The Importance of a Harmonious Bible to Profitable Study (Part 2)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, October 27, 2013.
IV. Consider how other rules of Bible study relate to the rule of No Contradictions. A. Compare spiritual things with spiritual. 1CO 2:13. 1. This rule is essentially the application of the No Contradictions rule of study. Since every part of Scripture must harmonize with the rest, then comparing Scripture with Scripture must be done. 2. Subjects in the Bible are presented piecemeal (ISA 28:10). Various passages must be collected and compared to get the whole picture. Example: a. All the particulars for a valid baptism are not found in one passage. b. MAT 7:7 must be compared with JOH 16:23; MAR 11:24; JOH 15:7; 1JO 3:22; 5:14-15 to ascertain the scope of the promise. c. JOH 6:27 must be weighed with 2TH 3:10. Christ is not teaching that men should not work for food, but that their work for food should not crowd out spiritual concerns. MAT 6:31-34. 3. Comparing Scripture with Scripture can dissolve apparent contradictions. a. MAT 8:8 appears to contradict LUK 7:6. b. But by comparing this with JOH 4:1-2 and 2SAM 10:18, we find a perfectly reasonable resolution to the “contradiction.” B. Heed the context. 1. This rule is an application of the No Contradictions rule. a. By considering a verse in relation to its setting, one is only relating one part of Scripture to another so as not to form a private interpretation. b. One is thus considering a prophecy proportionately, per ROM 12:6. 2. This rule is also a special case of the rule, “Compare spiritual things with spiritual.” a. It refers to considering a passage in relation to the setting where it occurs. b. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual entails this and also relating the passage to passages elsewhere in Scripture. c. Example: Note the setting of the phrase, “every man” in HEB 2:9-17. “Every man” is explained as referring to: (1) many sons. v. 10. (2) the brethren. v. 11. (3) the children God gave to Christ. v. 13. (4) the seed of Abraham. v. 16. d. Example: The appeal “To day if ye will hear his voice...” in HEB 3:15 is seen in context to be an appeal to children of God, not the unregenerate sinner. HEB 3:1. C. Attach to words their primary meanings. NEH 8:7-8. The Importance of a Harmonious Bible to Profitable Study 10-20-13 Page 3 1. This rule is interlaced with the No Contradictions rule. 2. Most words have multiple subordinate meanings which flow from the primary meaning. Further, there are figurative usages of many words. 3. The further one strays from relying on primary meanings of words, the greater the potential for error and confusion. Error loves ambiguities. 4. There are three exceptions to the rule of primary meanings. a. If Scripture tells us that a word should not be understood in its primary sense, we are justified to not use the primary sense. Example: Jesus used “sleep” to describe “death” in JOH 11:11-14. b. If a primary sense creates an absurdity, we are justified to not use the primary sense. Example: “kept” in 1PE 1:5 does not mean “Maintained or supported by a paramour. Also of a man or boy maintained or supported in a homosexual relationship” (the primary definition in OED). c. If a primary sense creates a contradiction with plain statements made elsewhere, we are justified to not use the primary sense. Example: Timothy was not Paul's son in the primary sense of the word (1TI 1:18) since son means “a male child or person in relation to either or both of his parents” and child means “the unborn or newly born human being; foetus, infant.” Other Scripture plainly shows that Timothy was not Paul's biological child. ACT 16:1; 1CO 7:8 c/w 1TI 1:2; PHIL 2:22. 5. God has communicated to us in identifiable languages for which reliable sources of definitions (dictionaries, etc.) are generally available. The “gold standard” in English is the Oxford English Dictionary. 6. But there are times when the dictionary must take a back seat to the Bible. MAT 11:19; ROM 3:4. D. Heed the grammar. 2TI 1:13. 