Home > Hermeneutics > Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively, example 3

Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively, example 3

Arthur PinkWords that are used to express perpetuity are not to be stretched any farther than the known duration of the things spoken of. As when the Jews were commanded to keep certain institutions throughout their generations to be ordinances for ever (Exodus 12:24; Numbers 15:15), it was not signified they were to do so throughout eternity, but only during the Mosaic economy. Likewise the everlasting mountains and perpetual hills of Habakkuk 3:6, spoke only of comparative permanency and stability, for the earth is yet to be destroyed.

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matthew 6:3).

Neither is this to be taken absolutely, otherwise any act of beneficence which came under the cognizance of our fellows would be prohibited, and that would be contrary to the Analogy of Faith. The primitive Christians did not always conceal their donations, as Acts 11:29, 30, demonstrates. Secrecy itself may become a cloak of avarice, and under the pretense of hiding good works we may hoard up money to spend upon ourselves. There are times when a person of prominence may rightly excite his backward brethren by his own spirit of liberality. This Divine precept was designed to restrain the corrupt ambition of our hearts after the praise of men. Christ meant that we are to perform deeds of charity as unobtrusively as possible, making it our chief concern to have the approbation of God rather than the applause of our fellows. When a good work has been done, we should dismiss it from our minds, and instead of congratulating ourselves upon it, press on to other duties which are yet before us.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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