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The ‘Law of Full Mention’

30. The law of full mention. We have treated the principle of first mention, and showed that the initial reference to a subject or the earliest occurrence of a term indicated from its context and the manner in which it was used would be its force in all later references. This we followed with the law of progressive mention, wherein it was seen that the Holy Spirit has observed an orderly development in the unfolding of each aspect of the Truth; that as it is naturally, so in connection with Divine revelation: there is first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. That may be further illustrated by a simple and well-known example, namely the three allusions made to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel. In John 3 we behold the midnight condition of his soul; in 7:50, 51, we see, as it were, the dawning of twilight; but in 19:39, 40, the daylight had fully broken. Now those principles are augmented by a third, for, as A. T. Pierson pointed out in his most helpful book The Bible and Spiritual Criticism (now out of print), somewhere in the Bible each of its prominent themes is given a complete and systematic presentation. In other words, a whole chapter is devoted to an exhaustive treatment of what is more briefly mentioned elsewhere. Below, we barely mention examples of this fact— culled from Dr. Pierson, supplemented by our own researches.

Exodus 20 gives us the complete Decalogue, the ten commandments of the moral law being stated clearly and orderly. Psalm 119 sets forth at length the authority, the importance and the manifold excellency of the written Word of God. In Isaiah 53 we have a full-length picture of the vicarious sufferings of the Savior. John 17 contains a complete outline on the subject of intercession, revealing as it does the substance of those things which our great High Priest asks of the Father for His people. In Romans 3:10-20, we have the most detailed diagnosis of the depraved condition of fallen man to be met with in the Bible. In Romans 5:12- 21, the foundation doctrine of federal headship is developed at length. In Romans 7 the conflict between the “two natures” in the believer is described as it is nowhere else. In Romans 9 the awful sovereignty of God, in election or reprobation, is dealt with more largely than elsewhere. In 1 Corinthians 15 the resurrection of the believer’s body is depicted in its full-robed splendor. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 every aspect of Christian giving and the varied motives which should prompt our benevolences are stated. In Hebrews 2:6-18, we find the clearest and most comprehensive setting forth of the reality of our Lord’s humanity. In Hebrews 11 we have a wonderfully complete outline of the life of faith. Hebrews 12 furnishes us with an extensive treatment of the subject of Divine chastisement. In James 3 we have summed up what the rest of the Bible teaches concerning the might and malice of the tongue. The whole of Jude 1: is devoted to the solemn theme of apostasy.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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