I mentioned yesterday that the eighth parable in Matthew 13:51-52 has to do with the disciples of Jesus (us) "bringing forth out of His treasure things new and old." The householder always describes a position of responsibility to use wisely what has been placed in his trust. Since all good gifts are from the Father, all of us are answerable to Him (James 1:7). Of course, no Christian questions God's gifts, for the evidence of His benevolence is clear. Even the word "gifts" comes from the same Greek root from which we translate the word "grace" (charis). The stewardship He has given us requires believers to be faithful. Jesus used the parable found in Matthew 25:14-30 to clearly define His will concerning all that He has given us.
Looking again at the eighth parable, we find that the treasure placed in our hands is partly old, and partly new. The steward is to bring out, or reveal His treasure, presumably to others. Since Jesus is speaking of the disciples understanding of His teaching, I believe the old and new are the Testaments of God's Word. And as such, we are to "spread the seed" that others might come to life in Him. Another responsibility we have with the Word of God is that we thoroughly study it. Paul is the only writer to use the Greek word orthotomeo, which is translated "rightly divided" in 2 Timothy 2:15 and as a tent maker, he was familiar with the importance of cutting a straight line. The Word of God needs to be "dissected" (Old from New Testaments; History from Prophecy; Faith from Works; etc.).
There is another way that the Bible needs to be rightly divided, and it speaks to stewardship. Paul's use of the word oikonomia is translated "dispensation" and Luke's is given as "stewardship." They mean the same thing, except one focuses upon the property itself (stewardship), and the other, the length of time (dispensation). It is extremely important that a disciple understand that while all the Bible is given by inspiration and is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17), not all of the Bible applies in all situations. The Word of God presents seven dispensations in which He has helped man to better know Him. For example: 1) Adam through Abraham had no Bible; 2)Moses through Jesus had the some or all of the Old Testament; and 3) from Jesus as the Lamb of God through Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, we have the New Testament. These three periods are primarily about Gentiles, Jews, and now, a combination of both as Christians. Each had progressively revealed more about God. Each held man responsible for a specific stewardship. And, each ended in judgment for those stewards who were unfaithful.
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will try to demonstrate how each of the seven dispensations effects the interpretation of God's Word. Or, how to "rightly divide" it.