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. The truth about any subject is determined by adding up all He says about it and reaching a biblical conclusion. This is all under the restraints of rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).
The principle of adding together all God’s revelation is vital in Bible study. It is easy to err if one teaches a conclusion before weighing everything the Scripture says on a topic. Consider a few examples:
Some people 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” (Jn 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 and remarriage only in Mark 10:2-12 or Luke 16:18, he would conclude that divorce and remarriage is not allowable for any reason. Any remarriage following a divorce would constitute adultery. However, Matthew’s account reveals one exception for the man: he can divorce and remarry if his wife has committed fornication (Matt 19:9). If we read the writings of the apostle Paul, twice he stated that a wife was bound to her husband as long as he lived, but if her husband be dead she was at liberty to marry again and not be considered an adulteress (Rom 7:2,3 f; 1 Cor 7:39). We must not be guilty of doing what denominations do by reading your favorite part and leaving out what is undesirable for you.
When the Philippian jailer 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 seem to 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 jailer the same thing. Also we find that Christians must abide in the doctrine of Christ to be saved (2 Jn 9). Last, but not least, John made it clear that all Christians must remain faithful unto death in order to receive a crown of life (Rev 2:10). 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.