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David Pawson

By God, I Will: The Biblical Covenants

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It must bewilder many Christians that teachers and preachers using the same Bible can come up with so many different interpretations and, more particularly, applications of God’s Word.

One of the main reasons for this confusion is their handling of the word ‘covenant’, which is so fundamental to scripture.

The two key questions are: how many covenants has God made with human beings and how many of these apply to Christians today? Some say there is only one (‘the covenant of grace’) running right through scripture, though they might add a second (‘a covenant of works’) which applied only to Adam in Eden. Most think there are two (the ‘old’ and the ‘new’) corresponding to the Old and the New ‘Testaments’ (a synonym for ‘covenant’). Others claim to have found seven (though they usually call them ‘dispensations’). This author believes there are five which are basic to the story of our redemption – the Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and Messianic. Only one of these is ‘old’ and therefore obsolete; only one is ‘new’ but endorses the other three.

With this insight we can ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15; NIV has ‘correctly handle’). See if you agree!

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