There are three and only three groups of people in the Bible. A proper understanding of the Scriptures relies on many things, but this is one of the most basic. By understanding who these three groups are, and how they factor into God’s eternal economy, we can better understand the Right Division of the word.
The entire Bible was penned by Jews. The entire Old Testament deals entirely with Jews. The Gospels, the first part of Acts, and the entire books of Hebrews through Revelation also deal with Jews specifically. The Jew is the most important individual or group of individuals throughout the vast majority of the Bible. As far as God is concerned, the Jews were always and will always be the most important of the three groups of people.
- Genesis 12, God called Abraham out of Haran (Gen. 12:1-3)
- God promised to make a mighty nation out of Abraham and in turn, his sons (Gen. 12:2-3, 21:18, 22:17, 32:12, 46:3)
- The books of Exodus through Numbers give the Jewish Law of Moses
Basically, the entire Old Testament is written through the eyes of Jews, and deals with non-Jews only as they come in contact with Jews.
The secondof these three groups is the Gentiles. The Gentiles are all non-Jews; in essence, anyone that is not a descendant of Abraham falls into this category. There are many Gentiles that show up in the Old Testament, and a few of them even wind up in the lineage of Christ (a Jew!): Rahab, a harlot of Canaan, and Ruth, a Moabite! However, they are only mentioned as they touch or deal with the Jews.
- When Jesus came, He specifically said that He was only sent to the Jews (Matt. 15:24)
- Jesus told His disciples NOT to go in the way of the Gentiles (Matt. 10:5)
- Gentiles are referred to as “uncircumcised,” as they did not partake of the ceremonial Law of the Jews (1 Chron. 10:4, Eze. 44:9)
- Gentiles are called “strangers” in the Old Testament
Gentiles are generally spoken of as an unsavory lot in the Bible. God dealt with the Jews alone, and when a Gentile wanted to seek God, he was required to become a Jewish proselyte and keep the Law to be accepted in the congregation.
The third, and most important (and most misunderstood) group is the Church, the body of Christ. This is not speaking of the local, visible, physical assembly of believers, but rather the universal, spiritual Body of Christ, of which all born again Christians are a part.
- The Church is made up of men and women, Jews and Gentiles, but we lose our physical distinction in the Body of Christ (Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:11)
- We are baptized by the Holy Spirit into this Body at Salvation; this is a spiritual baptism, and has nothing at all to do with water (1 Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:27)
- The Church (one body) is the whole Body of Christ that contains only Born Again Believers, but is comprised of many individual, local churches made up of both saved people and some lost people. (Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor. 12:12)
Some people believe in only one group or the other, but the Bible clearly teaches that both exist, even beside logic. The Body of Christ cannot contain lost people, but local churches certainly do (even one of the Twelve Disciples was “a devil”!); and we are all members of one body, according to Paul, so there must be a “One Body”!
These three groups make up the entirety of humankind, by the Bible’s right divisions. God has separated man into three groups so as to help us understand His eternal plan as it pertains to each different group.