Jesus proved why He is worthy of the title, “The Master Teacher,” when He helped listeners come to the right applications of His teachings. One occasion was when Jesus was with a Pharisee named Simon. A woman came into the man’s home, took a vial of perfume, anointed Jesus, and using her hair to clean Him (Luke 7:36-39). Simon began to harshly criticize Jesus, casting doubt about Him being a prophet and allowing that woman to touch Him. The woman was known for her sins. Jesus told a parable of a moneylender who had two debtors. One owed a great amount of money, but one owed a smaller amount. Neither of the debtors could pay the lender, so he graciously released both of
the debt. Then Jesus asked Simon, “which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42). Simon answered correctly—the one who owed the greatest amount would love the lender the most. Jesus said to Simon, “you have judged correctly.”
God communicates to us by telling us what He wants us to do. Other times He may show us through examples. Still, there are other times when God gives us all the necessary information and wants us to reach the truth by reason. Jesus led “the horse to water” — and Simon was able to deduce the correct answer. The facts are presented and the truth is “staring us in the face.”
Nicodemus had heard, and possibly seen, some of Jesus’ miracles and came to the conclusion He must be one sent from God (John 3:2). The Hebrew writer used scriptural and logical conclusions to recognize truth when he wrote, “for when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also,” (Hebrews 7:12).
Are these reasonable conclusions, or necessary inferences binding and to be treated as lawful in the church? Absolutely, they are!
Many passages indicate the early church met regularly (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25). In Acts 20:7, the church met on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We can correctly, rightly, and necessarily infer the truth of the practice of the New Testament church—they met each first day of the week. Since every new week has a first day, the necessary inference is the church should each and every first day of the week.
In Acts 4:4, the Bible says many who heard Peter’s message believed and the number of the church increased to about 5,000 people. The Philippian jailer repented and was baptized (Acts 16:33) and the Scripture says he “believed in God” (Acts 16:34). Crispus “believed in the Lord” (Acts 18:8) and he did what many other Corinthians did—believed and was baptized! The believers in Acts 4:4 must have believed, repented (Acts 2:38; 16:33), confessed (Acts 8:37), and been baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:38; 16:33; 18:8) into Christ in order to be counted among the believers (Acts 4:4; 16:34; 18:8).
Recognizing necessary inferences is critical to understanding the Scripture. If we want to know and practice the truth, we must read, study, and search for critical facts that will lead us to the truth. When we do that, as Jesus would say, “you have judged correctly.”
by Sean P. Cavender