Posts Tagged ‘Rightly Dividing’

The work of the expositor is to bring out the grammatical and spiritual meaning of each verse

February 5, 2019 11 comments

Now one or two brief observations and we conclude. The work of the expositor is to bring out the grammatical and spiritual meaning of each verse he deals with. In order to do that he must approach it without bias or prejudice, and diligently study it. He must neither assume that he knows its meaning nor take his doctrinal views from others. Nor is he to form his own opinions from a few detached verses, but carefully compare his ideas with the entire Analogy of Faith. Each verse requires to be critically examined, and every word thoroughly weighed. Thus he is to note the “is accepted” of Acts 10:35, and not “shall be,” and the “are” (rather than “shall be”) in Hebrews 3:6, 14—to change the tense mentally in those verses would inculcate false doctrine. Minute care is needed if we are to observe the “the Lord and Savior” of 2 Peter 2:20 (not “their”), and the “our” and not “your” of 1 Corinthians 15:3. Finally, it is not the interpreter’s province to explain what God has not explained (Deuteronomy 29:29), i.e., His “ways” (Romans 11:33), miracles, etc.


Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures


2 Corinthians 6:1, is a yet worse instance, for by inserting the words “with Him” a thought entirely foreign to the apostle’s scope is introduced

But it is in the New Testament that the majority of mistakes occur. There we find a number of passages where needless additions have been made and where the meaning has been misapprehended, falsified, by the words the translators inserted

2 Corinthians 6:1, is a yet worse instance, for by inserting the words “with Him” a thought entirely foreign to the apostle’s scope is introduced, and ground given for horrible boasting. Paul was referring to the joint efforts of God’s servants: the one planting and another watering (1 Corinthians 3:5, 6). To say they were “workers together with God” would be to divide the honors. If any supplement be made, it should be under Him. The ministers of the new covenant were fellow workers, merely “helpers” of the joy (1:24) of God’s people. So too the correct punctuation (as the Greek requires) of 1 Corinthians 3:9, is: “For God’s we are: fellow workers; God’s heritage ye are.” One other example must suffice. The added “to bring us” in Galatians 3:24, quite misses the scope of the passage, and inculcates false doctrine. The apostle was not there treating with the experiential side of things, but the dispensational (as the opening verses of the next chapter demonstrate); not with the unsaved as such, but with God’s people under the old covenant. The Law never brought a single sinner to Christ: the Holy Spirit does that, and though He employs the Law to convict souls of their need of Christ, the Gospel is the means which He employs to make them close with Christ.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

But it is in the New Testament that the majority of mistakes occur

But it is in the New Testament that the majority of mistakes occur. There we find a number of passages where needless additions have been made and where the meaning has been misapprehended, falsified, by the words the translators inserted. In Romans 8:27, “the will of God” is too contracted—His covenant, His word, His grace and mercy are not to be excluded. The “from another” in 1 Corinthians 4:7, unduly narrows the scope—from what you were as unregenerate is not to be excluded. “Inspirer” is preferable to “author” in 1 Corinthians 14:33, for God is the Decreer of all things (Romans 11:36), yet not the Prompter of confusion. It is very doubtful if “the nature of” is permissible in Hebrews 2:16, for is it not the Divine incarnation which is there in view (that we have in 5:14), but rather the purpose and consequence of the same. Its opening “For” looks back, remotely, to verses 9 and 10; immediately, to verses 14 and 15. In verse 16 a reason is given why Christ tasted death for “every son,” and why He destroyed (annulled the power of) the Devil in order to liberate his captives: it was because He laid hold of (espoused) not the cause of (the fallen) angels, but the chosen seed of Abraham—thus a foundation is here laid for what is said in verse 17.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The use of Italics

The use of italics is also largely a matter of interpretation. In ordinary literature they are employed for emphasis, but in our Bibles they are inserted by the translators with the design of making the sense clearer. Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes harmful. In the Old Testament it is, in certain instances, more or less necessary, for the Hebrew has no copulative, but joins the subject to the predicate, which gives an emphasis of abruptness to which the English mind is unaccustomed, as in “From the sole of the foot even unto the head—no soundness in it…Your country— desolate, your cities—burned with fire” (Isaiah 1:6, 7). In the great majority of cases this writer ignores the added words of men, considering it more reverent so to do, as well as obtaining more directly the force of the original. In some instances the translators quite missed the real thought of the passage, as in the last clause of Exodus 2, where “God had respect unto them” ought to be “had respect unto it,” i.e., “His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob” of the previous verse. The last word of Daniel 11:32, is too restrictive—doing His will also is included.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The use of parentheses in Hebrews 4:1-11

Most of the commentators have experienced difficulty when attempting to trace the course of the apostle’s argument in Hebrews 4:1-11. Its structure is indeed much involved, but not a little light is cast on it by placing verses 4-10 in parentheses. The exhortation begun in 3:12, is not completed till 4:12, is reached: all that intervenes consists of an exposition and application of the passage quoted from Psalm 95 in 3:7-11. The connecting link between the two chapters is found in, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (3:19). On those words is based the admonition of 4:1-3, which bids us to take to heart the solemn warning there given. The first clause of verse 3, when literally rendered, reads: “For we enter into the rest, who believe”—the historical tense is thus avoided. It is neither “have entered” nor “shall enter,” but an abstract statement of a doctrinal fact—only believers enter into God’s rest. The second half of 4:3, quotes again from Psalm 95.

