Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively
Positive statements with a comparative force. Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively. This is evident from those examples which are there and thus explained.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth” (Matthew 6:19)
is expounded in the next verse:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” “Labor not for the meat which perisheth” (John 6:27)
is not an absolute prohibition, as the “but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” shows. Likewise,
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4):
we must love our neighbors as ourselves. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth” is to be taken relatively, for God frequently employs both the one and the other as instruments to do those very things: “but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7) shows where the emphasis is to be placed, and the One to whom the glory is to be ascribed.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible… a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:3, 4).
There are, however, numerous examples that are not immediately explained for us, but which the Analogy of Faith makes clear.
“And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by My name Jehovah was I not known to them” (Exodus 6:2, 3).
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures