In the first post of this series, I invited comment on 1 Corinthians 4:6, because it is, in my experience, the most frequently cited verse in support of the Regulative Principle (scriptural silences are prohibitions). Although the post received many comments, no one defended that interpretation of the passage. I’m not surprised.
You see, once you realize that hardly any of the New Testament was written at the time 1 Corinthians 4:6 was penned by Paul, “that which is written” is obviously a reference to the Old Testament — which he’d just quoted several times, routinely with the introduction: “It is written” (1 Cor 1:19; 1:31; 2:9; 3:19). Plainly, this verse does not support the Regulative Principle.
The verse that I’ve seen used nearly as often to support the Regulative Principle is Col 3:17, and it’s not as easily dismissed —
(ESV) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The classic argument is that “in the name of the Lord Jesus” means “by the authority of the Lord Jesus.”
Careful students know that we must have Bible authority for all that we do in service to God. Paul said, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17). To do a thing “in the name of” someone is to do it by their power or authority (Acts 4:7). John wrote that we must abide within the doctrine of Christ (2 Jno. 9).
Bible authority is established by (1) Command, (2) Example or (3) Necessary inference. All three of these were used in settling the matter of circumcision in Acts 15. Without a command or direct statement, an example that is approved of God or some principle that necessarily infers the matter, it is without Bible authority.
Readers, in the context of Colossians, what is the proper exegesis of this verse? What was Paul saying to the church in Colosse?