain to the heart of man, but the last word is from the Lord." (Prov. 16:1)

… Paul had on more than one occasion experienced the crossing of his plans.  Nevertheless he had proved that the "last word" of the Lord excelled the dearest plans of the heart of man.  "Forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia," he "assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered him not," and therefore taking the only course left he found himself at Troas, there to see the vision of the man of Macendonia, and to "gather assuredly" both the will of the Lord and the reason for the closed doors in Asia and Bithynia (see Acts 16:6-9).  On another occasion the Corinthians apparently suggested that he made promises but did not keep them, and the paraphrase of Chrysostom on II Corinthians 1:17 is:

"Did I show levity . . . . . or do I plan after the flesh, that the yea with me must be always yea, and the nay always nay, as it is with a man of the world who makes his plans independently of God's overruling of them?"

It may appear to be a very high standard of righteousness that makes a man's word his bond: it may actually be a higher one still for a man to appear untrustworthy because he desires ever to obey the higher will of God. …… Consistency has sometimes been obeyed before the claims of added light, and then consistency becomes self-will and pride.  It is certainly humbling for a leader to confess to making a mistake, but what a trustworthy leader is he who will make the confession!

Charles Welch
Just and the Justifier

"No trumpets, no shouts, marked the beginning of the dispensation of the mystery.  Just the simple statement, 'The salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles'... There is no evidence that the end of the dispensation of the mystery will be anymore spectacular than its beginning.  It is likely that it will never make the headlines in the papers.  It has been going on so secretly and silently during all these centuries since Paul spoke those words in Rome, that the great bulk of Christendom does not know anything about it.  It is still a secret, made known only to such as are saints and faithful.  It is not known by a study of the Bible as a book among other books.  No amount of worldly learning or degrees can search out the secret.  One must receive the gift of the spirit of wisdom and knowledge.  The understanding must be enlightened.  There are those who talk about the mystery, but that is no guarantee that they know it.  Many know that there was a dispensational boundary at the end of Acts, but know nothing of what lies beyond.  This is especially true of some sects which have agreed with the teaching that there is a change of dispensation so that they might catch some unaware.  But they are unable to define the mystery.  You get absolutely no light on the subject from their writings.  This is a good thing to keep in mind when examining anything new."

Oscar Baker
Silently, Secretly, Mysteriously

"Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; FOR THAT IS HIS PORTION" (Eccles. 3:22).

What comes after that no one can say.  "For who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?" (3:22).   Yet again in chapter 5:18,19

"Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: FOR IT IS HIS PORTION.   Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to TAKE HIS PORTION, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God".

Finally in 9:9,10:

"Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for THAT IS THY PORTION in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest".

These passages come as a revelation from heaven upon the true nature of this present life.  Here in this life we are but practising our scales, the public performance is future.  We are now perfecting our powers of drawing, the academy picture is future.  We do not call our friends around us to hear our scales, neither do we hang in the public gallery our many attempts with chalks and crayon.  So with this life. Solomon realized that his portion was in the doing, and not in the result.

"If what shone afar so grand
Turns to nothing in thine hand,
On again: the virtue lies
In the getting, not the prize".

This is perhaps pessimistic.  Life's lessons need not "turn to nothing".  The "exercise" may yield peaceable fruits of righteousness, the sorrows may accomplish our perfecting.  A professor of economics once said to his students, "LIVE ALL THE TIME".  His meaning was — "Do not set out in life with the idea that you will work hard till you are, say, 50 years of age, and that then you will retire to some nice country house, with well–kept lawns, and enjoy life, for you will do no such thing".  "Live all the time".  Think, that little one of yours, for whose "future" you anxiously and wearily toil, whose budding life you hardly know you are engrossed so much with the imaginary youth of the future.  If you would learn the lesson of Ecclesiastes, you will put aside that opportunity of "extra business", which would add so many more pounds [money] to your reserve for your child's "future", and you will go and "live" with the little one for an hour or so; you will then enter into your portion, all the rest is simply vanity and vexation of spirit.  Too late many a parent wakes up to the fact that in thus slaving and saving he has really robbed his child and himself of their true inheritance.   Live all the time".

