If Matthew 1:1 was the only Bible verse a person ever read about the family and genealogy of Christ, then one might think that Jesus was the immediate son of David, rather than a descendant of David separated in time from the second king of Israel by 1,000 years. If Matthew chapter two was the only passage a person ever considered regarding the birth and early childhood of Jesus’ life, then one would never know that shepherds visited Jesus shortly after His birth. According to Romans 3:23, “[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If this sentence was the only inspired statement that a person ever read regarding sin, and disregarded both the context of Romans 3 as well as the rest of the New Testament, then one would think that Jesus was a sinner. But Jesus, of course, was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Are football referees supposed to know only a few of the rules in order to officiate a game correctly? Is a baker content in knowing only one of the ten ingredients that go into a pineapple upside-down cake? Would you be pleased if the only traffic law that truck drivers knew was the law regarding on what side of the road to drive? The answer to all of these questions is obvious. People generally understand the need to learn the entire rulebook, driver’s manual, or recipe. Knowing just part of these things will result in chaos and negative consequences. Likewise, taking only a part of God’s Word, to the neglect of the rest of His Word, is a recipe for confusion and disaster. Since the “entirety” of Scripture is truth (Psalm 119:160), all of God’s Word on any subject must be considered.

Most Bible students seem to understand the importance of the holistic approach to Bible interpretation when considering any number of topics, including the aforementioned genealogy of Christ and His perfect, sinless nature. Sadly, however, when it comes to the question regarding what a person must do to be saved, this rational approach to Bible interpretation is discarded….

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