The bible teaches us that we must respect the written word of God. The written word of God found in the bible also teaches us to respect the silence of the scriptures.

In the religious world, of those who say they believe in Christ, there are at least two teachings regarding the silence of God's word. Some teach that if God, through His written word, does not expressly speak against a particular practice of worship, it is authorized to practice. Others teach that if God, through His written word, does not expressly speak against a particular practice of worship, and there is no express or implied authorization to practice the deed, it is not authorized to practice.

The latter teaching respects God's silence, the former does not.

For example: Playing instruments of music in public worship is not authorized. That is, the New Testament (N.T.) does not speak of the primitive church using them. There is no express command for the use of them. There is no approved example of their use. Nothing is implied in the N.T. for their use. God is silent about playing instruments of music in public worship.

In Leviticus 10:1-2 an action occurred which cost two individual priests their lives because they did not respect the silence of God. Nadab and Abihu offered "strange fire" before the Lord. "Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. "And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord." (Lev. 10:1-2. NASB).

Nadab and Abihu were put to death, because offering something to God in worship, which God did not command, was a treatment to God as unholy and profane. "Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent." (Lev. 10:3 NASB).

The actions of Nadab and Abihu were presumptuous. Because of their arrogance, they presumed too much of their importance, and took it upon themselves to worship God in a manner that pleased themselves. If they thought it would please God, without a "thus saith the Lord," this also is presumptuous and would be a demonstration of their irreverence towards God's silence. This is the lesson we are to learn.

"But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die." (Deut. 18:20 NASB). This is the principle regarding words. Wrong thoughts lead to wrong words, wrong words lead to wrong deeds.

Demand a book, chapter, and verse for everything you say and do. (Col. 3:17) If God does not say it in the scriptures, then He is silent. Let us also honor God by being silent.