Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Necessary Inference”

Categories: DOCTRINE
     Help me explain how God teaches us, not just by commands and direct statements, but also by examples and "necessary inferences."

Trying To Teach

Dear Trying To Teach,

‘Necessary inference’ is another way of saying that something must logically be true.  For example, if you saw a man walking out of a store, you could “necessarily infer” that he had entered the store at some point.  A necessary inference is simply using the facts at hand and our reasoning powers to properly find an answer.  This is something that God wants us to do.

  • In Isa 1:18, the Lord says, “Come now and let us reason together.”
  • In Acts 17:2, Paul reasoned with the Jews using Scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Christ.
  • Hebrews 5:14 says that we should attempt to discern between good and evil.

All of these passages point out that we have a responsibility to take God’s Word and, using our minds, reach proper conclusions about what is right and wrong.  It is important to remember that we aren’t supposed to “jump” to conclusions, but God wants us to take the sum of His Word on every topic and put the pieces properly together (Ps 119:160).

In fact, this is exactly what the apostles did in Acts 15 when they had to decide whether or not to circumcise the Gentile Christians.  In Acts 15:7-12, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas gave examples of how God accepted the Gentiles without circumcision.  In Acts 15:13-21, the apostles looked at an Old Testament passage that said the Gentiles would eventually be accepted by God.  And finally, after looking at these commands and examples from God, they made a judgment that the Gentiles didn’t need to be circumcised (Acts 15:19).  This is a perfect example of using sound judgment and necessary inference.

God wants us to use our minds and come up with necessary conclusions to resolve ethical issues and defend the faith (1 Pet 3:15).