In the parentheses of 4:4-10, the apostle enters upon a discussion of the “rest” which the Psalmist spoke of and which he was exhorting his readers to strive to enter, bidding them to take heed lest they fell short of attaining thereto.

First, he pointed out (vv. 4-6) that David had not referred to God’s own rest upon creation and the Sabbath rest which ensued therefrom.

Second, nor was it the rest of Canaan (vv. 7, 8) into which Joshua led Israel.

Third, it was something then future (v. 9), namely the rest announced in the Gospel.

Fourth, in verse 10 there is a noticeable change of number from the “us” in verse 1 and the “we” of verse 3 to “He that is entered into His rest,” where the reference is to Christ Himself—His entrance being both the pledge and proof that His people will do so: “whither the forerunner is for us entered” (6:20).

In 4:11, the apostle returns to his principal exhortation of 3:13, and 4:1-3. There he had said, “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it”; here he makes known how that “fear” is to exert itself: not in dread or doubting, but a reverential respect to the Divine threatenings and promises, with a diligent use of the appointed means of grace.

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice (first for his own sins, and then for the people’s): for this He did once, when He offered up Himself” (Hebrews 7:27). This is another verse which has troubled commentators, but all difficulty is removed by inserting the above parentheses. In this and the next verse, the apostle specifies some of the respects in which our High Priest is superior to the priests of the Aaronic order. His perfections, described in verse 26, exempted Him from all the infirmities and blemishes which pertain to the Levitical priests, and which disqualified them from making an effectual atonement unto God for sin. In blessed contrast, Christ was infinitely well pleasing to God: not only without personal transgression and defilement, but intrinsically holy in Himself. Thus, not only was there no need for Him to offer any sacrifice for Himself, but His oblation for His people was of infinite value and eternal validity. “This He did once” announces the glorious fact of its absolute sufficiency: that it requires no repetition on His part, nor augmentation from us.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Punctuation in 1 Corinthians 15:22-26

In our judgment a threefold change is required in the punctuation of 1 Corinthians 15:22-26. First, the clause “then cometh the end” should be placed at the close of verse 23 and not at the beginning of verse 24, for it completes the sentence instead of beginning a new one. Second, the whole of verse 25 requires to be placed in brackets if the order of thought is to be preserved. Third, the italicized words in verses 24 and 26 should be deleted, for they are not only unnecessary, but misleading. Punctuated thus, the passage will read: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all he made alive; but every man [literally “everyone”] in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming, then the end.” As the sin of Adam resulted not only in his own death, but also in the deaths of all who were in him as their federal head, so the obedience unto death of Christ not only procured His own resurrection, but ensures that of all who are united to Him as their federal Head: a resurrection in honor and glory—the resurrection of the wicked “to shame and everlasting contempt” falls not within the scope of this chapter. The clause “then the end” denotes not “the termination of all mundane affairs,” but signifies the conclusion of the resurrection—the completion of the harvest (John 12:24).

By placing its first clause at the close of verse 23, what follows in verse 24 begins a fresh sentence, though not a new subject. “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God [not His mediatorial one, but only that aspect thereof which concerns the suppression of all revolters against heaven], even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power (for He must reign till He hath put down all enemies under His feet), the last enemy shall be destroyed—death.” Christ rose again to reign: all power in heaven and in earth has been given to Him for the express purpose of subjugating and annulling all the enemies of Himself and of His Father, and this issues in the abolition of death in the glorious resurrection of all His people. The grand object throughout this chapter is to show the guarantee which Christ’s resurrection gives for that of His redeemed—denied by some (v. 12). That this subject is continued after the passage we are here critically examining is clear from verses 29-32, where further arguments are advanced—from the case of those who are baptized and Paul’s own experiences. Verses 24-26 are brought in to assure the hearts of believers: many powerful enemies seek to bring about their destruction, but their efforts are utterly vain, for Christ shall triumph over them al —death itself being abolished at their resurrection.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The use of Parentheses

December 25, 2018 Leave a comment

The use of parentheses is entirely a matter of interpretation, for there were none in the originals and few in the early Creek copies. The translators deemed them necessary in a few instances, so as to indicate the sense of a passage by preserving the continuity of thought, as in Romans 5:13-17, which is an unusually long one. Some of the simplest and best known examples are Matthew 6:32; Luke 2:35; John 7:50; Romans 1:2. It is not to be thought that words enclosed in brackets are of less importance: sometimes they are an amplification, as in Mark 5:13; at others they are explanatory, as in Mark 5:42; John 4:2. Instead of being only of trivial significance, a number of parenthetical clauses are of deep moment. For instance, “For I know that in myself (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18)—the absence of that qualifying word had denied that there was any principle of grace or holiness in him. Similar examples are found in 2 Corinthians 5:7, and 6:2. On the other hand, some are of doubtful propriety: not all will consider that the parentheses found in the following passages are necessary or even expedient: Mark 2:10; John 1:14, and 7:39; 1 Corinthians 9:21; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 4:9, 10. Below are three passages in which this writer considers the use of parentheses is a real help in the understanding of them.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures