|THE SILENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES|
FOCUS ON THE SCRIPTURES
April 6, 2001
Revised: January 08, 2003, May 06, 2003, & October 5, 2003
These devil-inspired false doctrines are exceedingly harmful to those who teach them and exceedingly harmful to those who believe the false doctrines. They undermine the explicit and clear teachings of the Word of God and the explicit and clear teachings of Jesus. These false doctrines, taught as truth, are directly responsible for the fact that untold millions of people have not accepted Christ and are not, today, Christians.
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves" (Matthew 23:15 NASB). And Jesus said: "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you saying, this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me, but in vain do they worship Me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" (Matthew 15:7-9 NASB).
A. The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated hesuchia, a noun, 3 times as silence; and 1 time as quietness. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says that -- hesuchia, the noun means: "1. quietness: descriptive of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others: 2 Th. 3:12. 2. silence: Acts 22:2; 1 Tim. 2:11, 12."
The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated hesuchadzo, a verb: 2 times as hold (one’s) peace; 1 time as rest; 1 time as cease; and 1 time as be quiet. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says hesuchadzo, the verb, means: "to keep quiet. a. to rest, to cease from labor: Luke 23:56. b. to lead a quiet life 1 Th. 4:11; c. to be silent, i. e. to say nothing, hold one’s peace: Luke 14:4; Acts 11:18; Acts 21:14."
The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated sige, a noun, 2 times as silence. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says sige, the noun, means: "silence; Acts 21:40; Rev. 8:1."
D. The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated sigao, a verb, 4 times as hold (one’s) peace; 3 times as keep silence; 1 time as keep close; and 1 time as keep secret. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says sigao, the verb, means: "to keep silence, hold one’s peace: Luke 9:36; 18:39; Acts 12:17; Acts 15:12; 1 Cor. 14:28, 30, 34; passive, to be kept in silence, be concealed, Rom. 16:25."
E. The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated phimoo, a verb, 2 times as put to silence; 2 times as hold (one’s) peace; 1 time as muzzle; 1 time as speechless; and 1 time as be still. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says phimoo, the verb, means: "to close the mouth with a muzzle, to muzzle: 1 Tim. 5:18; metaph. to stop the mouth, make speechless, reduce to silence: Matthew 22:34; 1 Peter 2:15; pass. to become speechless, hold one’s peace, Matthew 22:12; Mark 1:25; Mark 4:39; Luke 4:35."
F. The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated gramma, a noun, 9 times as letter; 2 times as bill; 1 time as writing; 1 time as learning; 1 time as scripture and 1 time as written. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says gramma, the noun, means: "that which has been written; 1. a letter, i. e. the character: Luke 23:38; Gal. 6:11. 2. any writing, a document or record; a. a note of hand, bill, bond, account, written acknowledgment of debt: Luke 16:6. b. a letter, an epistle: Acts 28:21. c. the sacred writings (of the O.T.) 2 Tim 3:15; the written law of Moses, Rom. 2:27; John 5:47; Rom. 2:29; Rom. 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6. 3. letters, i. q. learning: Acts 26:24, of sacred learning John 7:15."
G. The KJV translates the Greek word transliterated graphe, a noun, 51 times as scripture. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says graphe, the noun, means: "a. a writing, thing written: 2 Time 3:16. b. the holy scripture: John 7:38; John 10:35; Acts 8:32; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:22; Gal 4:30; Jas. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:6; 2 Pet. 1:20; also in the plural: Matthew 21:42; Matthew 26:54; Mark 14:49; Luke 24:27; John 5:39; Acts 17:2; Acts 17:11; Acts 18:24; Acts 18:28; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Peter 3:16; Rom. 9:17; Gal, 4:30; Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 24:45. c. a certain portion or section of holy scripture: Mark 12:10; Luke 4:21; John 19:37; Acts 1:16." In every instance of its use in the Greek manuscripts the Greek word graphe is translated either scripture, or if plural, scriptures.
And Silence of the Scriptures, as used here, does not mean the absence of noise, but it is used here to refer to the absence of writing and/or writings referred to as Scripture and/or the "Scriptures." In addition to the overwhelming evidence from the original Greek, the English word Scripture is itself from the Latin scriptura, which also means a writing. So the Silence of the Scriptures refers to that which is not written.
The true object of the words of speech is the impartation of thought. We should understand that the writers of the Scriptures mean what they say and not what they do not say. The opposite of this is also absurd.
