The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 197 of 214
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"With all thy getting, get understanding" (Prov. 4: 7).
What constitutes a valid argument?
pp. 37 - 40
It is a blessed fact that salvation does not depend upon reasoning and disputation, and
that one need be neither a philosopher nor a logician to perceive the purpose of the ages.
Perhaps no writer of Scripture so emphasizes the utter failure of the natural mind to
understand the truth as Paul, yet, advocate as he was for the supremacy of faith, and
opponent as he was of "doubtful disputations" and of `vain deceitful philosophy", no
writer is so argumentative, and no writer appeals so much to the mind quickened to
appreciate true reasoning.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10: 17).
Yet, to borrow the argument of verse 14:--
"How shall they hear, who do not understand, and how can faith come, if the truth presented be
not realized?"
To the Ethiopian, Philip said:--
"Understandest thou what thou readest?" (Acts 8: 30).
To the Pharisees, the Lord said:--
"Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word?
(John 8: 43).
Solomon said:--
"Knowledge is easy unto him that hath understanding" (Prov. 14: 6).
While mere reasoning may be a mark of infidelity, faith is never unreasonable, nor
does it discredit reason. In one of the most spiritual passages in Romans the apostle
speaks of "reasonable" (logikos) service (Rom. 12: 1). We read of Paul "reasoning"
(dialegomai), "opening" (dianoigo), and "alleging" (paratithemi) out of the Scriptures
concerning Christ, and his epistles abound with such signs of argument as the frequent
use of the words "for", "wherefore", "for this cause", and the like. While no soul will
ever miss salvation because of inability to appreciate a syllogism, the teacher of truth
may nevertheless sometimes err and lead his hearers astray if he has no true
understanding of what constitutes valid argument.
There is indeed room for a book that will do for Logic in the Scriptures, what
Dr. Bullinger's "Figures of Speech used in the Bible" did for figurative language in the
Scriptures. To attempt such a work is beyond our present powers, but though these notes