Jews, Gentiles , or the Church?

1 Cor 10-32

The narcissistic church thinks that everything in the bible is written to them. This has caused massive confusion and results in wrongly dividing the Bible. God always addresses one of the following three groups according to 1 Corinthians 10,

32 Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

 

One of the requirements to rightly divide the Bible is to be aware of who is being addressed. We can learn from the entire bible (Romans 15:4) but only certain parts are addressed to the Church. God tells us who he is addressing if we search the context. Let’s explore these three groups and look at some examples.

  • The Jews

The Jews are God chosen ones. They trace back their bloodline to Jacob/Israel. Most of the Old Testament is addressed to the Jews. They received the Mosaic law and were instructed, guided, and protected by God.  Christ traces his Jewish roots by to Judah for his claim as an Israelite.

In Romans 9 Paul turns from the Church then addresses  the Jews.

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

He continues addressing the Jews in chapter 10

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

In Romans 11 Paul changes his audience from the Jews to the Gentiles.

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office:

Then in Romans 12 he turns back to the Church.

The book of James is addressed to the Jews. James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which, are scattered abroad, greeting.

 

 

  • The Gentiles

The Gentiles are the nations. All of the non-Jewish people in the world are Gentiles.

 

In Romans 8 God comforts us with these words

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

We are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Now turn to Romans 11 and we’ll see something contradictory and unsettling

21 for if God spared not the natural branches take heed lest he also spares not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

 

How do we reconcile that “nothing can separate from the love of God” and take heed unless “you also shalt be cut off”? The answer is these are addressed to two different groups. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God” in Romans 8 is addressed to the church. The section in Romans 11 is explained by Romans 9 where a different group is addressed

For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the fleshwho are Israelites;…

 

And then in Romans 11 he begins addressing the Gentiles

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office:

 

Now we know that the warnings and threats from Romans 11:21-22 about taking heed unless you be “cut off” is for our learning concerning the Gentiles but is not addressed to the Church of God. The entire bible is God-breathed, profitable, and for our learning. But only certain parts are addressed to the church. If the entire bible is interpreted as applied to the Church then we introduce confusion, error, and are not approved before God rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

It is critical to know to whom a letter or email is addressed. My wife Wendy may receive an invite to meet for lunch on Friday. I may read the invite and learn that she will be having lunch with a friend on Friday but it would be inappropriate for me to show up because the invite was not addressed to me. We understand the importance of this canon in our lives but then disregard it when studying the Word of God. The same principle applies.

Let’s look at another example in the book of James. In Romans 6 we learn that we are not under the law,

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law but under grace.

 

But then we get to the book of James and read in chapter 2,

If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin and are convinced of the law as transgressors10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

 

How can the church not be “under the law” in Romans and also become a “transgressor of the law”? This confusion is cleared up by reading James 1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

 

The 12 tribes are the blood line of the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. This letter is addressed to the Jews and not to the church. This knowledge removes any confusion. Am I implying that you should skip this letter? God forbid. This epistle is critical to our practical walk. Some call this letter the New Testament equivalent of Proverbs in the Old Testament.

 

  • The Church of God

There are 9 letters addressed to the church. I will show you the introductions which show to whom these letters are addressed.

Romans 1

among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christto all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The Church is called of Jesus Christ and another name for the believers is saints. Parts of chapters 9-11 are not addressed to the Church but are for our learning.

1 Corinthians 1

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The Church is also called those that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Galatians 1

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 1

 

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Colossians 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

1 Thessalonians 1

 

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2 Thessalonians 1

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

There is a total of 9 Church letters addressed to 7 different churches. These letters contain the instructions addressed TO the Church of God. Mastering the information in these letters is critical to the equipping of the saints.

 

Neither the Old Testament nor the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are addressed TO the Church of God. However, there is an abundance of information that is for our learning, which is needed to understand parts of the Church letters.

 

 

 

 

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