Church of Christ
Mission USA

The Law of Exclusion or Silence of the Scriptures

(Applied to music in worship)

by Perry Sexton


      “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16‑17).  If we have an accurate translation of the Bible, we can trust it in learning the truth which is able to save our souls (James 1:21; John 8:32; 1 Peter 1:22,23, etc.).  In order for the Scriptures to be profitable for us, we must understand them.  This applies to all: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  We must correctly use the Word of God in order to come to the understanding of the Scriptures.  There are certain guidelines that must be applied in order to understand the Word of God.  The subject at hand is one of those principles that must be respected and applied to the Scriptures if we will learn the saving truth.

      In reality, each one of us is very familiar with the law of exclusion or law of silence.  We all use it practically every day of our lives.  Even children use it.  Here are a few examples: We call in a catalog order.  We simply tell them what items we want; we do not tell them everything in the catalog that we do not want.  We go into a restaurant and place our order.  Again, we simply tell what we want and say nothing (silence) about all the things we do not want.  On and on it goes in everyday life.  But when it comes to religion, many people throw aside every common sense principle there is in order to justify what they want!  Friends, such reasoning, or lack thereof, will lead you to Hell.

      It is only practical that God uses these same principles when communicating to us through His Word.  God simply authorizes what He wants and everything else is excluded.  Let us look at a few Bible examples for our learning of the law of exclusion, or silence of the Scriptures.  In Leviticus 10:1,2 we can, and should learn this very important lesson.  Nadab and Abihu were the sons of Aaron and therefore priests, the tribe of Levi having been chosen by God for this service.  But Nadab and Abihu made a very serious mistake in their service to the Lord.  Let us learn (Romans 15:4) from their mistake.  If we learn from ours, it may be too late!  The principle is referred to in many ways: the law of exclusion; silence of the Scriptures; not going beyond the word of God; authority; general and specific commands, etc.

      The account states: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (Leviticus 10:1,2).  The word “strange” has to do with something that is unauthorized.  Something that God did not request or order.  In other words, God had told them plainly the source from where they were to get the fire.  That eliminated all other sources.  For whatever reason, they did not obey God.  They may have made an honest mistake or reasoned one source is as good as another, etc., etc.  It does not matter why they disobeyed, the result would still have been the same: death.  The fact that the “fire” was unauthorized is also clearly seen in the statement: “which he commanded them not.”  In other words, God told them the source for the fire, God did not have to name all other sources and say, “Do not get the fire from these sources.”  God was simply silent on these other sources.

      The law of exclusion is clearly seen in the case of the ark.  God commanded the ark to be built of gopher wood, all other wood was unauthorized.  God was silent on other woods.  God did not have to name all other wood and say not to use them.  If God had given a general command: “Make thee an ark of wood,” then Noah would have been at liberty to use any kind of wood he wanted to, but God gave a specific command: “gopher wood.”  If Noah was going to serve God faithfully, he had to use only the kind of wood authorized by God.

      We can learn from Naaman, the leper of 2 Kings 5.  The command was: “Go wash in Jordan seven times” (v.10).  Naaman argued:  “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:12).  Naaman was doing what multitudes of people today are still doing: He was thinking contrary to God's Word whereas he should have been listening to learn and obey God's Word (v.11).  GOD SAID “Jordan,” that eliminated all other rivers!  We must respect God's Word and the silence of it.  God’s Word is final (Revelation 20:12).

      We see this same principle in Hebrews 7:14.  “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood” (Hebrews 7:14).  We know by book, chapter, and verse, that God chose the tribe of Levi for the priests (Exodus 28:1).  God did not have to say take the priest of the tribe of Levi, and then say do not take the priests from the tribes of Dan, Issachar, Zebulun, Judah, etc.  Remember, of Judah “Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.”  He was silent.  God simply authorized the tribe of Levi for the priests.  That excluded all other tribes or a better way of saying it: no other tribe was authorized.  (continued November 2010)  ♥ 

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col. 3:17)

“in the name of the Lord” = authority.
Continued  2010, 11 WOL