part of the what is truth? series

Scripture weighting is not a term you will find in Scripture. However, it’s a practice you may recognize when coming to conclusions about Scripture. Fundamentally, it’s the practice of ignoring Scripture which sounds egregious — but it’s fairly rampant in the world of Bible study and theology.

A primary objective of this site is to encourage any/only/all Scripture to be considered when answering any question. It is our goal to look at all Scripture equally because we believe that’s what God has instructed us to do. Scripture weighting is the opposite of this, and it commonly presents itself in three forms: Authorship, Testament and Presupposition.

Authorship

Weighting based on who wrote it.

Example

What Jesus said is most important.” or “Paul’s letters don’t mean as much.”

Testament

Weighting based on covenant.

Example

“The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.” In other words, God changed in some way.

Presupposition

Weighting based on a position.

Example

Taking a doctrinal position (e.g. salvation, baptism, end times) before considering all of Scripture.

Can you guess which type of Scripture weighting applies to the following from gotquestions.org:

Question: “Does 1 Peter 3:21 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?”
Answer: As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, is a faulty interpretation.

Did you read that carefully? “We discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject.” Says who? It’s circular reasoning – how can we know what the Bible teaches on a subject by doing any “filtering” of passages? They advocate relegating certain passages as “less than” others (e.g. scripture weighting). And, who or what determines the passage to be used as the filter? This is classicpresupposition. In this example, the doctrinal position is “faith only” based on a single, lifted passage – Eph 2:8-9. The last sentence may as well read, “So, any other passage which teaches that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, should be discarded.”

Hopefully we can deal with Scripture honestly. Looking at what it says. Putting it in the proper context. Gathering any/only/all passages that might apply without Scripture weighting or disqualifying any part of God’s word. While the term “Scripture weighting” is not in Scripture, what does Scripture say about the practice — good or bad?

how Scripture answers "What is Scripture weighting?"

an answer short on commentary and long on Scripture as footnoted1 | please contribute with your comment at the bottom

There is no precedent in Scripture for “Scripture Weighting.” Quite the contrary. All Scripture is divine and perfect1; they are His words5. God, is the sole author1,5. It is only in its entirety that we get a complete picture2. It is consistently put forward as equal weight since “all” is always the standard for understanding — Old4,6 and New1,3. Never has God said, “Read it all, but you really only need to focus here.”

May we never scripture weight – whether by authorship, testament or presupposition – but instead seek to gather all that Scripture has to say on the matter and only then make careful conclusions.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following passages and their BSF application

1

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

All Scripture is from God (e.g. holy, inspired) and necessary for teaching, for rebuke, for correction and training in righteousness so that a man of God would be spiritually equipped and ready for any good work.

Paul is writing to the younger Timothy and giving general advice about his work in preaching the Gospel.

How does it inform?

An authoritative statement regarding the “equal footing” of Scripture and its single source.

Does it apply? Yes

2

If he called them gods to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken —

Since Scripture cannot be “broken” (GR. “loose”, “unbind”), it is like a completed puzzle – if one piece is missing, the picture is not complete.

In [another] confrontation with the Jews, Jesus makes a declarative statement of fact and truth.

How does it inform?

Similar to, and even building on the 1 Timothy passage1, since Scripture is all equally important and comes from one source (God), Jesus adds the idea of “entirety” and “completeness.”

Does it apply? Yes

3

For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, I follow Paul, or I follow Apollos, or I follow Cephas, or I follow Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Quarrels are happening based on individuals claiming allegiance to Paul, Apollos, Peter or Christ. But Christ is not/should not be divided in this way. Christ was crucified. They are baptized into Christ.

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth dealing with several serious issues.

How does it inform?

Paul is condemning any precedent be taken based on who the messenger was – they all preached the Gospel of Christ to no lesser or greater degree. This would include Christ Himself — by including Christ in the list of “I follow” he is addressing those that might say, “Christ’s words were superior” (and thereby discounting Paul or Apollos or Cephas’ teaching).

Does it apply? Yes

4

when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,

When everyone comes before God [to worship] at the place He will choose, you shall read this law for everyone to hear.  Assemble all people – men, women, children, and the foreigner – that they may hear and learn to obey God, being careful to do all the words of this law.

Moses is giving this instruction of public reading to occur every seven years when they are together for the Feast of Booths.

How does it inform?

The reading of the law (all of it) was to be the source (single) for not just the kings but for all the people.

Does it apply? Yes

5

For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

God gave words to Jesus who in turn gave them to his disciples. They received them, resulting in them knowing “truth” and believing “that you sent me.”

Jesus’ prayer in his final hours on earth, sometimes referred to as the “High Priestly Prayer.” He further states in vs 14, “I have given them your word” and in vs 20 as He transitions from praying specifically for the apostles to praying for all believers, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word”.

How does it inform?

The words spoken by Jesus and the disciples were all from God — one source. They weren’t their own.

Does it apply? Yes

6

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? And he answered, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. And he said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.

A lawyer tested Jesus by asking him a question.  Jesus replied with two questions about what he understood to be written in the Law. The lawyer gave an answer based on two passages in the Law (from
Deuteronomy 6:5
and
Leviticus 19:18
).  Jesus said he answered right and that if he practiced them he would live.

Jesus is in the midst of His public ministry, teaching the people while gaining notoriety.

How does it inform?

In addressing his question, Jesus asks what is written in the Law — all of it. He expects the lawyer to assess/condense/conclude what is written in all of the Law which the lawyer correctly does — summing it up with two passages, equally applied (quite a brilliant assessment by the lawyer!!).

Does it apply? Yes

Do you agree? If so, share this question and the Bible Study Framework with others.

If you know of some other verses or you have something to add to the verses already listed for this question please leave a comment below! We welcome the public discussion and will incorporate your input into the Framework above. We have nothing to hide and invite your help in considering all that God’s word has to say.

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