Primary and Secondary

A man complained that his wife was hard of hearing and she always argued with him about it.  So one day he decided to prove her wrong.  He stood across the room behind her so she wouldn’t know he was there.  He said, “Honey, can I ask you a question?”  No answer.  He stepped closer and asked again, “Honey, can I ask you a question?”  Still no answer.  He stepped up directly behind her and asked her again, “Honey, can I ask you a question?”  Without looking up, his wife said, “For the third time, What do you want?”

 

Primary and Secondary

Almost every husband knows how very important it is to remember his wedding anniversary.  As important as it is, the importance is secondary and depends on how he shows care and concern for his wife.  If he is keeping another woman, remembering the anniversary has no value.  His care and concern for his wife is the Primary thing.  Remembering the anniversary is a Secondary thing.  The value of the Secondary depends entirely on the Primary.  Without the Primary, the Secondary has no value.

The principle stated    Jesus, speaking to the Bible experts, said, “You diligently study the Scriptures (Secondary) because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me (Primary).”

The principle applied    Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues (the Secondary thing) of men and of angels, but have not love (the Primary thing), I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Let’s look at some examples

The Love Chapter     1 Cor. 13 is usually used to teach us how we should love.  This is a secondary application of this scripture.  The primary application is that this scripture is about Jesus.  It shows us how He loves.   Without the Primary, the Secondary has no value.

Uzzah    Scripture tells us of Uzzah who “reached out his hand to steady the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.  The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.”  Uzzah’s story is usually used to admonish us to obey God.  This is a secondary application of this scripture.  The primary application is that this scripture is about Jesus.  The Ark, which contained the Law, was in danger of overturning.   Uzzah protected the others from being exposed to the Law without the protection of the Mercyseat and bore the curse for them.  In the same way Jesus came between us and the curse of the Law and became a curse for us.  Without the Primary, the Secondary has no value.

Cain and Able    (“Am I my brother’s keeper?”  No.  Animals need keepers, brothers need brothers.)  The story of Cain and Able is usually presented as a lesson in obedience.  This is a secondary application of this scripture.  The primary application is that this scripture is about Jesus.  From this scripture we see that the Lord respects Jesus’ offering, not ours.   Without the Primary, the Secondary has no value.

Balaam    This is the guy that talked to his donkey and never blinked an eye when the donkey talked to him.  Which begs the question, “Which one is the ass?”  Balaam’s story is usually used to teach that we should obey God.  This is a secondary application of this scripture.  The primary application is that this scripture is about Jesus.  Just as Israel was blessed and could not be cursed, so Jesus is blessed and cannot be cursed.  Without the Primary, the Secondary has no value.

As we read the Bible, we will understand it better when we remember this principle of Primary and Secondary.

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