Home > Hermeneutics > Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively, example 2

Many injunctions in Scripture are expressed in an absolute form, yet are to be understood relatively, example 2

Arthur PinkWe are not to conclude from the terms of Luke 14:12, 13, that it is wrong for us to invite our friends and relatives to partake of our hospitality, though a comparative is there again expressed in positive language; but rather must we see to it that the poor and needy are not neglected or slighted by us.

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

How often have those words been misunderstood, yea, wrested; for it is a serious mistake to conclude from them either that there was no “grace” under the Mosaic economy or that there is no “law” under the Christian. The fact is that the contrast is not between the messages of Moses and Christ, but the characteristics of their ministries. “Ye see Me no more” (John 16:10), said Christ to His apostles. Yet they did! What then did He mean? That they should not see Him again in a state of humiliation, in the form of a Servant, in the likeness of sin’s flesh—compare “like unto the Son of man” (Revelation 1:13) because then in His glorified state. Acts 1:3, definitely informs us that Christ was seen of the apostles for forty days after His resurrection, and, of course, He is now seen by them in heaven. When the apostle declared,

“I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2),

he did not mean that that was his sole theme, but rather that such was his dominant and prominent subject. When we are exhorted “be careful for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), we certainly are not to understand that care to please God is excluded, or that we are not to have deep concern for our sins.

The above examples (many others could be added) show that constant care is needed to distinguish between positive and comparative statements, and between words with an absolute force and those with merely a relative one.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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