It is quite untrue to think that the conclusion of Ecclesiastes is wicked or sad.  Having faced facts and realized what life is, we conjure up no illusions, and chase no mirages.  "Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest" says Koheleth, not live morbidly, morosely, grudgingly.  Entertain no false ideas of life, and then life can be a blessed thing.  Life is a pilgrimage, a series of halts and moving on again.  When we make up our minds to achieve anything for its own sake then we find that all is vanity and vexation of spirit.  When we realize that nothing is a goal in itself, but merely a means to an end, we shall not call the time wasted that helped us on another stage of our pilgrimage, even though the moment we achieved some object of desire, it ceased to attract or be of service.  So immediately following upon the rejoicing with which Koheleth had engaged in the labours he had planned, we find dissatisfaction and vexation when viewed in themselves and for their own sakes.

"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (Eccles. 2:11).

The labour that you may be "exercised" therewith is good.  The resulting "work" which you produce may be very emptiness.  If your heart is in the discipline, all is well, but if your heart is set on the result here in this life, then all is vanity.  Even Alexander wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.  Let us thank God for the portion He gives us, and ever remember that parallel Psalm 73.  Speaking of the seemingly prosperous wicked, Asaph says:

"I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked....they have more than heart could wish... they increase in riches".

Need Asaph have envied such?  Ask him as he leaves the sanctuary of God:

"Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places....
Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee....
God is....my PORTION for ever".

Charles H. Welch

"... the promised messiah was given the title God in Psalm 45:6: 'Thy throne, God, is for ever and ever.'... The highest honor was given to Jesus by Thomas when he addressed him with the royal messianic titles 'Lord' and 'God,' derived from Psalm 45:6,11.  The very occasional use of 'God' for Jesus is a special reference. obviously, then, it might be very misleading to say in the twentieth century that 'Jesus is God,' unless we first understand in what sense that word is used by John (and Thomas whom he reports).  Our use of words must not dictate the Bible's usage.  We may not simply rely on the sound of a word without inquiring about its meaning.  Above all, we must be willing to let go of a dogmatic insistence on acceptance of doctrine without inquiry.  Such inflexible adherence to the way we have always believed blocks the search for truth which is the hallmark of the growing Christian."

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

Anthony F. Buzzard
Charles F. Hunting
The Doctrine of the Trinity;
Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound

"Accuracy is an essential requisite in the study of Holy Scripture.  It is the portal of admission to the temple of truth.  Next to the great requirement to 'rightly apportion' the word, the most important part of Biblical exercise is the study of the words employed by the Holy Spirit."

Things To Come, Vol. 15, p. 5

"Thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble (exercise) thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no.  And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live"  (Deut. 8:2,3).

This is parallel with the teaching of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

"God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make the issue, that ye may be able to bear up under it" (Author's translation).

and again, in Hebrews 12:11:

"No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless AFTERWARD it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby".

Oh, the tragedy of unlearned lessons!  The trial passed through without being exercised, the suffering endured without result, the heavy stroke without the blessed fruit.  God has so ordered the affairs of men that this world shall not yield only joy and gladness; sorrow, vexation and worry at every turn beset the sons of men, not out of caprice or indifference, but that they may be exercised, humbled therewith.  And the Christian too passes through sore trials, so that he may learn to lean harder and more completely upon his Lord.

Has the reader been "exercised" thereby?  Have you gone on your knees with your trouble to ask that you may not miss its lesson?  Have you realized that He who sends the trial shapes the issue?   (1 Cor. 10:13 lit.).

Charles H. Welch

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  THE CHRISTIAN'S GREATEST NEED     Harden Not Your Hearts  
  The TWO NATURES        
        in the Child of God
  Sexual Ethics: A Biblical Perspective     Death No Gateway To Heaven  

"We write, however for a wider circle, and desire to place before them the testimony of all Scripture on this subject, believing that he who has the truth need not fear the fullest light, but will know beforehand, that if what he holds is truth, the fuller the search the fuller will be the confirmation.  Moreover, if his desire be honest, he will welcome the testimony of all scripture, so that should any error have crept into his creed it may be exposed and put away."  C.H. Welch from "Hell or 'Pure from the blood of all men'"