Is 1 passage more important than another, eg, wrt salvation?

Sometimes the bible will say 2 things which are not quite contradictory, but seem to push different ideas. I’m wondering how people decide whether 1 passage is more important than another, or that one passage can be ignored and we’ll just look at what the other one is saying about that issue.

For example, lots of people will quote the bible saying that we are saved by God’s gace, or by our faith, or something like that. And then they will say that this means that you don’t need to do good works to get into heaven, because those bible passages are really important. But what about other passages that look at it from a different point of view - like Matthew 25:31-46 (about ‘for I was hungry and you fed me’)? Why isn’t that passage important? It’s not contradictory to being saved by God’s grace - I would never say that God can’t make his own decisions about who will go to heaven and who won’t - but I’ve always wondered why people can say you don’t need to do good works, after Jesus was saying that the ‘goats’ who refused to show any sort of kindness to anyone, would be condemned?

The short answer is that, whenever any human being reads anything, s/he brings certain preconceptions to the reading. These define the boundaries of the possibilities of what the text should, or can, say.

When someone reads the Bible, this is no different. I know that this passage is metaphorical, because God would never mean that literally. I know that that passage is literal, because God would mean that. It is then claimed that one must read ‘under the guidance of the Holy Spirit’ in order to ‘truly’ know which passages are literal and which are not.

If all of this sounds a bit cynical, it is. I am a literature student; I spend my time studying the arts of writing and reading. You will have as many readings of a given passage as you have readers.

However, as a Christian, I do not believe that this is a problem. I do not imagine that God would have designed us to be imperfect without making allowance for that design.