Home > Hermeneutics > Briefer statements are to be interpreted by fuller ones-Example 1: Brother sins against me

Briefer statements are to be interpreted by fuller ones-Example 1: Brother sins against me

Arthur PinkBriefer statements are to be interpreted by fuller ones. It is an invariable rule of exegesis that when anything is set out more fully or clearly by one writer than another the latter is always to be expounded by the former, and the same applies to two statements by the same speaker or writer. Particularly is this the case with the first three Gospels: parallel passages should be consulted, and the shorter one interpreted in the light of the longer one. Thus, when Peter asked Christ, “How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” and our Lord answered “Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21, 22) it must not be taken to signify that a Christian is to condone wrongs and exercise grace at the expense of righteousness; for He had just previously said, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear [heed] thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (v. 15). No, rather must Christ’s language in Matthew 18:22, be explained by His amplified declaration in Luke 17:3, 4—“If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him”: God Himself does not forgive us until we repent (Acts 2:38; 3:19)! If a brother repents not, no malice is to be harbored against him; yet he is not to be treated as though no offense had been committed.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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