Silent Where the Bible is Silent
It’s easier to speak where the Bible speaks, than to be silent where the Bible is silent. Speak the Word of God. It’s the black letters. Read them. God said it. That settles it. No comas, semicolons; Period. Exclamation! Some translations have emphasized the words of Jesus with red letters. These are God’s Words. Jesus loved hyperbole and parables, which often need some explanation. These words are easier to preach because they’re filled with narrative and stories. Speak what is written.
Keep silent. Preachers can get in more trouble over what they don’t say than for what they say. Despite this, they must not say too much.
It’s easy to go beyond what is written because we often want to know “why?” Why did God say this? Unfortunately, there are plenty of speculations. People draw conclusions and have many opinions. Preachers don’t always clarify which parts are their opinions. Opinions are never binding – they’re just opinions. We all have them. Romans 14 speaks about getting along with each other despite having differing opinions.
Another problem that arises out of silence is trying to get specific about applications. People want to know “how”. How do we apply this to our lives? Where the application begins is where the sermon begins. The Bible often speaks of principles rather than specific laws or actions. Sometimes we get carried away and demand that others apply the principles the same way we do. They can easily become more than suggestions. The principle of prayer, for example, can become three rules you must follow to pray.
A couple of things to remember. First, Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
And then, another slogan comes to mind. I heard this in church, but I also saw it embroidered on a plaque in a Grange Hall: “In Faith: Unity. In Opinion: Liberty. In All Things: Love.”