Priority of A Scripture

Posted on September 21, 2014


The first thing one may say is all scripture is important and that is true but in common observation you can see ministers as well as individual Christians pick and choose which scripture they personally feel are the highest priority. This picking choosing sometimes is very innocent and other times it is to support personal goals and traditions outside of God’s will.

God’s Heart

One of the least talked about things and is one of the greatest tools in understanding God’s word is His heart. There has been significant teaching on the Father Heart of God in some circles but not all; however this teaching is not applied to understanding God’s word.  In recent years God has showed me that in the study of the law of the Old Testament, we can learn God’s heart toward serving Him and avoiding sin in our lives.  The basics of the Ten Commandments are just not rules, but show us a God that expects us to worship him in purity and to get along with our fellow man. Even the ceremonial portions of the law that the children of Israel followed in the wilderness shows us God’s heart and patterns of practice in worship of our God that can be applied in life today. The more we can understand the heart of the Father the easier it is know what He is saying in his Word and how best to apply it to our lives today.

Actual Scripture Ordering Priority

Following are two passages that specifically tell us that one action is superior to another.

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.


Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Samuel and Saul

In the passage where Samuel says to King Saul obeying is better than sacrifice, we are shown that direct obedience to a task assigned us by the Lord is more important than a sacrifice.  In today’s Christian world we give tithes and offerings of our money and time as well as the sacrifice of praise to God.  If we have received a directive of the Lord to do something for Him that task becomes priority.  Now hearing the voice of the Lord is full subject in itself.  Saul was told by the prophetic word of the Lord through the prophet Samuel to do certain things and he did not do them and used making an offering as an excuse for not doing them.

Jesus to the Pharisees

As Jesus spoke to the Pharisees he observed them tithing in great detail and approved of that, yes Jesus approved of tithing! Jesus also saw that there were more important things that they were ignoring, judgment, mercy, and faith. In the end Jesus told them they should do them both.  We often are the same way, meticulously follow some scriptures and completely ignore others.  Many non-spirit filled Christians completely ignore passages on the gifts of the Spirit which are a huge part of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

How To Determine Priority

There are several ways to determine the priority of scriptures and here are some guidelines.

  1. First mention of a subject in the Bible
  2. First location in the Bible where a subject in mentioned
  3. The Heart of the Father
  4. Subjects in a list are almost always in priority of order
  5. Examples of use from biblical history in the Bible
  6. Number of times the subject is mentioned in the Bible

Alcohol, A General Example

Today there are a lot of sipping saints. Someone found out that the Bible does not expressly ban alcohol so ministers today have taken license to promote and cover for their own drinking habits.  These people generally only use one scripture in the Bible and that is the story of Jesus turning water to wine.  To lay a foundation, this is not the first place in the Word where alcohol is mentioned, it’s not early the word, like in the Old Testament, alcoholic wine does not reflect the heart of the Father, it’s not in a list, it doesn’t line up with other examples of alcohol problems in the Word, and this example doesn’t support most of the other times that alcohol is mentioned in the Word.  By now there should be an obvious question in your mind about the wedding feast and whether this was grape juice or real wine, since the words are interchangeable in the Bible.

First mention of a subject in the Bible

Alcohol is first mentioned very early in the Bible in Genesis chapter nine.

Genesis 9: 20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

We are told that Noah planted vineyard, made wine, became drunk and was violated by his son, which brought a general curse upon one third of the earth’s population. Obviously God had a purpose in His first mention of alcohol to show of its destructive attributes and what it can do to an individual and a family. This passage should be setting a tone and foundation to refer back to every time alcohol is mentioned in the Bible.

First location in the Bible where a subject in mentioned

Using the previous mentioned passage in Genesis, it’s obviously the Lord wanted a warning about alcohol to be a priority being found close to the front of the Bible and close to the front of Genesis.

The Heart of the Father

The Heart of the Father is a tough one at times to set priorities with as well but we can know for sure that the Father loves us and wishes us to succeed. We can safely say that He wants us to be wise and avoid pitfalls to life that can set us or others back that we may influence.  With this in mind, it obvious that His heart is to warn us of the dangers of alcohol as he did by the early mention in the word and all the continuing warnings of alcohol’s danger to a humans life.

Subjects in a list are almost always in priority

Alcohol is found a similar list in the New Testament four times. Three of these lists are about being a leader and the use of alcohol should not be a part of your life and third is the works of the flesh, one being drunkenness.  The use of alcohol in these lists are found about midway, warnings of alcohol are neither the highest priority nor the lowest.

I Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7, Titus 2:3, Galatians 5:21

Examples of use from biblical history in the Bible

The Bible has many stories from Lot’s two daughters getting him drunk to commit incest with him to King David attempting to get Uriah drunk to cover for his own sin of adultery. Additionally priest were told not to partake, proverbs has many admonitions about alcohol and other places as well.

Number of times the subject is mentioned in the Bible

Warnings in actual rules and examples in the Word are numerous.

Not a Teaching on Alcohol But…

This was not intended to be a teaching on alcohol but an example how a common subject is taught in the Christian church of America.  The ponderous of scripture is warning about the use of alcohol but not all together excluding its use.  Those twisting the story of Jesus turning water to most likely grape juice just does not support most of the other passages in the Bible and God’s true heart to keep us away from dangers.

Back to the Lists

The ten commandments is the most prominent list in the Word. The top of list is exclusive worship of God. We need to watch for these patterns to learn what it the priority of God’s heart. There are many list in the Word and always the first mentioned is at the top of God’s heart to do on a to do list and vice-versa on a list of negative things.

II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Posted in: Edification