Do you remember math class? We were taught that in multiplication the answer is called the product; in division it is called the quotient; in subtraction it is the remainder; in addition it is the sum.
Psalm 119:160 says, "The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting." The emphasis is on totality. Everything God says is right. Every one of His ordinances is binding. And the truth about any subject is determined by adding up all He says about it.
This principle of adding together all God's revelation is vital in Bible study. It is easy to err if one reaches a conclusion before weighing everything the Scripture says on a topic. Consider a few examples.
Some folks act as though Matthew 7:1 says everything there is to be said about judging: "Do not judge so that you will not be judged." They seem to think this verse prohibits any and all judgments that one might make about another. However, 1 Corinthians 5:12 requires churches to judge their members with reference to fellowship. Jesus Himself said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). The fact is, there are a number of situations in which we must assess one's character, position, or conduct.
If one reads Jesus' teaching about divorce only in Mark's (10:2-12) or Luke's (16:18) gospel, he would conclude that divorce is not allowable for any reason. Any remarriage following a divorce would constitute adultery. Matthew's account, however, reveals one exception: divorce for fornication (19:9).
When the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Is that all there is to it? Many think so. But when the Jews on Pentecost asked Peter the same question, he answered, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). Further reading in Acts 16 implies that Paul went on to tell the jailor the same thing. Neither Acts 16:31 nor John 3:16 nor any other verse contains all that God says about salvation. The sum of God's word is truth.
- The Manslick Road Speaker, April, 2008