Ever since the first century, faithful churches of Christ has taught the basic bible principle of “Speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent.” God has informed His people that this is His will in both the old and new covenants. In Deut. 4:2 we read, “You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Also, “add not unto His words, lest He reprove you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6). This principle continued in the new as well. “That in us you might learn not to go beyond that which was written” (1 Cor 4:6). “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet 4:11). There was these two ominous warnings which tell us the penalty of altering God’s Word: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6-9). “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:18,19).
These warnings should cause even the most unlearned in the scripture to conclude that it is most foolish to tamper and attempt to change the word of God to fit our own desires. The Bible has proven itself time and time again and it certainly does not need to be changed. What is demands is to to be believed and practiced in order to have saving power of one’s soul.
Hear the testimony of the inspired writers: “But sanctify the Lord in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Pet 3:15). In view of the scriptures already mentioned, that we should follow the Bible and that alone, I wonder what possible answer I am expected to give when a person inquires about the Bible? Remember that the Lord said, “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (Jn 17:17). John informs us that “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). Now when asked a question, what should I say? Should I give an opinion of my own and tell them this is the will of God? Should I say the Spirit has not revealed it unto me as yet? Every true Bible student would instruct me to just tell them what the Lord says about the matter! This is speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent. When we ask for book, chapter and verse, we are saying, “Give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Just a simple request for Bible authority.
Where is the book, chapter and verse in the New Testament that will authorize mechanical instruments of music in the worship service, or the church supported basketball teams, or the church supported golf course, or the church supported colleges, or the church supported homes for the aged, unwed mothers, or church supported orphan homes and church supported fellowship halls, etc? If it is in the Bible I want to do it. If it is not found in the word of our Lord then we had better leave it alone. Did not Christ suffer and die on this earth so that we might have a law to go by and an example to follow!
Many verses teach that Christ and God set up the rules for the church and we as God’s children must obey these rules or perish. Just a few verses to prove this point: “And has put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). “He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). We are told in the word of God to listen to the voice of His Son. “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear you Him” (Matt. 17:5). “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).
Conclusion: Who should you believe? A man or woman who speaks their own opinions and has no power to save your soul? Or the new testament scriptures which were divinely inspired, and shall judge your soul come the day of judgment by Jesus Christ (Jn 12:48 f; Rom 2:16)? If you do what God exactly commands you to do, will you not be saved? And if you obey for doctrine the commandments of men, shall you not be lost (Mt 15:7-9 f; Tit 1:14)? Remember the last part of what Jesus commanded his apostles to teach unto all the world: “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). The only way to obey all things which Jesus commanded us to do is to “Speak the oracles or very Words of God” (1 Pet 4:11). And not to “go beyond that which was written” (1 Cor 4:6).