In mid-Acts dispensationalism (a form of hyperdispensationalism), it is taught that only Paul's writings (from Romans to Philemon) are applicable to the church today and that the other parts of the Bible are informational only.

What, specifically, is the logical basis for this position?

  • 2
    I have my doubts about whether mid-Acts dispensationalists actually believe that; it seems like they would accept Revelation and John's epistles as well. Do you have evidence for this? Apr 26, 2015 at 19:25

3 Answers 3


Mid-Acts dispensationalist here, and yes, we do believe only Paul's letters are applicable to the church today. (So when I say "we", I mean mid-acts dispensationalists)

The main verse we use is 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.

Here we are told to "rightly divide" the word of truth. To put it more simply, all of the bible is for us, but not all of it is to us. In order to determine who the author is writing to, you have to look at who they say they are writing to.

If you were to just open your bible and look at a verse, say Genesis 6:14, you might read: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."

So, are Christians supposed to go out and build arks? Of course not. But why? If all the bible is for us then why wouldn't we follow this verse? It is because this verse is not to us. Looking at the previous verse tells us, "And God said unto Noah". Likewise, we should use the same logic for every other verse/book.

I'm sure you've heard of the "interesting" laws in Leviticus, such as: you are not allowed to mix certain fabrics. Do Christians today need to follow this verse? No, because that verse was written to those under the law, specifically, those under the dispensation of the law.

Let's move farther into the book, there is a highly quoted verse in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." You've probably seen it on plaques and sold around town. Again, mid-acts dispensationalists believe this verse is not to us because we search for whom the writer is talking to. If we look at the first verse in this same chapter, we see who this verse is talking to "the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon". That description does not fit any of us today, therefore that verse is not for us today.

As you can see, any book in the "Old Testament" is either written to those under the law, or in the dispensation of the law (or prior when reading Genesis).

Another thing we notice is that there is God's chosen people, Israel, and the rest of the world, Gentiles. Looking at the first 4 books written in the "New Testament" (Matt-John) we see that these describe the teachings of Jesus. When Jesus was teaching, everyone he talked to was still "under the law". We see this when Jesus says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments," when responding to the question from the rich man of "what must I do to inherit eternal life". We are also given a clue to Jesus' audience when he says in Matthew 15:24 "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus' message was to Israel. And his apostles' message was to Israel: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6). Why did He only want to deal with Israel? Because salvation was of the Jews:"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22)

We, today, are not Jews. We are gentiles. So why would we take mail addressed to Jews and apply it to Gentiles?

When we get to Paul and his letters, we see he is writing to us, the Gentiles. Romans 11:13 "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office". And Romans 15:15-16 "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."

Paul clearly tells us who he is writing to.

Looking at Hebrews - Jude, those books were written to "the little flock" or "12 tribes" who are believers during the 70th week of Daniel (See James 1:1) based on the context clues/verses within the books. What I mean is that there are verses that "contradict" what Paul says. But we believe the bible does not contradict, so those books must be talking to different people during a different dispensation. These books talk about "enduring to the end" and "obeying the law" and "if you sin then God is not with you". These are all signs of the New Testament, as described by Jesus and the prophets from the Old Testament. A time when God will write the law on their hearts.

Revelation describes future events, and isn't really doctrine. So, it's hard to say it "applies" to anyone specifically. It's just telling future events, not ways to be saved that should apply to your daily life.

References to show that this isn't only me:

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    Nice informative post, and welcome to the site. We're glad you're here. I gave a +1 in advance because I suspect you are right, but what would help the answer greatly and certainly bring in more upvotes is if you linked to a source or two that support what you've said. I hope to see you more in the future.
    – user3961
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:04
  • Doesn't the Revelation specifically address 7 churches? Are these Jewish or Christian churches? Also, in addition to the 144,000 first fruits from the 12 tribes there is the great crowd from all nations. I'm a mid-Acts dispo but it seems that the 4th gospel and the Revelation and possibly the John letters are all clued into the mysteries that Paul taught, though I'm open.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 29, 2017 at 15:40

Mid-Acts Dispensationalism or Pauline/General Epistles only also comes from a content-based argument. The thought is that what we see in the Gospels and Acts is transitional in nature. Since Christians do not receive the Holy Ghost as flames of fire above their heads, since there is no time-gap between believing and receiving the Holy Spirit after Acts (1 Cor 12:13 with Eph. 4:4-5) we must read the events of Acts with a different dispensational understanding.

There is also the idea that the Gospels, especially the Synoptics, are Jewish in nature, while the Epistles encompass both Jew and Gentile, who make up the Church. So the Church should be primarily concerned not with the transitional books (Gospels and Acts) but with the books that pertain to them, Pauline Epistles and General Epistles, though usually James is thought to be very early historically and written to the 12 tribes of Israel (Jam. 1:1). James 2 also seems to contradict the Pauline view of justification by faith alone.

In general, these understandings represent a hyper-dispensational view, and have been rejected by both dispensationalists and covenant theologians.

  • A correct understanding of Paul's view on faith does not clash with the writings and views of James in my opinion. Reading all of Paul's writings in Galatians shows a much more robust view of faith than any 'faith alone' argument brings.
    – Adam Heeg
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:35

I think the logical basis comes from saying we are in the 'church age' so only the writings of Paul about the rules for this age are 'directly relevant'. Other parts of the bible obviously help us to read the writings of Paul correctly.

See the table in this link for a summary of the different ages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensationalism

The logic is:

  1. 'the fall'= we thought we could do it all ourselves
  2. 'the law' = a way to live that would bring blessings upon God's people (but with only a few like Moses, Joshua and David being filled with God's spirit)
  3. 'pentecost' = through the actions of Jesus we are all able to be filled with Gods spirit and walk humbly in the spirit to do God's work.

As we are in the 'Church Age' and able to be filled with the God's spirit some people say Paul's writings argue there are no rules except that we walk humbly in the spirit seeking to do God's will. (eg. St Augustine saying 'love God and do what you please'). However, Paul's writings would also suggest we need to work at this and be subject to church discipline when we start failing to show the fruits of the spirit (depending on the church this might be through greed, sexual immorality, envy, gossip etc as shown in Paul's writings to various churches he had helped establish). Today, liberal churches tend to focus more on whether churches are showing the fruits of the spirit without strict rules whereas more fundamentalist churches tend to focus on specific issues of church discipline Paul noted with churches of his time and apply the same rules to their own church.

The above logic based on dispensationalism can be supplemented with the amillennial or postmillennial views. That is, through Jesus actions each of us can accept growth in the holy spirit - and can therefore participate in the growth of God's Kingdom here and now on earth (John 12:31-32). According to Amillennialists, the church age is simply the Kingdom of God on earth, lived out by His followers (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-is-the-church-age/#ixzz3bQGHv7ci).

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE! I hope you'll spend some time browsing the questions and answers here. Thanks also for offering an answer. Does this answer represent the views of a particular church or denomination that you belong to? Christianity.SE is more about the beliefs of whole groups of Christians than about individual views. For some tips on writing good answers, please see: What makes a good supported answer? May 26, 2015 at 1:38
  • Welcome to the site. This answer is okay. Some corroborating sources would make it better. Can you edit some in?
    – user3961
    May 26, 2015 at 19:56

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