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Biblical Emphasis

I’ve never been much on the minutia of statistics, especially when applied to the analysis of God’s Word.  For instance, because a particular verse in Psalms is in the exact middle of the combined Old and New Testaments (by total number of verses) gives it no more significance than any other portion of the inspired Text.  Nor does the sheer number of times a particular subject is addressed diminish the importance of something else God said only once or twice.  If the Holy Spirit went to the trouble of inspiring men to record it, then we had best give it heed.  However…

I do think that in the realm of biblical examination and exploration, statistics can provide some value when viewed with a wide lens.  Here’s what I mean.  Just because a particular subject is addressed only once or twice doesn’t mean it is unimportant.  For instance, the significance of Christians gathering “on the first day of the week” is to my knowledge only specifically mentioned twice: in Acts 20:7 when they gathered “to break bread” in commemoration of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection; and when they were instructed regarding the collection of funds “On the first day of every week” in 1Cor.16:1-2ff.  We shouldn’t disregard and dismiss the importance or essentiality of “first day” assembly because it is only mentioned twice, should we?  Or, can we dismiss the activities specified “on the first day of the week” because they are only referenced a couple of times?  Of course not, for that information was divinely dictated for a reason!

So what does viewing biblical statistics with a wide lens have to do with all of this?  Just that while we can’t ignore a particular directive or prohibition because it is mentioned less than others, it can be valuable to note where the Bible places particular emphasis in a general way.  See if these examples of such biblical emphasis help:

  1. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about what and how I should think about others, than it does about what and how others should think about me. So where should my primary concern lie?  Cf. Rom.12:9-21
  2. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about how I should feel about others than it does about how others should feel about me.  So with whose emotions should I be more concerned?  Cf. Luke 6:31-36
  3. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about how I should treat others than it does about how others should treat me.  So should I be more concerned with how I treat others, or how they treat me? Cf. Gal.6:1-5
  4. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about how I should think, feel, and treat God than it does about how others should think, feel, and treat God.  So should be more concerned with my discipleship or that of others? Cf. Jas.4:11-12
  5. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about how I should think, feel, and treat the worship of and service to God than it does about how others should think, feel, and treat the worship of and service to God.  So should I be more concerned with whether or not I worship God “in spirit and in truth,” or whether or not my brethren or others do so or don’t?  Cf. Luke 18:9-14
  6. Generally, the Bible has much more to say about how I should live now than it does about what will happen to me or others later.  So should I be more concerned about what might or might not happen later (or how or why) or what I know I should be doing now? cf. John 20:21-23; Jas.4:13-17.

Obviously, these characterizations are meant only generally.  But at the same time, doesn’t the Bible and the New Testament generally have much more to say to me about what “I” should think, feel, and do than it does about how “others” should think, feel, and do to/for me?  The bottom line is this: We can’t control what “others” think, feel, and do; nor are we expected by God to do so.  We can control what “I” think, feel, and do, and are expected by God to do so.  If “I” concern myself primarily with how “I” think, feel, and act right toward others, then I might just be may be able to influence “others” for truth and righteousness also, cf. 1Tim.4:16.

 

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