We can carefully study a subject in Scripture, but if we leave out pertinent passages, we won't get the full counsel of God’s Word, and we may end up believing a lie (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 2:15).
The recipe for Truth requires all the ingredients.
For example, 1 Timothy 4:9-10 says God “is the Savior of all people.”
If that were the only ingredient, we could assume everyone would be saved, believer and unbeliever alike. But it’s not the only ingredient.
1. Add the immediate context.
The next phrase says “especially of those who believe.” Since you’re either saved or not, this word “especially” signals a need for further study.
2. Add the context of the full counsel of Scripture.
Scripture repeatedly states that unbelievers will not be saved (Mark 16:16; John 3:18-19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:10-12; Revelation 21:8; etc.)
3. Let Scripture interpret Scripture.
Since the Bible clearly teaches not all are saved, we can conclude that 1 Timothy 4:9-10 means Christ is the Savior of all who will be saved (John 1:9-13 and 1 Timothy 2:3-6).
For more on this subject, check out:
5 Steps for Accurate Bible Study
Bible StudyLet's use this method to understand a similar Scripture that taken alone could also be used to support universal salvation.
1 Timothy 2:5-6: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
1. Immediate context: Same book:
1 Timothy 1:15-16: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:12: Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
2. Context of the full counsel of Scripture. The same verses as those in the devotion would apply. Let's look at two:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
John 3:18-19: Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
3. Let Scripture interpret Scripture:
Now it's your turn.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com