I hear preachers and teachers of the bible consistently interpret the scriptures with the definitions of man. What I hear little of, is preachers and teachers allowing the bible to interpret and define itself. Actually, this is quite simple to illustrate.
No one needs to define baptism. Why? Because the bible tells us everything we need to know about baptism. On the day of Pentecost, the crowd asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What shall we do?” Peter gave them the command to “Repent and be baptized”. (Acts 2:37,38) The Ethiopian Eunuch after Philip preached Jesus said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Philip replied, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The Eunuch said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” With that confession, Philip and the Eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptized the Eunuch. (Acts 8:36-38) What does this teach us about baptism? It teaches us that before one is immersed in water that one must believe, confess and repent. It teaches us that ‘faith only’ is not enough for one to be added to the Lord’s church. (Acts 2:47) It teaches us that sprinkling is not scriptural. It teaches us that babies are not to be baptized.
No one needs to define how we are to sing in the church. Why? Because the bible tells us everything we need to know about singing. It was the apostle Paul who commanded us : “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19) Again he said, “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.” (Col 3:16) Immediately after the “Last Supper” before the Lord’s Crucifixion this is recorded: “ And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mt 26:30) What does this all teach us about singing in the church? It teaches us that instrumental music was never used, mentioned, or commanded. In fact, it teaches us to sing with our mouth and make music in our hearts. It teaches us that singing was done collectively and not individually.
Conclusion: These are just two examples of where the bible defines itself. If one were to go in great depths of the bible, they will discover that God never commands us to do anything that he doesn’t amply define. If God didn’t mention it, he never intended you or I to do it. This is why Paul said we are not to go beyond that which was written. (1 Cor 4:6) This is why Peter said we are to “Speak the oracles (very Words) of God”. (1 Pet 4:11) This is why John warned all not to add to or take from book of Revelation, or any book God has inspired. (Rev 22:18,19) Don’t waste your time trying to define God’s Word by man’s definition, because God has already done that for you. Simply said, scripture defines scripture! All God asks of us is to obey his simple and easy to carry out commandments. (Jn 14:15 f; 1 Jn 5:3)