0 Dispensationalism


There is a great need for a commentary on the four Gospels which would have as its primary objective to show the relationship between the earthly teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and those of the Old Testament prophets, the Book of Acts, the Pauline epistles, and the future development of the Kingdom of God. It is of great importance to grasp the primary meaning of these teachings as they were intended to be understood by those who were actually addressed.

Most of the available commentaries on the Gospels deal with each of the books separately. Since there is so much in common between the four Gospels, especially between the first three, it is best suited to deal with the four collectively, instead of individually, thus following the form of a harmony.

The King James Version will be used as the basic text in this study.

It is not possible to arrange the events in the life of our Lord in an exact chronological order, and that for several reasons. The Gospel writers do not relate events in the same chronological order. Many events are recorded in only one of the Gospels, often making it difficult to place them in the correct order. Many events as recorded by each of the writers might appear to be identical, but may be only similar, having taken place on different occasions. But in a work of this kind some order must be decided upon, and the decision has been made to follow very closely the order as found in the gospel of Mark.

We adopt a literal type of interpretation of the Scriptures, as opposed to a spiritualizing principle. He accepts the principle enunciated by the Apostle Paul that the present divine economy was not made known to the sons of men in other ages and generations. He advocates the Pre-millennial view of the Second Coming of Christ and the Pre-tribulation view of the Rapture of the Church. In keeping with the views of most Pre-millennialists, he is committed to the dispensational principle of interpretation of Scripture. The dispensational principle is the recognition of the fact that God has from time to time, made certain administrational changes in His dealings with His people, an example of which is stated in Heb. 7:12: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Dispensational hermeneutics seeks to discover such changes and to interpret the Scriptures accordingly.

Dispensationalists teach that the blood of Christ is the basis for man’s salvation in every dispensation (Rom. 3:25), and that faith in God and in His Word has been the human requirement for salvation in every dispensation (Heb. 11:6). However, the content of God’s revelation to man has varied from one dispensation to another. It was not possible that the Old Testament saints could have had as the conscious object of their faith the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we have today. Their faith in God was manifested in other  ways, as is clearly taught in the catalog of men of faith in Hebrews 11, beginning with Abel down to the last of the prophets. Faith always believes God; whether He says to bring a sacrifice or believe in the sacrifice of Christ.

While it is very important to understand to whom God is speaking in the various parts of the Bible, and thus keep the dispensations distinct, it is equally important to understand the purpose of the Bible, whatever dispensation is involved. The purpose of the Bible is stated very succinctly in 2 Tim. 3:16,17: “All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Jesus came to save us from sin: not simply from the penalty of sin and to get us to heaven at last, important as that is; but to save us from sin itself. Unless our study of the Bible has a sanctifying influence upon our manner of life, unless it cleanses our lives from sinful acts and habits, unless it promotes the fear of God, unless it increases our love for Jesus Christ, unless it produces fruitful service for God, it is all in vain. We must know the Word of God in order for it to produce these results, as it is possible to know the facts of the Word without having our lives changed and conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:29).

(Main Source: Understanding The Gospels – A Different Approach – Charles F. Baker)