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Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 10:23-33

(Part 6)

God Has Spoken: A Study of Bible Authority

(Aids and Additions)


1.  God has expressed His authority in the Scriptures generically & specifically:

  a.  Generic authority includes choices related to the commandment.

  b.  Specific authority excludes choices, since God has specified what He wants.

2.  How do we scripturally tell the difference between an aid (that helps us obey God’s word) & an addition that violates God’s word?



  A.  Definition (sumphero):  “lit., to bring together…to be an advantage, profitable expedient…” (Vine, 218). cf. John 16:7

    1. “To bear together or at the same time; to carry with others; to collect or contribute in order to help, hence to help, be profitable, be expedient…” (Thayer, 597).

    2. “Aid” is virtually synonymous with “expedient” here, since these terms are used to refer to things that assist or help in obeying God.

    3. “In order for a thing to be a scriptural expedient in spiritual affairs it must facilitate in the accomplishment of God’s will and must be in harmony with His word.”  (Walking By Faith, Cogdill, 18, emp. added)

  B.  For a Thing to be Expedient (an aid), it Must be Lawful, l Cor. 6:12; 10:23.

    1. Command:  Glorify God & cause no offense, 1 Cor. 10:31-33.

    2. It was lawful to eat meats (even those which had been sacrificed to idols), however, it was not always expedient due to weak consciences.

    3. Those things that aid in obeying God’s will are expedients – they expedite obedience to God.  Aids are lawful (approved) before God.

  C.  Aids (expediencies) do not Change the Force or Effect of the Authorized Action(“Incidentals” or “non-essentials”)

    1. Noah’s tools did not change the effect of God’s command to build an ark -- they helped him obey the command.

    2. Song books, a pitch pipe & song leader are aids that expedite the command to sing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

    3. Trays & cups are aids to help obey command to eat Lord's supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26).

    4. Application to the work of the local church:

            a. Preach (1 Ths. 1:8) – Pulpit, sound system, power point…

            b. Edify (1 Cor. 14:26) – Classes, material, bulletin, building, etc.

            c. Relieve saints (Acts 2:44-45) – How to distribute (mail, by hand), etc.

  D.  Aids (expediencies) involve Choices (of liberty).

    1. Because they are non-essentials:

            a. May choose whether to use a pitch pipe to sing.

            b. May choose whether to use power point, loudspeaker & bulletin to preach.

            c. May choose whether to use printed material to edify.

            d. May choose whether to hand deliver or mail the relief to needy saints.

    2. Aids are left unspecified in scripture (otherwise, they would be essential).

    3. Their use involves liberty & human wisdom (judgment):  “What is the best way to accomplish the authorized activity?”

  E.  Aids must Edify:  Not cause of offense (stumbling), 1 Cor. 10:23.

    1. Remember the definition:  “To help, be profitable” – cf. 1 Cor. 10:31-33.

    2. Because aids are non-essential matters of liberty, they are not to be forced on others or used so as to compel someone to violate their (weak) conscience & sin, cf. 1 Cor. 10:24.

    3. We are to forego a personal liberty – a non-essential matter – rather than lead a brother to sin by violating his conscience in partaking in that which he believes to be wrong – 1 Cor. 10:27-29; 8:7-13.

    4. Weak in conscience is to respect the right of others to use a liberty without condemning them when his conscience won’t allow it (Rom. 14:13; 15:1-2).



  A.  Definition (prostithemi):  “to put to, to add, join to, gather with any company” (Thayer, 549); “increase” - the “joining of a thing to another thing” (Webster).

  B.  Concerning Bible Authority, an Addition to God’s Will Changes the Force & Effect of the Authorized Activity.

    1. Noah.  If he built another structure along with the ark, he would have added to God’s word.

    2. Baptism (Rom.6:4; Col.2:12). When pouring is introduced as baptism, the force (action) & effect of baptism as a burial is changedit is an addition.

    3. Instrumental music in worship (Eph. 5:19); When (playing) is introduced along with vocal music (singing), the force & effect of our command to sing is changed it is an addition.

    4. Work of the local church.  When social &  secular works are introduced as works of the local church (like social entertainment, business enterprise, day-care, schools, health clinics, etc.), the force & effect of that church’s spiritual work (to preach, edify & relieve needy saints) is changedThese are additions to the work of the local church.

  C.  Additions are not Approved, but Forbidden (without Christ’s authority), 2 Jno. 9 (Gal. 1:8-9; Rev. 22:18).



     When we add to the will of God, we turn away from gospel of Christ to a different gospel; we pervert His gospel & part from His grace, Gal. 1:6.