Regarding those matters on which the Scriptures are Silent, everyone in Christ, pursuing peace, makes their own decisions in accordance with their own convictions. These conclusions are always their own and are not to be represented as the Word of God, or as "Laws of Silence."
Jesus said: "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Some teach that if we believe this, we might as well discard the rest of the Bible, - because, they say that we are not to be judged by the teachings and commandments of Christ, but rather by Apostolic precedents, necessary inferences, laws of exclusion, and a Theology styled as Pattern Theology. Where, in the Bible, in any version, are these doctrines taught? And, by what authority does anyone teach these doctrines as the word of God? And, where in the Bible, in any version, did Jesus or his Apostles teach these doctrines as the word of God? -There is no biblical authority for these doctrines, in any version, and they are not the doctrines of Christ.
How is it that some Christians, reading and studying the same Bible, arrive at opposite conclusions? Consider this article from an early Restoration Publication: "The inferences drawn by the human understanding partake of all the defects of that understanding. Thus we often observe two or more men sincerely exercising their mental powers upon the same words of inspiration, drawing inferences or conclusions, not only diverse, but flatly contradictory. This is the result of a variety of circumstances. The prejudices of education, habits of thinking, modes of reasoning, different degrees of information, the influence of a variety of passions and interests, and, above all, the different degrees of strength of human intellect, all concur in producing this result. The persons themselves are very often unconscious of the operation of all these circumstances, and are, therefore, honestly and sincerely zealous in believing and in maintaining the truth of their respective conclusions. These conclusions, then, are always private property, and can never be placed on a level with the inspired word. Subscription to them, or an acknowledgment of them, can never be rationally required as a bond of union" (The Christian Baptist, March, 1825).
Hermeneutics has its origin in the Greek text of the New Testament, and it is, therefore, essential that we consider this subject in the light of what the New Testament writers said in the original language. Our focus is on the following six New Testament Greek words from which the English word Hermeneutics is derived:
1. The Greek verb transliterated hermeneuo that is translated 3 times in the KJV as by interpretation, and one time as being interpreted. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding hermeneuo, the verb: "(fr. Hermes, who was held to be the God of speech, writing, eloquence, learning); 1. to explain in words, expound: 2. to interpret, i.e. to translate what has been spoken or written in a foreign tongue into the vernacular: John 1:38, 42; 9:7; Hebrews 7:2."
2. The Greek noun transliterated hermeneia is translated two times in the KJV as interpretation. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding the Greek word hermeneia, the noun: "interpretation (of what has been spoken more or less obscurely by others): 1 Cor 12:10; 14:26."
The Greek word transliterated dihermeneuo (a compound of dia and hermeneuo), a verb, is translated 4 times in the KJV as interpret, 1 time as by interpretation, and one time as expound. Thayer’s Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding dihermeneuo, the verb: "to interpret [dia intensifying by marking transition]; 1. to unfold the meaning of what is said, explain, expound: Luke 24:27; absolutely, 1 Cor 12:30; 14:5, 13. 27. 2. to translate into one’s native language: Acts 9:36."
The Greek word transliterated dihermeneutes, a noun, is translated 1 time in the KJV as interpreter. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding dihermeneutes, the noun: "an interpreter: 1 Cor 14:28."
5. The Greek word transliterated dihermeneia, a noun, is translated 1 time in the KJV as interpretation. Thayers’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding dihermeneia, the noun: "interpretation of obscure utterances, 1 Cor 12:10."
The Greek word transliterated methermeneuo (a compond of meth and hermeneuo), a verb, is translated 6 times in the KJV as being interpreted; and 1 time as be by interpretation. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says regarding methermeneuo, the verb: "to translate into the language of one with whom I wish to communicate, to interpret: Matthew 1:23; Mark 5:41; 15:22, 34; John 1: 41; Acts 4:36; 13:8."
"ITEM. We will, that our power of making laws for the government of the church, and executing them by delegated authority, forever cease, that the people may have free course to the Bible, and adopt the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."
. We will, that candidates for the Gospel ministry henceforth study the Holy Scriptures with fervent prayer, and obtain license from God to preach the simple Gospel, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, without any mixture of philosophy, vain deceit, traditions of men, or the rudiments of the world. And let none henceforth take this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."
That each member, according to ability, cheerfully and liberally subscribe a certain specified sum, to be paid half yearly, for the purpose of raising a fund to support a pure Gospel ministry, that shall reduce to practice that whole form of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, expressly revealed and enjoined in the word of God. And, also, for supplying the poor with the Holy Scriptures."
