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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

The Authority of Biblical Silence

By Louis Rushmore

Sometimes biblical silence is as outspoken as any Scriptural statement. What the Bible does not say contributes as much to Bible authority as what the Bible does say on any particular subject. It is precisely because the Bible does say something regarding a topic which causes biblical silence on the same topic to be authoritative. In areas, though, where the Bible stipulates nothing, in the same areas silence does not constitute Bible authority.

Music in New Testament worship illustrates this axiom. Scripture clearly authorizes singing as the kind of music to be used in New Testament worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Therefore, silence regarding other kinds of music re-enforces what God did say. Humming, whistling, other extraneous vocal sounds, clapping stomping, drumming and mechanical instruments of music are: (1) antagonistic to what God did say; (2) opposed to biblical silence; (3) extra-biblical and anti-Scriptural; and (4) sinful. They go beyond the authority of Christ and his doctrine (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9-11).

The Hebrews writer presumed the recipients of his epistle would acknowledge silence as authoritative in matters already addressed by God. Based on Old and New Testament statements, Jesus Christ is not qualified to be a priest on earth (Heb. 8:4; 7:13). Hebrews 7:14 is an argument from the silence of the Scriptures to prove the same thing. "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." (Emphasis added.)

The inspired penman matter-of-factly used silence of the Scriptures as biblical authority. Likewise, we, too, should recognize the hermeneutical principle of biblical silence where it applies. However, protagonists of alleged new hermeneutics disregard the role of biblical silence or tragically abuse it. Thus, erring brethren hazard their own souls and jeopardize the spiritual welfare of many others. Biblical silence and God's Word both need to be handled correctly.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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