As we read the Bible we must use tools to discern the will of God. Last week we noticed tools that included: words; facts; commands; examples. With these helps in mind, let’s look at three final tools to help us in our study of God’s word.
I. The Bible teaches us by inferences. An inference is a necessary conclusion based on the information provided by scripture. This method can be abused like other rules. When we notice the baptism of Jesus, Matthew 3:16 says that “Jesus came up immediately from the water.” The inference we make here is based on the fact that for one to come up from the water one must go down into the water. Baptisms that do not include coming out of the water cannot be considered to be baptism.
II. The Bible teaches us by principles. We can see a principle in the selling of land by Ananias and Sapphira. Instead of telling the Apostles that they had kept some of the money for themselves they said they gave all they received for the land to the Apostles (Acts 5:1-2). They were struck dead for their dishonestly. The principle we learn from this account is that if we have the opportunity we should give back to those in need, even to the point to selling property to help.
III. The Bible teaches us by silence. Living a Christian live means living by what the Bible teaches, not by what it does not teach. For example, a mother tells her son to go to the store to buy eggs and milk. If the son returns with milk, eggs, and a candy bar the son has not listened to the direction of the mother. The mother did not have to list every item not to buy in the store to the son. God does not list every possible deviation from His plan. He is gracious to give us the direction we need though His word and that is all we need. When God choose Levi as the priestly tribe He did not have to list every other tribe and say that priest were not to come from these tribes (Hebrews 7:14). God’s commands are both inclusive and exclusive: they include what God says and exclude doing something else or something different.
Hopefully these fundamental principles will help you in your future study.