In the New Testament, we Christians can derive authority for our various practices using 3 possible properties of a given passage:

  • Direct Command
  • Approved Example
  • Necessary Inference

As I read through the NT, I plan to document instances of each that I come across, so as to make a concise summary of everything the Bible gives us authority to do.

First, however, I would point out that a large distinction should be made between things the individual is authorized to do and things the church is authorized to do. The difference lies in the enabling forces of money and will. Churches are able to operate only because their members contribute to a general fund which is dedicated to God, and as such, He has certain dictates about how that money should best be used to please Him – plus, the actions a church takes are determined by the collective will of the membership or the eldership, and no one person. Individuals, however, operate based on their own free will, and their money comes from their own economic activity, and aside from their contributions to the local church, these funds bear no inherent dedication to God and thus are free to be used for many different purposes.

Direct Commands



  • Eat with tax collectors and sinners — Matthew 9:11-13
  • Esteem elders/deacons/preachers/teachers highly — 1 Thessalonians 5:13
  • Keep away from a brother walking in idleness/rebellion (seems to describe someone who is not about their own work but everyone else’s business, not following the tradition received from [Paul, Silvanus, Timothy]) — 2 Thessalonians 3:6
  • Don’t let someone eat who isn’t willing to work — 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • Don’t keep company with anyone who doesn’t obey their words in 2 Thessalonians, but admonish him as a brother, not regarding him as an enemy — 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
  • Bear one another’s trials and tests (which first requires discovering them), fulfilling Christ’s law, and don’t think of ourselves too great or important to bear others’ burdens; we should think soberly about our own works, testing them in our minds whether they are worthy, and if they actually are, then we can rejoice in that as opposed to other people’s estimation of us — Galatians 6:2-4

Approved Examples


  • Apostles appointed elders so that each congregation would have them — Acts 14:23
  • Gatherings on first day of the week for purpose of breaking bread and hearing a message — Acts 20:7


Main article: New Testament Instructions for Individuals

  • Continue in the apostle’s teaching (a prime fruit of the Spirit) and fellowship (“having all things in common” and breaking similar communion with the world), breaking of bread (an expression of fellowship) and prayers (constant dependence on God with unwavering faith/belief) — Acts 2:42
  • Eating meals together — Acts 2:46
  • Donating to remote churches — Acts 11:29-30
  • Imitate [Paul, Silvanus, Timothy] as well as the Lord — 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 ** branch this off into traits of paul and timothy and jesus

Necessary Inferences




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God calls us to be reflections of himself. It is our job to show the world why it’s a better life, and a vibrant one.