The Hermeneutics of the Bible and United States History!
We must respect the silence of the Bible!

See also: Why We Must Obey God's Silence: Acts 15


A. By way of introduction, I want to take a few minutes to present some historical events which lead to the development of our nation.

B. From these historical events, we will make application concerning the same situation in religion today.

C. This Chart will form the basis of logic in this outline.

Bible Hermeneutic

Bible believers

Liberals, Modernists & Denominationalists

Early Governmental Issue

Thomas Jefferson
(Jefferson was not a Bible believer)

"Strict Constructionist"


(The government can do only those things in the Constitution).

Alexander Hamilton

"Loose Constructionist"


(The government can do anything not specifically forbidden in the Constitution).

US Presidents

Thomas Jefferson: "Constitution doesn't authorize a National bank"

Alexander Hamilton: "The constitution doesn't say we can't!"

Lev 10:1-2

Moses: "God told priests to get fire for sacrifices from alter"

Nadab and Abihu: "God never said we couldn't get fire for sacrifice somewhere else.

Heb. 11:4

Able: "God said an Animal sacrifice"

Cain: "God never said not to use the fruit of the ground"

John 4:20

Jews: "God said Jerusalem was holy"

Samaritans: "God never said this mountain was not holy"

Mark 7:4

Washing of sacrifices was commanded

Pharisees: "God never said not to require washing of cups"

Acts 15:1,5

Christians: "God said Baptism was essential to salvation" Acts 2:38

Judaizers: "God never said Circumcision was no longer required."

Eph. 5:19

Christians: "God said to Sing"

Denominationalists: "God never said we couldn't play an instrument in worship"

Phil. 4:16

Christians: "God said to send money from a church directly to a preacher"

Institutionalists: "God never said one church could not send money to another in evangelism and set up a sponsoring church"

1 Cor. 16:1-2

Christians: "God said to make free will offerings every Sunday

Liberals: "God never said the church couldn't raise money from bake sales, tithing or bingo's!"

I. Historical Events Regarding the USA

A. In the year 1774, when the American colonists could no longer withstand the oppression that was bearing down on them, they began to devise ways and means to rid themselves of the yoke that was upon them.

1. An announcement was made throughout the colonies, which eventually culminated in the wonderful document known as the Declaration of Independence.

B. At that time, the colonies entered into the bitter war with the mother country, and as result of several years' fighting, in 1781, freedom from the yoke of England was finally gained.

1. Freedom had been bought at a terrible price with many lives lost on both sides.

C. Two more years rolled by before the Treaty of Paris was formally fixed and signed.

1. The colonies were then left to direct their own course of action.

2. At first, they had a system known as the Articles of Confederation, which was lacking in that it had no executive department of government.

D. In the year 1787, the people sent their respective delegates to the general convention, the object of which was to revise the Articles of Confederation and make them adequate to the demands of the colonies.

1. After a great deal of discussion, the consensus was to do away with the Articles of Confederation and adopt a Constitution for the United Colonies or States.

E. Four months were spent in discussion, investigation, and deliberation.

1. One idea of government was championed by Alexander Hamilton, the other by Thomas Jefferson.

2. Mr. Hamilton's concept was: "The States should sacrifice their powers and form a strong federal government."

3. Mr. Jefferson said, "We have just fought, bled, and died in order to get rid of a monarchial form of government. Let the States retain their powers. Let the doctrine of 'States' Rights' prevail, not yielding too much to the central government and not giving too much authority to our capital city."

4. These two ideas having been thoroughly discussed and various compromises suggested, finally, on the seventeenth day of September of 1787, the Constitution was adopted.

F. They then started out to elect a President, a chief executive of the nation.

1. It was unanimously conceded that George Washington should be the President. John Adams was elected as Vice President.

2. As soon as Mr. Washington was inaugurated, in 1789, he looked around to select the cabinet members which, at that time, were four in number.

3. At the head of the Treasury Department, Washington selected Alexander Hamilton, who came to be known as a "Federalist."

4. As Secretary of Foreign Affairs, now called "Secretary of State," he appointed Thomas Jefferson, who came to be known as an "Antifederalist."

5. Mr. Henry Knox was made Secretary of War, and Mr. Edmund Randolph was made Attorney-General.

G. Soon after the government was formed, it was understood and generally known that the country was deeply and woefully in debt due to the expenses of the war.

1. Alexander Hamilton had a master mind along that line, and he devised ways and means, in harmony with the Constitution, to obtain funds for a working government.

2. He put a tariff on foreign trade, liquors, and many other things.

3. In time, streams of revenue began to flow into the treasury, and as Daniel Webster eloquently said of Hamilton, "He struck the rock of internal resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth; he touched the dead corpse of public credit, and it sprang to its feet."

H. Just after that step, Hamilton proposed another matter.

1. He insisted that the government should establish a Nation Bank.

I. It was at this point that Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, objected and with this the first great fight in the new government began, with these two champions on either side.

1. Jefferson said, "The Constitution is the supreme law of the land; and while, indeed, it is not an infallible document, as is admitted by provision being made for its amendment, yet if we launch our ship of state on the Constitution we have adopted, we cannot establish a nation bank, because there is no provision for it."