"I first read a familiar passage in John 20th chapter. Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of the Disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name. I also read Rom. 10:17. So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."
He then continues: "In other words, whatever may be man’s inferences, reasonings, suppositions or preferences, yet no one can believe that to be the will of God which is not mentioned with approbation in the word of God as revealed in the Bible, or rather, revealed to us as the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, then, it is evident thus far the difference between disciples of Christ, and their religious neighbors are determined by the difference between TESTIMONY and INFERENCE, and between BELIEF or FAITH and OPINION or SUPPOSITION. In other words, in advocating simply what is revealed on the subjects mentioned we stand on the DIVINE TESTIMONY by which FAITH or BELIEF is produced. All that we advocate on these subjects is a matter of divine testimony and thus is a matter of belief or faith, while all that our religious neighbors advocate in opposition to us on these subjects is not a matter of divine testimony and hence not a matter of belief or faith, but being of human inference certainly belongs to the domain of opinion or supposition or view or preference. NO ONE CAN BELIEVE THAT TO BE THE WILL OF GOD WHICH IS NOT ATTESTED WITH APPROBATION IN THE WORD OF GOD."
"But the music question must not be forgotten. I read Eph. 5:19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. I also read Col 3:16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." --He concludes his comments on instrumental music with these words: "No one on earth can possibly believe that playing of any kind is a part of the worship of God through Christ, nor that it SHOULD or even MAY accompany the worship without offending Christ. There may be inferences, opinions, views, notions, suppositions, but there can be no such confidence as the word faith signifies. Whatever is not of faith is sin."
Under the New Covenant, Jesus is our high priest, a descendant of the tribe of Judah, the priesthood is changed, and also, the law is changed. The message of this scripture is self evident and very clear. It has nothing to do with authority based on a "Law of Silence" or a "Principle of Silence." It has to do with authority based on that which is expressly taught in the words of Scripture.
"of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" is written to Jewish Christians to make it very clear that Jesus was not a priest under the Mosaic Law because He was descendant of the tribe of Judah. He was not of the Levitical priesthood. The priesthood was changed and by necessity the law was changed. Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. This is the communication of an idea or concept through the use of words reduced to writing. This expression is simply making it clear that the law of Moses expressly required that the priests were to come from the tribe of Levi. There was nothing said about Judah because Levi was specified. Again, it has to do with authority based on that which is expressly taught in the words of Scripture.
Under the New Testament dispensation, according to God’s Word, Christians are to obey the commandments of Jesus not the inferences and suppositions of men. The attempt to use this fragment of scripture as a basis of an effort to defend a humanly-devised "Law of Silence" or "Principle of Silence" as the Word of God, is, to say the least, absolutely absurd. It should be evident to all that the Silence of the Scriptures is simply Silence, nothing more, nothing less, neither a limitation nor a license.
" is simply not a commandment of Jesus, forbidding Sunday School Classes, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding plural communion cups, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding Activity Buildings, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding congregations meeting in rented or owned buildings, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding Special Singing Groups, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding Joint Support of Orphan Homes & Church Projects, or is it a commandment of Jesus forbidding the hiring of Preachers, or a commandment of Jesus forbidding instrumental music; in fact it is not a commandment of Jesus at all.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first four books of the New Testament, contain the record of the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ and include His final instructions to the Apostles - "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV). That is what the rest of the Bible is all about: it is the record of the Apostles and their converts going into all the world teaching men of all nations to observe the teachings of Christ. "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4 KJV).
is the message throughout the New Testament. In the closing chapter of the last book of the Bible, we have these words "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14 KJV). On the mount of transfiguration it is Jesus, not Moses, and Elias, and Jesus. It is Jesus, hear Him. Today it is not humanly devised principles, necessary inferences, Pattern Theology, laws of exclusion and Apostolic precedents, and Jesus. It is Jesus, hear Him.
The Law of Silence or the Principle of Silence is not contained in that which was "at the first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed by them that heard Him." It is, very simply, not a teaching or a command of the New Testament.
There are essentials of
faith in Christ and there can be no compromise here. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ must be the focus of our teaching. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth --- from such withdraw thyself" (1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV).
in essentials; Liberty in non-essentials; and in all things Love.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE™, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
©2001, 2003 by James S. Davis. All rights reserved.
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