Archive for the ‘Hermeneutics’ Category

The right use of ‘Reason’ example 1

Arthur Pink12. The right use of reason in connection with the things of God. This is another rule of exegesis which is of considerable importance, yet one that requires to be used with holy care and caution, and by one of mature judgment and thorough acquaintance with the Word. For that reason it is not to be employed by the novice or inexperienced. The Christian, like the non-Christian, is endowed with rationality, and the sanctified exercise thereof certainly has its most fitting sphere in the realm of spiritual things. Before considering the application of reason to the expounding of the Truth, let us point out its more general province. Two examples thereof may be selected from the teaching of our Lord.

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30).

Here we find Christ demonstrating, by a simple process of logic, the utter unreasonableness of distrustful anxiety in connection with the supply of temporal necessities. His argument is drawn from the consideration of Divine providence. If God cares for the field, much more will He for His dear people: He evidences His care for the field by clothing it with grass, therefore much more will He provide clothing for us.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In sharp contrast with the above, it should be pointed out that in many cases statements put in the interrogative form have the force of an emphatic negative

Arthur Pink11. In sharp contrast with the above, it should be pointed out that in many cases statements put in the interrogative form have the force of an emphatic negative. This is another simple rule which all expositors should keep in mind.

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7)

—indeed no.

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matthew 6:27)

—none can do so by any such means.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26)

—nothing whatever, nay, he is immeasurably, worse off.

“Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)

—they cannot.

“How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44)

—such is morally impossible.

“How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14)

—they will not. On the other hand, the question of Matthew 6:30, is a strong affirmation; while that of Matthew 6:28, is a prohibition.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

1 Cor. 7:14 – No Proof of Infant Baptism

by Brandon Adams

The previous post explained the correct interpretation of 1 Cor 7:14 as dealing with the legitimacy of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. This post is a discussion I had with an OPC pastor regarding the text. By the end of the discussion he acknowledges that the text does not prove infant baptism and that he does not know what the holiness of the spouse is.

On Facebook, Jim Cassidy, frequent co-host of Reformed Forum, posted a link to a sermon by Glen Clary on 1 Cor. 7:14 with the title “The Case for Infant Baptism.” Cassidy commented “And that just about ends that debate! Give it a listen….”

So I gave it a listen, and then commented. Here is the discussion (posted with permission). I greatly appreciate Clary’s willingness to discuss openly and to follow the logic. He blogs at Ancient-Reformed Worship.




Read the entire article here.

1 Cor. 7:14 – The “Legitimacy” Interpretation

by Brandon Adams

To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14 ESV)

The “legitimacy” interpretation of this passage recognizes that Paul is addressing the question of the legitimacy of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. The entire chapter is about how to view various marriage commitments as a believer. To the believer who is bound to an unbeliever, Paul says “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches… So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.”

But the objection would certainly be raised by some, “Paul, we’re not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

To which Paul responds, “Just as you are not to participate in the worship of idols, but you may eat meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8; Rom 14) because food ‘is made holy by the word of God and prayer’ (1 Tim 4:5) so to you are not to live as an unbeliever, but you may remain married to an unbeliever. The unbelieving marriage is made holy, good, by the conscience of the believer, who did not enter into the union in sin, but was called in that state.”

“After all, you don’t disown your children because of your belief, do you? Of course not. They’re not bastards. They’re your legitimate children. But if your marriage was illegitimate, then your children would be too. Since they’re not, neither is your marriage.”

The one objection brought against this reading is that marriage does not need to be sanctified by a believer. Marriage is a common institution and a marriage between two unbelievers is not illegitimate, so that can’t be Paul’s meaning. This ignores the fact that the question is not the legitimacy of marriage itself, but the legitimacy of marriage between a believer and an unbeliever – something that would normally be sinful if entered into consciously as a believer.




Read the entire article here.

The simple negative often implies, conversely, the positive

Arthur Pink10. The simple negative often implies, conversely, the positive. This is a very simple canon of exegesis, yet one to which the attention of the young student needs to be called. A negative statement is, of course, one where something is denied or where the absence of its opposite is supposed. In common speech the reverse of a negative usually holds good, as when we declare, “I hope it will not rain today,” it is the same as saying, “I trust it will remain fine.” That this rule obtains in Scripture is clear from the numerous instances where the antithesis is stated. “Thou wilt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” is explained in “Thou wilt show Me the path of life” (Psalm 16:10, 11). “I have not refrained My lips, O Lord, Thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within My heart,” and then the positive side at once follows:

“I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation” (Psalm 40:9, 10).

