Where the Bible is Silent (Part 5)
In our continuing study regarding the silence of the Scriptures, it would be helpful to observe that:

Some mistakenly think that silence is the same as implication. They incorrectly reason that if the Bible doesn't mention something explicitly then the Bible is silent about that matter and anything concluded on that matter would be via implication. Thus, they equate silence and implication. The problem here is this: If something is taught implicitly in the Bible, the Scriptures are not silent about that matter. This is a very important point to understand.

To illustrate the flaw of equating silence and implication, let us pretend we have three different mothers giving grocery lists to their respective sons:

When considering these lists, do any of them grant authorization to buy a loaf of white bread? We can see that the third list covers the purchase explicitly. The second list covers the purchase implicitly. The son, who was instructed to buy "a loaf of bread," would have to decide what type to choose. Thus, the second list certainly authorizes him to buy a loaf of white bread, though it does not demand that he get white bread. Wheat bread would also be acceptable based on the wording of list #2. Finally, the first list does not grant any authority to buy bread of any type. To summarize, the third list deals with purchasing white bread explicitly while the other two lists deal with it non-explicitly. The second list authorizes the purchase of white bread implicitly, but the first list says nothing about buying any type of bread. In other words, the second list is not silent about buying white bread (due to implication), but the first list is silent and does not grant authority for any bread to be purchased. Therefore, there is a difference between silence and implication. Implication may authorize certain actions but true silence cannot authorize anything. What the first list says about white bread is akin to true Biblical silence (i.e., nothing was said at all either explicitly or implicitly).

I realize that much of the above may seem somewhat worthless without some concrete Biblical application. Allow me to share a couple brief examples at this time. Is the Bible silent about church buildings? No. Although there is nothing said explicitly about such structures, the Bible does deal with them implicitly. How so? Well, the general obligation to assemble (cf. Heb. 10:25) implies the need to have a place of some sort to meet. Since the Scriptures do not specify what type of place should be used, it is left up to our judgment as to what is most expedient for the present circumstances. This is similar to the second shopping list above, where bread was authorized in general but the son would have to make a decision as to what type would be best. In both cases, implication--not silence--authorizes white bread and church buildings.

Another example shows the error in equating Bible silence with implication. Is the Bible silent about whether God loves John Smith? The correct answer is no, but why? Undeniably, no one can find an explicit statement in Scripture that affirms: "God loves John Smith." Of course, few would deny that the statement is true via implication (cf. John 3:16). If God loves all the world, then certainly He loves John Smith. Nevertheless, if we equate silence to implication, we are forced to mistakenly conclude that the Bible is silent about whether or not God loves John Smith (or any human being living today, for that matter). Such is a serious mistake in reasoning and will lead to other significant interpretive flaws. When the Bible teaches something via implication, the Bible is not silent on that matter! You cannot apply a single Biblical truth today without using implication to know whether it applies to you or not. This is the case since your name is not explicitly stated in Scripture. For example, Mark 16:16 implies the need for me, Stephen R. Bradd, to believe and be baptized to be saved but it does not teach such explicitly. I'm using my God-given reasoning skills to deduce that Mark 16:16 applies to me since it does not explicitly state my name anywhere in the verse.