Sunday, April 23, 2017 am                                            NT Church Index 2017

Authority 6 – Necessary Inference (2)


As we consider the New Testament church this year, we are in the midst of a study of authority that will help us establish how we are to conduct ourselves as the church of Christ in matters of organization, worship, and work.  We have been addressing how authority is established – CENI.  Noting these 3 ways, we discussed some things to consider with approved examples and in our last lesson we began discussing some things to consider with necessary inference. 

 I.                     What is Necessary Inference? (Review)

a.       Also known as necessary conclusions, unavoidable conclusions, necessary implication, forced conclusions, etc. it is defined as “That which, through neither expressly stated nor specifically exemplified, yet is necessarily implied by the clear import and meaning of the language used.”  (Walking by Faith, Codgill, 14)
It is an inference or conclusion that is reached by putting together all that is said on a subject using reason and logic, and thereby you reach the ONLY reasonable conclusion.

b.       We noted how scripture calls for us to use reason, meaning we need to think and logically put together what is said and reach proper conclusions. 
It was done by Jesus to establish that marriage is intended to be for life (what God has joined together, do not let man separate – Matthew 19:9) and to show that there is a resurrection and man lives beyond the grave (Matthew 22:29-32 where Jesus refers to God speaking to Moses and says, “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
Peter was forced to conclude that Gentiles were to be fellow heirs by the events that unfolded in Acts 10.
THEN, in Acts 15 when Jewish brethren wanted to bind circumcision upon Gentiles, they met in Jerusalem and through the use of Direct statements and approved examples they unavoidably reached a conclusion that Gentiles did NOT need to be circumcised.  In Acts 15:28 they even noted their conclusion was from the Holy Spirit – the revealer of God’s word).

      So with these thoughts in mind, let us notice some rules to consider with NI and make some applications in scripture. 

 I.                     Rules to consider when dealing with necessary inference.

a.       NI was a form of establishing authority from scripture – see what we have already noted.  Therefore, WE CONLCUDE, we should consider NI as we determine what and HOW we do something. 

b.       A reminder of our need for total honesty.  We need to be objective as we study God’s word with a willingness to observe all things commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).

c.        NI is based upon what is already known by precept, command and/or example – it always deals with how a command is carried out, or a conclusion based upon already revealed facts.  THIS would dismiss one saying today, “God spoke to me…”

d.       Proper application of NI calls for effort!  We need to handle accurately God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15) and WANT to understand it (cf. Acts 17:11).   Sometimes reaching these conclusions requires that we do some work and investigation.  We need to learn what the Bible says about a given subject.

e.       NI calls for properly apply rules of interpretation – for example, what we are appealing to must be in its proper context including the immediate context and background of that passage.  Examine EVERYTHING related to that subject.

f.         Necessary inference calls for all propositions (premises) in a syllogism to be true (factual) to reach that conclusion.  In a syllogism, a conclusion reached based upon two or more premises, when a conclusion is wrong, it is usually because at least one proposition (premise) is incorrect. 
For example: 2 + 2 = 4.  Each two is a premise reaching the conclusion (answer).  If either premise is changed, the conclusion would be different.
Similarly, in studying God’s word, we need to begin with true premises as we reach conclusions. 
Much false doctrine is based upon faulty premises that result in false conclusions. 

g.       NI will harmonize with what is revealed and confirmed as truth – not only do we look to what is written, we realize God’s word can be understood and does not contradict itself (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Often, one passage may help explain another one. 
Look for consistency in patterns, etc., where there is more than one example.

h.       NI is the ONLY logical conclusion that can be inferred when all things are put together -

Example: Genesis 1:1 – in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Necessarily implied is that God existed before creation. 
John 3:2 – Nicodemus when he comes to Jesus at night he notes that Jesus HAD TO have come from God.  Why? Because of the miracles and works He did. 

i.         NOTE: NI doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot reach another conclusion, BUT to do so is to act without certainty (Cf. Romans 14:23) and overstep the bounds of approved examples.  I.e. The Lord’s Supper offered on Saturday or some other day (Acts 20:7) – it is possible to do that, but can you prove it is acceptable with God’s word?

 II.                    Some examples of application to necessary inference

j.         Lord’s Supper - Every first day. Acts 20:7 notes they came together on the first day of the week to break bread (a reference to partaking of the Lord’s Supper).  WE know from scripture the disciples assembled regularly.  1 Corinthians 16:1-2 implies they came together (and the grammatical structure supports this – see the NASB, ESV, etc.) one the first day of EVERY week. 
1 Corinthians 11 which discusses the abuse of the Lord’s Supper notes that they did come together regularly (1 Cor. 11:17-20). 
Add to this the LOGIC that EVERY week has a first day, we can necessarily conclude that we ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper EVERY first day of the week.  Any other frequency (on other days OR less frequent) is without any Biblical precedent or example.

k.        Lord’s Supper – unleavened bread and fruit of the vine – scripture tells us that it was during a Passover meal that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper – Matthew 26:17-29, etc.).  According to Passover regulations under the Old Law, certain foods were used – a lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.  Jesus took bread and the fruit of the vine (grape juice) and used it to institute the Lord’s Supper. 
IF we are to follow the PATTERN of scripture, we must use the same elements.  That is why we don’t use LOAFS of leavened bread, or cake and water.  Necessary inference tells us to use the elements Jesus used to the best of our ability. 

l.         Matthew 19:9 - The innocent party can remarry.  In a text where Jesus speaks of one divorcing and marrying another is guilty of adultery, He gives us an exception – except for fornication.  We can necessarily conclude from this text that one CAN divorce for the cause of fornication and remarry.  This is the ONLY exception we read of in scripture.  And in the latter part of that verse we see that whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.  This NECESSARLY IMPLIES that the one put away, even for fornication, CANNOT remarry.

m.     Baptism is immersion and for believers – we have mentioned throughout our studies of Authority – baptism.  Stepping beyond the meaning of the word “baptize” meaning to dip or immerse, you can look at a consistent pattern of examples (Acts 8:38, etc.) and statements (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12) that show we must IMMERSE one who believes in Jesus.
The commands and examples also NECESSARILY CONLCUDE we cannot baptize infants and be pleasing to God because infants are incapable of believing.

n.       Acts 8:35-36 – necessarily infers that preaching Jesus includes preaching baptism.  Some want to say we should “preach the man, and not the plan”.  I contend, you CANNOT preach the Man without His plan, and that includes what we need to do to be saved.

o.       Acts 10:1-2ff– necessarily concludes that being a good man, doing good works and even fearing God and praying is not sufficient to save you.

p.       Hebrews 10:25 – the command to not forsake the assembling together necessitates a place.  A study of saint assembling shows they assembled in all sorts of different places and often (as we have noted).  We have authority for a place by necessary inference.

q.       Hebrews 5:14 speaks of those who are of full age who, by reason of use have our senses exercised to discern good and evil.   For example: Issues of morality call for necessary inference – we have principles in scripture that govern modesty, soberness, proper behavior, being separate, etc. – studying what the Bible says about such things will cause us to reach necessary conclusions governing  what we wear (and should not wear), social drinking, dancing, gambling, etc.

r.        A study of the autonomy and independence of congregations will help us determine how we can and cannot carry out its work. 


As we consider how we establish authority, in this lesson we have emphasized the importance of reason and showed how we use it to reach conclusions we need to apply in what we do to be pleasing to God.  Let us resolve that we will study His word to learn to follow Him completely, whether by Direct statement, approved example or necessary conclusion.