Are Examples Binding
(Authority) for Christians?
This is an issue that many have not confronted.
The Bible is full of examples, accounts of what someone did, said, thought, or performed.
The question before us is: When and to what extent is the example binding on us?
BINDING This is an important word. We are not asking what is acceptable, wise, a good way to do something. The issue is: Is this THE way, the ONLY way, that some action can be performed?
Can an account of action in the Old Testament be binding on men living today?
As a law in force as to its specific details, the Old Testament has been repealed.
The Old Testament (the Law of Moses) was addressed only to the Jews. (Deuteronomy 5:1-3)
The Old Testament (Law of Moses) did not offer absolute salvation from sins. (Hebrews 9:11-12; Hebrews10:3-4)
The Old Testament (Law of Moses) has been done away.
2 Corinthians 3:1-13
Hebrews 11 (entire chapter) and including 12:1-2
Yet, the principles set forth in the Old Testament are binding on men living today.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 Scriptures (OT) is inspired of God
1 Corinthians 10:6 These are examples for us
Romans 15:4 Written for our learning
Jude 5 I would remind (of their example)
This can be seen in the fact of the infinite Immutable God
Other attributes of God are also relevant Goodness, Love, Kindness, Mercy
Luke 17:32 Remember Lots wife
How the principle involved in various accounts of action in the Old Testament is seen to be binding on men living today.
Cain and Abel Genesis 4 (Hebrews 11:4)
Noah and the Ark Genesis 6-9 (Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20-21)
Abraham offering Isaac Genesis 22:1-14 (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Nadab and Abihu Leviticus 10:1-2
David and the new cart 1 Chronicles 13:1-15; 2 Samuel 6:1-11
Israel falling in the wilderness Numbers 13-14; 1 Corinthians 10:6-11; Jude 5
What conclusions follow from the foregoing material?
No Old Testament statement whether it be a direct command, a declaration, an account of action, etc. can be binding in specific detail on men living today BUT such can be binding in principle on men living today.
Some PRINCIPLES which can be learned from the total context of the various accounts of action in the Old Testament to be binding on men living today.
To please God we must act by faith
Faith without works is dead
One may act in sincerity and be in disobedience.
Each individual is responsible for what they do
To do, in religion, that for which there is no divine authority is to be guilty of sin
Can accounts of action in the New Testament be binding on men living today?
Classification of actions described in the New Testament
Sub-classification of actions
Forbidding what God allows
Binding what God has not taught to be essential
More specific divisions
Action which was permanently sinful
Action which was optional and temporary
Action which was optional and permanent
Action which was obligatory and temporary
Action which was obligatory and permanent
Some accounts of actions in the New Testament considered individually and in detail.
Matthew 26:4a Kissing of Jesus by Judas, betrayal
Matthew 26:69-70 Peter denies Christ
Galatians 2:12 Peters hypocrisy
Acts 8:18-19 Attempt to buy power of apostles
2 Timothy 4:10 Demas loved this present world
Revelation 2:14-15 Allow false teachers to teach
Revelation 2:4 Left their first love
1 Corinthians 5:1 Fornication
Acts 10:27-28 Association with Gentiles
Acts 21:26 Observed the day of purification
Acts 20:16 Wants to be at Jerusalem for Pentecost
Acts 13:4 Sailed to Cyprus
Acts 20:7-8 Upper room, at night
See also Luke 22:8-12 instituted in upper room, at night
2 Corinthians 8:3 Give liberally
Acts 15:22-32 Churches helping other churches
2 Corinthians 11:8 Paying the preacher
Acts 11:29-30 Helping needy brethren
Acts 8:6 Miraculous gifts
Acts 3:6-8 Healing the lame man
Acts 20:7 Lords Supper on Sunday
Acts 2:36 Preaching with logic and evidence
Acts 2:42 Continued in the Apostles teaching, breaking bread, fellowship and prayers
Acts 16:25 Praying and singing hymns to God
Acts 5:27-29 Obey God rather than men
Acts 8:35 Preaching Jesus includes the use of Scripture
A course of action in the New Testament is binding to the extent that it illustrates what is required.
NOTE: The outline and major points were adapted from two chapters in the book, When is an Example Binding?, by Thomas B. Warren, 1975