Study the ‘Things That Differ’
The KJV Authorized Bible Version for Philippians 1:10 reads as follows;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Philippians 1:10 (KJV)
Please consider this clarified version of Philippians 1:10:
“That you may approve the things that are excellent” may be better translated as “that you ‘examine, × like, (ap-) prove, try,’ the ‘things that differ,’ … that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:10 clarified)
- The word “approve” is the Greek dokimazo, which also can mean ‘to discern, examine, prove, or try [test].’
- The word “excellent” is form the Greek ‘diaphero’ translated here as meaning ‘to bear apart,’ so as to discern that which differs.’
We are to discern the things dispensationally… having found them to differ, bearing them apart.
Thus, we must not join those ‘things’ together. This is to “rightly divide” the ‘things’ we study according to Paul’s important admonition as to ‘how we are to study’ the “word of truth”.
2 Timothy 2:15. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
In other words; What God has differentiated… let no Bible student, preacher, or teacher join together.’
What must we divide or differentiate in order to discern the truth of Scripture?
Where should we start?
Unless we understand what happened with the end of the period of the Book of Acts, that is after Acts 28:28, we will never discern the things that bear apart (divide or differ). This verse marks a great change in the operative program of God.
28 Be it known therefore unto you [Israel], that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28:28 (KJV)
At this point in time God essentially temporarily set aside His program concerning Israel and the Kingdom of heaven that was long promised to come on earth, when He gave the Apostle Paul a 2nd ministry, now to the Gentile “body of Christ.” Paul explains how that after this Gentile age ends God will again return to Israel and fulfill every promise made to Abraham and his earthy seed who lived in like faith. Paul here explains the fall of Israel for a time.
10 Let their [Israel’s] eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? Romans 11:10-12 (KJV)
15 For if the casting away of them [Israel] be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? Romans 11:15 (KJV)
2 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery [secret], lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Romans 11:25 (KJV)
Thus, a major paradigm shift took place with the end of The Acts period, of which traditional Christianity is largely unaware. There are some important questions that arise for Bible students needing to be answered by Paul’s hermeneutic approach of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We have much study to do, so let us ask and consider these ‘things that obviously differ.’ In the endeavor to discern the changing dispensations we collect together the many “things that differ.”
- Why is John’s Gospel so different from the three “synoptic Gospels” of Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
- What happened that caused John 3:16 to offer the salvation of God to “whosoever believeth” in the world; while Matthew quotes Jesus saying “I am come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”?
- Why does John omit the word “repent”?
- Why does John omit the Lord’s Supper and the New Covenant?
- Did something change between the time Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written and when John’s Gospel was later written?
- Why was Paul called to be an Apostle in a different way that the other Twelve.
- Is it significant that Paul called by Jesus from heaven, while the 12 were called by Jesus on earth?
- Why was Paul given revelations that the others were not given?
- Why was Paul given two separate and distinct ministries? (One during Acts and one after Acts ended.)
- Why did Paul write two sets of epistles? (One during Acts and one after Acts ended.)
- Why are these two sets different?
- What happened that made these things necessary?
- Why didn’t Christ return seven years after His resurrection to fulfill Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks of years in Daniel 9:24-25?
- What happened to postpone last seven years that are called Daniel’s 70th week for such a long period of time? Peter says for the answer we must “listen to our brother Paul” (2Peter 3:15-16)
- Why does John the Baptizer say there are three forms of baptism in Matthew 3:11, while Paul says that now there is “One baptism” in Ephesians 4:5?
- Why does Paul say that there is the milk of the word for some and meat for others?
- We can observe that in one calling Christ is “King”; in another He is represented as a “Priest after the order of Melchisedec”; and in another He is designated as “Head over all things to the church, which is His body.” What does this mean?
- Why are some events labeled as being from “before the foundation of the world” and other events marked “from or since the foundation of the world”?
- What is the difference between the “appearing” (Gk. epiphaneia) of Christ (Phili. 3:20) and the “return” or the 2nd coming “presence” (Gk. parousia) of Christ.
- What is the difference between “the Day of the Lord,” the “Day of Christ,” and the “Day of God”?
- What is the difference between “the kingdom of [i.e., from] heaven” and the “church, which is His body”?
- Why are some said to be blessed in the holy city New Jerusalem from above (Gal 4:26), some are to inherit the earth (Mat 5:3-12), and yet some are to be “seated at the right hand of the Father with Christ” (Eph. 2:6) … “far above all” (Eph. 1:21).
- Why did Jesus speak in parables so that some could understand mysteries and some could not?
- Why are there mysteries [Gk. musterions, secrets] in the Bible? Does God keep secrets from some and not from others?
As we can see, there are many ‘Things That Differ’ in the whole of the Scriptures that must be discerned, as we bear them apart, “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
What affects the calling and eternal rewards of believers today is the acknowledging of what happened at the end of The Acts period concerning Israel’s fall and the “revelation of a mystery” to Paul.
(By Arthur J Licursi - Concept and portions adapted from Alan Naas)