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Search The Scriptures

Comparing Scripture with Scripture

Christian believers have a duty that lies in the command to “search the Scriptures” (John 5:39), ἐρευνᾶτε τὰς γραφάς: i.e., make a diligent investigation of the mind of God in them.
1 Corinthians 2:13 speaks of  “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — examining what the Spirit has declared of the mind of God in one place in Scripture with what He, in like manner, has manifested in another place.

This is the true nature of biblical meditation. God tries our obedience and exercises our diligence unto a study in His Word day and night. Psalms 1:2: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” And in our continual meditation thereon, 1 Timothy 4:15 reminds us, (ταῦτα μελέτα, ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι) — “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” 

God has planted His truths with great variety up and down his Word. Here in one part, and there in another, of the same truth; both which cannot be thoroughly learned unless we gather them together into one view. For instance, in one place God commands us to circumcise our hearts, and to make unto ourselves new hearts, that we may fear Him. At first consideration it seems to represent it not only as our duty but also within our power, as though we had no need of any help from His grace for its accomplishment. In another, He promises absolutely to circumcise our hearts, and to give us new hearts to fear Him; as though it were so much His work as not to be our concern to even attempt it. But now these several places, being spiritually compared together, make it evident that just as it is our duty to have new and circumcised hearts, so it is the effectual grace of God that must work and create them in us. And the like may be observed in all the important truths that are of divine revelation.

Cherry picking, suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention….

The term is based on the perceived process of harvesting fruit, such as cherries. The picker would be expected to only select the ripest and healthiest fruits….

Cherry picking has a negative connotation as the practice neglects, overlooks or directly suppresses evidence that could lead to a complete picture. (Source)

Avoid Cherry Picking
Searching of the Scriptures and comparing spiritual things with spiritual will discover the root of almost all the errors and heresies that are in the world. Men whose hearts are not subdued by faith and humility unto the obedience of the truth will alight on some expression in the Scripture, that, singly considered, seem to give countenance to some such opinion as they are willing to embrace. Without further search they will fix it on their minds and imaginations. So much so that it becomes too late to oppose any thing unto it. For when they are once fixed in their own persuasions they cease to consider those other places of Scripture which they should with humility have compared with that the sense they have chosen to cleave unto. They might have learned the mind of the Holy Ghost in them all compared together, but this is missed. Instead they consider it to no other end but only how they may pervert it. Thus they free themselves from the authority of “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

There are those who tenaciously cling to false and foolish opinions. They rashly take up a seeming sense of some particular places, and then obstinately make that sense the rule of interpreting all other Scriptures whatsoever. For example, there are those who, from the outward sound of these words, John 1:9, “He is the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” have taken up a rash, foolish, and false imagination that Christ is that light which is remaining in all men (i.e., Universalism). Therein lies their guide and rule, and from this they wrest the whole Scripture to make it suit and answer that notion. But if they had taken it with other Scriptures, which clearly explain and declare the mind of God in the things which concern the person and mediation of the Lord Christ, and compared this with the nature and works of natural and saving spiritual light, and if they had submitted to the authority and wisdom of God in these verses, they might have been preserved from their delusion.

It is dangerous for believers to be unskilled and unexercised in the word of Truth. Without a good knowledge of the Scriptures, and without the advice, assistance, or direction of others who are able to guide them and instruct their inquiry after the mind of God, they may go astray. Many unlearned believers hastily embrace opinions which only one text of Scripture does seemingly give countenance to. By this fault they run themselves into danger, especially where any seducing spirit applies himself unto them with swelling words of vanity, boasting of some misunderstood word or other. Thus have we seen multitudes led astray by a few particular places of Scripture into an opinion about a general redemption of all mankind (Universalism). Yet if they had been wise, and had searched other Scriptures innumerable, they would have seen the setting forth the eternal love of God to those who would believe, His purpose to save them by Jesus Christ, and the nature and end of His oblation and ransom.  If they had compared these passages with the others, they would have understood the vanity of their hasty misconceptions.

Diligence, patience, waiting and wisdom are required of all men in searching of the Scriptures who intend to come unto the acknowledgment of the truth thereby. The Scripture itself abounds with precepts, rules and directions to enable us to a right and profitable discharging of our duty. Be aware that the diligence of heathens will rise up in judgment and condemn the sloth of many that are called Christians in this matter. For although unbelievers have no certain rule, way, or means to come to the knowledge of the truth, yet they cease not with indefatigable diligence and industry to inquire after it. They will even trace the obscure footsteps of what was left in their own natures or implanted on the works of creation.

Yet, sadly, those unto whom God has granted the inestimable benefit and privilege of his Word as a sure and infallible guide to lead them into the knowledge of all useful and saving truth do openly neglect it. So many do not account the Scriptures worthy of their searching, study, and diligent examination. How woefully this will rise up in judgment against them at the last day is not difficult to conceive. And how much greater will be their misery who, under various pretenses, for their own corrupt ends, do deter, yea, and even go so far as to drive others from the study of it!

This post was being worked on with the encouragement and spiritual oversight of the late Pastor Larry DeBruyn, who wrote a multi-part series in 2017 opposing the rise of Universalism within evangelicaldom (See: https://herescope.net/2017/08/universalism-emerging-evangelical.html). The words here have been excerpted, modernized and adapted from: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/joc/hebrews-1.html