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Authority: Inferences
Bible study on Authority: Inferences.


"Infer" is a verb meaning to make a conclusion by the deduction of facts. "Inference" is a noun denoting the result of inferring (i.e., the result of making a conclusion by the deduction of facts).

Historical Inferences

Historical inferences help us understand the historical narrative.

From Genesis 12:1-5 we infer that Lot had become a member of Abram's household sometime after Haran's death (cf. Gen. 11:28f).

From Gen. 12:10; 13:1 we infer that Lot went down to Egypt with Abram.

From Matt. 3:16 we infer that Jesus went down into the water before He was baptized. A person must go down into water before being baptized and come up out of the water after being baptized (cf. Acts 8:38).

From Acts 15:23-24 we infer that the false teachers, who taught that the Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the law, claimed authority from the apostles and elders (Acts 15:2).

God's commands infer personal responsibility and due diligence.

Noah was personally responsible for building the ark since God commanded him to build the ark (Gen. 6:14). Noah was responsible for exercising due diligence. He could not wait three hundred years to begin building the ark or prolong its completion.

Abraham was personally responsible for offering his son since God commanded him to offer Isaac (Gen. 22:2). Abraham was responsible for exercising due diligence in obeying the command; therefore, he rose early the next morning (Gen. 22:3).

Joshua was personally responsible for organizing the march. He rose early in the morning to begin the march (Josh. 6:12).

Peter was commanded to personally preach to Cornelius (Acts 10:20-22). He could not abrogate his responsibility to anyone else and had to diligently obey (Acts 10:23-24).

When God commands something to be done on a specific day, it is to be done every time the day occurs.

God commanded Israel to observe the Passover, numerous Sabbaths and numerous feasts on specified days (Ex. 12:1-28, 43-51; 20:8-11; 23:10-19). God does not specify the frequency (i.e., every week, every year, etc.). Israel properly inferred that the Passover, Sabbaths and feasts must be observed every time the specified days occurred. a. We learn that we must obey God's commands every time unless God gives us instructions concerning when not to observe a command.

Examples of Inferences

Jesus inferred that throwing Himself down from the pinnacle would be tempting God (Matt. 4:5-7).

Peter inferred (in truth) that God does not show partiality toward men (Acts 10:9-16, 34; cf. Gal. 2:6).

Paul inferred that the reason for the Lord calling them to Macedonia was to preach the gospel (Acts 16:6-10).

Paul points out an obvious inference quoting Ps.8:6 (1 Cor. 15:27). Christ is subject to God; God is not subject to Christ.

1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1

Apostolic examples are authoritative; therefore, inferences from apostolic examples are authoritative.

Paul had commanded the Corinthians to imitate him (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1). His final line of reasoning to prove that it was not proper for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered (1 Cor. 11:5) was that it was not customary among the apostles or churches of God (1 Cor. 11:16; cf. 11:2). The inference Paul called the Corinthians to make was that women praying or prophesying uncovered was not an apostolic tradition (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1-2); therefore, it was not authorized.

The apostle Paul recognized that inferences from apostolic tradition was authoritative.

2 Pet. 3:16

False teachers twist the Scriptures. They use false inferences to construct false doctrines. Therefore the way of truth is blasphemed and people are exploited with deceptive words (2 Pet. 2:2-3).

Five present-day inferences from God's word that are binding on us today.

God's word infers that we must exercise due diligence to carry out His will. Diligence is commanded (2 Pet. 1:5, 10; Heb.11:6).
God's word infers that we are personally responsible for carrying out God's will. Every Bible example of obedience to God infers personal responsibility.
God's commands infer that Christians must assemble on every Sunday. We are commanded to not forsake the assembly (Heb. 10:25). The church assembled on Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). God has not exempted the church from assembling on any Sundays; therefore, the church must assemble on every Sunday.
Christians must lay by in store as they have prospered every Sunday (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Apostolic example and tradition are to lay by in store on Sunday. The inference is every Sunday since God has not exempted the church from assembling on any Sundays or laying by in store on any Sunday.
Christians must observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday (Acts 20:7). We must partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday for the same reason we must assemble every Sunday and lay by in store every Sunday. Yet, many churches assemble and take up a collection every Sunday but do not partake of the Lord's Supper every Sunday. The result is vain worship in hypocrisy (cf. Matt. 15:8-9).