Does God imply certain truths in His word that we are to comprehend by use of our reason? Some advocate that we should only be bound by what God has explicitly commanded us in the Bible. Any use of reason to determine what the Bible implies is “overthinking” it to them. However, while I would not advocate that each Christian is required to master formal logic to go to heaven, it is impossible to get around the necessity of correctly reasoning and inferring what the Bible implies if we wish to follow God’s will. The sides of a square are all the same length. Given the length of one side of a square, anyone familiar with even the most basic truths of geometry would be able to infer the length of the other sides of the square. Likewise, we can know a certain truth from what the Bible implies without God having to explicitly state it.
The Bible was written by about forty different men who were writing to various audiences. We must correctly infer whether or not God’s explicit commands apply to us, and if so, how. One does not need to be a master logician to conclude that God’s command in Genesis 6:14, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood,” was to Noah and is not required of people today to be saved. Alternatively, I do not need the Bible to explicitly call my full name and tell me what I should be doing in 2020 to know that I am required to follow certain courses of action. I know that even though Jesus was speaking to a certain lawyer when He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” that I too am to love God and others (Matthew 22:35-39). I know that Jesus is quoting Old Testament passages, but I also know that in first-century epistles to Christians that love for the Lord and love for others is a requirement for being saved (1 Cor. 16:22; James 2:8-9). To see these statements as binding on me, I have to infer that what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:1-2) and what James wrote to the dispersed Jews (James 1:1) applies to me as well living 2,000 years later in Flatwoods, KY.
In fact, Jesus expected the Sadducees, who denied the life of the spirit after death and the resurrection (Acts 23:8), to infer from the statement God made to Moses in Exodus 3:6, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” that these three men were in existence beyond the grave (Mt. 22:31-32; Lk. 20:37-38). While the explicit statement God made was about His identity, there was a truth about the existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who had died hundreds of years before Moses that the Bible reader was to necessarily infer from the statement.
Jesus expected men to infer that He was God from various implications in Scripture, His teaching, and His miraculous works. Jesus showed that David’s statement in Psalm 110:1 where He called Jesus Lord implied that Jesus was more than just the physical descendant of David (Mt. 22:41-45). Men were to infer that Jesus was both the root and the offspring of David—the God who existed before David and came in the flesh after David. The Jews correctly inferred that Jesus was claiming He was God when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58), since I AM is God’s name (Ex. 3:14). Jesus expected men to infer that He was the Son of God by the implication of His miraculous works (Jn. 10:38).
We can infer that Christ’s kingdom had come in the first century from passages like Colossians 1:13 and Revelation 1:9 since Christians were in it. We can infer that if we are to love and appreciate those who rule over us, (1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:7) —that is, elders who shepherd the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4) —because they watch for our souls (Heb. 13:17), that it is God’s will we be members of a local congregation with faithful overseers who will function as supervisors for our souls. God doesn’t have to explicitly say to me, “Thou shalt place membership at a local congregation,” for me to know this is God’s will. The Lord directs us by the implications of His word.