What is a Direct Command? What Makes Them Binding?
Mickey Hukill

Direct command is to give instruction in an authoritative manner.[1] All men are amenable to God and His Son Jesus Christ and should place themselves in complete subjection to His divine instructions. God, through the Scriptures has given man everything that is needed for us to obey and please Him. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). His word is our instruction booklet that we must obey, either in principle, or through direct commands. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The focus of this study will be upon the direct statements (commands).

It must be noted however, that there are no statements directly given specifically to individuals today. For instance, there are no statements which state “Mickey Hukill must obey…” It should also be noted that not all commands of the Bible are to be obeyed by men today. For instance, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). This command not only is not expected to be obeyed today, but would be impossible for man to obey. Other similar commands such as animal sacrifice and other forms of worship under the Law of Moses are not to be followed, for the Mosaic Law is no longer binding, it was “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).

Before we can decide if the direct command is binding, we must first determine from the immediate and remote context, that is, taking the statement itself, with its grammar, word meanings, etc. and compare with the context immediately before and after. We must then look at how it fits into the context of the entire Bible. For instance, Paul told the Corinthians, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). This was obviously a command, however we cannot obey this today because spiritual gifts no longer exist. Paul states concerning gifts, “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Therefore, we know that we cannot obey this command. Are there any commands then that are binding on men today? Notice what Thomas B. Warren, states concerning the obligatory nature of Mark 16:15.

The verse reads “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. In this passage the word “go” is a translation of an aorist participle in the indicative, not the imperative, mood and has the basic significance of “having gone”. The word “preach” is the word that commands. Thus, the passage might have been translated “Having gone into all of the world, preach the gospel”. Looking to another passage “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).[2]

The remote context of this is found in Mark 16:15. It is therefore within our reason to conclude that we must “Go into all of the world and preach the gospel”. Some have said, "It is only the apostles that were commanded to go preach”. However, upon further investigation, we see that all of them that were scattered from Jerusalem went everywhere spreading the word. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

Since we are still required to spread the gospel, we must also conclude that we are also amenable to the gospel. When Peter was asked “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter responded to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Peter is saying that “all” must repent, and “everyone” of you must be baptized, “for” the remission of sins. Repent as stated in this verse is metanohasate[3], which is 2nd person plural, aorist, active, imperative, telling all who hear him that they must change their mind concerning the sin that they were just convicted of. Peter then commands them individually to be immersed, that is, to be baptized, baptisqhtw[4], which is 3rd person singular, aorist, and passive, imperative. This action was for the purpose of the remission of sins as we see from the preposition “for”. From eiV[5] this simply means, “in order to, for, with a view to”[6]. Therefore, it is a requirement unto salvation. The Scriptures are very clear concerning this in other areas as well as all who refuse to obey the gospel, will not be saved. For the Lord will return with His mighty angels, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

God desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). However, He will not change His nature or His plan of Salvation for anyone. It is only through obedience to His gospel can man expect to be saved “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9).

[1] When is an example binding, Thomas B. Warren, PH.D, National Christian Press, Pg. 48
[2] When is an example binding, Thomas B. Warren, PH.D, National Christian Press, Pg. 56
[3] The New Analytical Greek Lexicon Wesley J. Perschbacher, Hendrickson Publishers, Pg. 273
[4] The New Analytical Greek Lexicon Wesley J. Perschbacher, Hendrickson Publishers, Pg. 66
[5] The New Analytical Greek Lexicon Wesley J. Perschbacher, Hendrickson Publishers, Pg. 120, 121
[6] Ibid

Please e-mail me (Mickey Hukill) if you have any questions: mickhukill@earthlink.net

©2001 This paper may be freely distributed as long as there is no cost to others and no changes to the content of any material in this paper.

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