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Importing Scripture Into Scripture

I’ve just mentioned how in trying to interpret Scripture by the use of other Scripture we sometimes import an idea that actually changes the original meaning to the text we’re trying to figure out. This is wrong.

There are instances though where we can import an idea from another verse that does not change the original meaning but only "adds to the meaning". Changing the meaning and adding clarity to the meaning are two very different ideas in my thinking.

For example, in Mark 10:11 Jesus says that "anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery". From this statement alone we learn that when a man divorces his wife and remarries, he is in fact committing adultery when he remarries another woman.

Is there more to be learned on this subject from other passages? Yes there is. In Matt. 19:9 Jesus says, "anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and remarries commits adultery". Matthew inserts another clause that Mark leaves out. We’ve called this clause "the exception clause". Matthew adds to what Mark says by saying, if a woman is unfaithful to her husband, the husband is permitted to divorce her and remarry without committing adultery.

Is Matthew differing from Mark? No. Matthew is adding a clause that Jesus said that for some reason Mark omitted.

Once again, from Matthew’s account we learn something about divorce and remarriage that we don’t learn from Mark’s account. We are indeed importing a clear statement from Matthew into our understanding of divorce and remarriage that we derived from Mark. This imported thought doesn’t change the basics of our understanding from Mark, but only adds some clarity.

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