Where the Bible is Silent (Part 2)
In our prior lesson, we began considering a well-known Restoration plea: "Let us speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent." There are four main interpretations to this "motto," and we have briefly explained two of them thus far. Some affirm that when the Bible is silent on a topic, then we have no right to protest against that particular subject. Others affirm that when the Bible is silent on an issue, then we have no right to either affirm or deny the matter in question. I believe both of these views fall short and are, in fact, inconsistent with the Scriptures. Let us now consider the final two views.

VIEW #3: We speak where the Bible is explicit [speaks] and are silent where the Bible is implicit [silent].
Proponents of this view hold what might be coined "the explicit-only doctrine." Although many are attracted to this position, it fails logically and Biblically. Since the precise statement ("we are silent where the Bible is implicit") cannot be found explicitly in Scripture, then the statement itself was derived by implication and is self-contradictory. Furthermore, it is not possible to apply a single truth from God's word today without the use of implication. We will have more to say on this point in our coming lessons.

And finally, view number four, which I believe to be correct:

VIEW #4: We practice [speak] that which the Bible authorizes [where the Bible speaks] and decline to practice [are silent] that which the Bible does not authorize [where the Bible is silent].
Stated succinctly: "We practice that which the Bible authorizes and decline to practice that which the Bible does not authorize." I believe this view to be Scriptural, and this is how G.C. Brewer explained this "Restoration motto." He also affirmed: "To remain silent means that we will stop practicing where the Bible stops teaching; that our practice in matters of religion is limited by the word of the Lord, restricted by divine revelation."

I believe view number four is affirmed in Colossians 3:17, which I typically refer to as "the authority verse." There Paul declared - "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." To do something in the Lord's name is to have authority for it. If we don't have authority from the Lord to say or do a certain thing, then we ought not to say or do it! This brings up an all-important question: How can we know what the Lord authorizes? Some would scoff at the thought that this question is significant, but in so doing they ridicule the inspired words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:17. We will endeavor to show how we can know what the Lord authorizes in our remaining lessons this week. We will first approach the topic of authority in a general way by looking at various standards and then refine our focus very specifically to consider how the Bible authorizes both explicitly and implicitly. Finally, we will carefully define what it means for the Bible to actually be "silent" about a matter and what that means for a child of God wanting to live in a pleasing manner for the Lord.