1. This rule is also connected to the No Contradictions rule and even subject to it. 2. Example: “is passed” in JOH 5:24 is the present perfect tense which denotes past completed action with yet present effects. a. This verse proves that passing from death unto life precedes both hearing and believing which are in the present tense. b. However, such an argument from the present perfect tense could not be made from GEN 17:5 (“...have made...”). (1) Abraham only had one son at the time of the utterance. (2) Therefore, to rely only on the grammar of “have made” would create a contradiction. (3) Applying “Compare spiritual things with spiritual” brings ROM 4:17 into the picture. God was calling those things which were not as though they were. 3. Example: The book, “Grammar For Smart People” says, “Most readers will automatically connect a pronoun with the noun or pronoun that immediately precedes it in the sentence---whether that noun or pronoun is the antecedent or not. To make sure this reflex doesn't produce confusion, look to see that the pronoun and its antecedent are not separated by a word or words that could conceivably be mistaken for the antecedent.” (pp. 52-53). Another grammar book says, “Save him [the reader] the annoyance of searching for the antecedent.” a. However, God commands us to SEARCH the Scriptures. JOH 5:39; PRO 2:4. The Importance of a Harmonious Bible to Profitable Study 10-20-13 Page 4 b. God did not write the Bible as a man would write a book. ISA 55:8-9. c. In PSA 105:37, the antecedent of the pronoun “them” is “Israel” way back up in v. 23. E. Distinguish between a proof text and a reference text. 1. This rule also ties into the No Contradictions rule. a. A proof text by its grammar and definition of its words proves a position. Example: JOH 5:24 proves that: (1) the person who in the present hears and believes has everlasting life. (2) such a person shall not come into condemnation. (3) such a person is passed from death unto life. (4) passing from death to life precedes this hearing and believing. (5) hearing and believing therefore is not the cause of passing from death to life but rather an evidence of already having passed from death unto life. (6) other Bible verses which appear to teach that the sinner's belief is the cause or procurement of his everlasting life cannot in fact be teaching that because there are no contradictions in the Bible. b. EXO 20:13 proves a proscription against killing. But what it does not state is what is not to be killed, nor whether this is speaking of murder. That information must be found elsewhere by comparative study. c. Error sets in when we assume things not stated in a text for which there is not corroborative information elsewhere that rightly may be imported into the text, or against which there are clear statements elsewhere in Scripture. d. Otherwise stated, a verse must be considered in relation to the rest of Scripture in order to establish if it is a proof text for a particular position not stated in the verse itself. Again, No Contradictions. 2. Example: 1JO 2:2 is used by some as a proof text that Jesus died for all mankind without exception. a. propitiate: To render propitious or favourably inclined; to appease, conciliate (one offended). b. appease: To bring to peace, pacify, quiet, or settle (strife or disorder)...To pacify or propitiate (him who is angry). c. However, by comparing this verse with other verses that use the word “world,” we find that the word does not necessarily mean “all mankind without exception.” JOH 15:19; 17:9. d. Thus, 1JO 2:2 is not a proof text for the proposition that Jesus died for all mankind without exception. e. If 1JO 2:2 is a proof text for universal atonement, the verse actually teaches that NOBODY will eternally perish under the wrath of God. (1) The verse teaches that Jesus is, not may be, “the propitiation for our sins.” (2) John, the other apostles (v. 1) and those to whom he is writing are included in the expression “our sins.” (3 The verse teaches that Jesus is not only the propitiation for their sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. (4) Hence, if the whole world is all the rest of mankind, then the rest of mankind are in exactly the same condition as John, the other apostles, and those to whom he was writing. ￼￼The Importance of a Harmonious Bible to Profitable Study 10-20-13 Page 5 (5) In that case, all mankind would be eternally saved. (6) But Scripture in other places teaches that not all mankind without exception will be eternally saved. REV 20:15. (7) Scripture elsewhere teaches that there are those for whom Christ did not die. JOH 10:11, 26. comparing this passage with others, we find: f. By (1) John was an apostle to the Jews. GAL 2:9. (2) The word “world” is used to denote God's people among the Gentiles. ROM 11:11-12. g. John is teaching that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for the sins of God's elect among the Jews and also his elect among the Gentiles. (1) This was a concept which was radical to the Jewish mind. ACT 10:28, 34-35; 22:21-22. (2) Mind how this all fits with JOH 11:51-52; ACT 15:6-17.
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