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor… Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor,” (Ephesians 4:25, 28).

Many other examples might be given, but these are sufficient to establish the rule we are here treating of.

Now the Holy Spirit has by no means always formally drawn the antithesis, but rather has in many instances— that we might exercise our minds upon His Word—left us to do so. Thus,

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench” (Matthew 12:20)

signifies that He will tenderly care for and nourish the same. “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) is the equivalent of, It must be, it most certainly will he, fulfilled. “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)

implies that in union and communion with Him we “can do all things” (Philippians 4:13)—incidentally note how the former serves to define the latter: it is not that I shall then be able to perform miracles, but fitted to bring forth fruit! “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14) has the force of “Come out from among them and be ye separate,” as verse 17 shows. “Let us not be desirous of vain glory” (Galatians 5:26) imports Be lowly in mind and esteem others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3). “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1) equals My design is to inculcate and promote the practice of holiness, as all that follows clearly shows.
Negative commandments enjoin the opposite good:

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7)

implies that we are to hold His name in the utmost reverence and hallow it in our hearts. Negative threatenings are tacit affirmations: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain”: rather will He condemn and punish him. Negative promises contain positive assurances:

“A broken and contrite heart O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17)

means that such a heart is acceptable to Him.

“No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11)

is tantamount to saying that everything which is truly good for such will certainly be bestowed upon them. Negative conclusions involve their opposites: “The father of the fool hath no joy” (Proverbs 17:21) purports that he will suffer much sorrow and anguish because of him—oh, that wayward children would make conscience of the grief which they occasion their parents. “To have respect of persons is not good” (Proverbs 28:21), but evil. Negative statements carry with them strong assertives:

“Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment” (Job 34:12):

rather will He act holily and govern righteously.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

When interpreting scripture we must sharply distinguish between justification and sanctification, nevertheless they are never to be divorced from one another

Arthur PinkWhile justification and sanctification are to be sharply distinguished, nevertheless they must not be divorced (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11).

“Christ never comes into the soul unattended. He brings the Holy Spirit with Him, and the Spirit His train of gifts and graces. Christ comes with a blessing in each hand: forgiveness in one, holiness in the other” (Thos. Adams, 1650).

Yet how rarely is Ephesians 2:8, 9, completed by the quoting of verse 10! Again, the twin truths of Divine preservation and Christian perseverance must not be parted, for the former is accomplished via the latter and not without it. We are indeed “kept by the power of God,” yet “through faith” (1 Peter 1:5), and if in 1 John 2:27, the apostle assured the saints “ye shall abide in Him,” in the very next verse he called on them to “abide in Him”; as Paul also bade such work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, and then added “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Balaam wished to die the death of the righteous, but was not willing to live the life of one. Means and ends are not to be separated: we shall never reach heaven unless we continue in the only way (the “narrow” one) which leads thereto.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

When interpreting scripture we must not divide Christ by saying that Christ can be someone’s Savior but not that person’s Lord

Arthur PinkParticular redemption (Christ making atonement for the sins of His own people only) must not prevent His servants from preaching the Gospel to every creature and announcing that there is a Savior for every sinner out of hell who appropriates Him for his own. Sunder not the two halves of John 6:37: all that the Father gives Christ shall come to Him, albeit the individual must seek Him (Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:13). Nor does the inability of the natural man annul his accountability, for though no man can come to Christ except the Father draw him (John 6:44), his refusal to come is highly blameworthy (Proverbs 1:24-31; John 5:40). Nor is a divided Christ to be presented to sinners for their acceptance. It is a delusion to imagine that His priestly sacrifice may be received while His kingly rule is refused, that His blood will save me though I despise His government. Christ is both “Lord and Savior” and in that unalterable order (2 Peter 1:11; 3:2, 18), for we must throw down the weapons of our warfare against Him and take His yoke upon us in order to find rest unto our souls. Thus repentance and faith are equally necessary (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures


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