2. Hamilton said, "There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of a national bank. The Constitution says not a single word about a national bank. There is not a single line in it that says: 'Thou shalt not have the government engaging in the banking business.'"

J. These two ideas laid the foundation for the first two great political parties in this country, known as the Federalists and Antifederalists.

1. Hamilton's party, the Federalists, came to be known as "Loose Constructionists"; that is, to construe loosely the Constitution, on the grounds that we are at liberty to do anything that it does not specifically prohibit.

2. Jefferson's party, the Antifederalists, was known as "Strict Constructionists"; that is, we must be governed strictly by what's written.

K. At first, Mr. Hamilton's idea prevailed and John Adams, who was a Federalist, was elected as the second President.

1. However, Jefferson, the Antifederalist, continued to preach the doctrine of respect for the Constitution, and later, he was elected the third President.

Early Governmental Issue

Alexander Hamilton

Thomas Jefferson

"Loose Constructionist"

"Strict Constructionist"



(The government can do anything not specifically forbidden in the Constitution).

(The government can do only those things in the Constitution).

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II. The Same Problem Exists Today:

A. The problem back then regarding how the Constitution was to be viewed is the same problem which exist today regarding the Word of God.

1. Actually, this is the very heart of the matter regarding the differences between religious people today.

2. In other words, shall we be "strict constructionists" holding only to what's written, or will we be "loose constructionists" at liberty to do anything not mentioned?

B. Consider how the Hebrew writer approached this issue. Heb. 7:14

1. Since Moses spoke nothing concerning anyone from the tribe of Judah being a priest, Jesus could not have been a priest under the Levitical system.

C. Jesus Christ legislated and announced to the world a Great Constitution, the New Testament. 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Tim. 3:16-27

1. If God has declared that the man of God is thoroughly equipped for every good work through the Scriptures, who has the right to say that the man of God is NOT thoroughly equipped for every good work through the Scriptures?

D. Unlike the Constitution adopted by our forefathers, the New Testament is not subject to amendment.

1. We need no general assembly, convention, conference, or delegation of people to make amendments or resolutions regarding the Lord's Constitution.

E. Thus, the vital questions is: "Shall we accept the N.T. as God's Constitution and be guided solely and entirely by it, or shall we assume the liberty to do anything not specifically mentioned in it?"

1. To us, the answer is obvious.

III. Consider Some Examples:

A. Heb. 11:4

1. Able offered his animal sacrifice "by faith." To do something "by faith" is to do so in accord with God's instructions.

2. Was the "fruit of the ground" just as good as the animal sacrifice? Gen. 4:3-5

3. Could Able have offered both "an animal" and "vegetables" and still be accepted?

B. John 4:20

1. Jerusalem was the place to worship. Deut. 12:5-7,11; 1 Kings 8:16; 1 Kings 9:3

2. The Scriptures did not say, "Don't worship on the mountain of Samaria."

3. Deuteronomy 11:29 historically the Lord have even commanded an offering to made on Mount Gerizim!

4. Could one have worshiped in both places?

C. Mark 7:1-8

1. The washing of sacrifices was commanded. Ex. 29:1-4; Lev. 1:8-9

2. The washing of hands, cups, vessels as part of worship was not commanded in their law, and thus it was wrong for them to do so.

D. Acts 15:1,5

1. Not only did they bind circumcision, but were consistent in binding the whole law.

2. Consider Peter's words: "...To whom we gave no such commandment." Acts 15:24

a. There was no such commandment as circumcision in order to be saved, and thus, it was wrong.

E. Eph. 5:19

1. Can we do both (play an instrument and sing) and still be pleasing to God?

F. Phil. 4:14-16

1. Funds were never sent from one church to another for evangelism.

2. Funds were never sent to a Missionary Society or anything of that sort.

3. If we respect God and His Word, funds must be sent to the preacher in doing the work of evangelism.

a. We cannot presume to do both (send to a preacher and to another church or whatever) and be pleasing to God. Psalm 19:13

G. 1 Cor 16:1-2

1. Can a New Testament church go into the banking business in order to obtain funds?

2. This was the very thing Mr. Hamilton proposed for our federal government - that of going into the banking business.

3. Mr. Jefferson rightly objected on grounds that there was no Constitutional provision for it.

H. Nadab and Abihu: Lev 10:1-2

1. were told to get the fire from altar: Lev 16:12; 6:12,13; Nun 16:46

I. Jesus could not be priest: Heb 7:13,14 + 8:4

1. Jeriboam ordained non-Levites priests: 1 Ki 12:31

2. God forbid non Levites: Num 18:22-23

3. The Hebrew writer doesn't argue that God forbid Judah (even though he had), but rather stated that God spoke nothing about Judah being priests. This proves that God expects men to respect His silence.

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A. Although governmental matters have some importance as to their effect on the people, they in no way compare to the Spiritual matters.

1. Spiritual matters have to do with our eternal salvation.

B. We must reverently respect what God has said, if we wish to be pleasing to Him.

1. God's constitution has been established. We dare not delete, add to, or make alterations to it in any way.

2. We close by considering these familiar, but important, passages. 2 John 9; Gal. 1:8-9; Matt. 7:21-23

David Riggs

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