The word "supposition" is defined by Webster as "That which is supposed; a theory or surmise". It carries the idea of an opinion or a conjecture or an assumption. When Jesus was twelve years old He was lost from His parents because of a supposition. Joseph and Mary had attended the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem and were returning home, but the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem, and Joseph and Mary knew it not. "But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and aquaintance". (Lk. 2:14) After three days they found Him in the temple in Jerusalem. They assumed that Jesus was in the company. Their honesty and sincerity did not prove their supposition. Jesus was lost from them! No doubt, many children have been lost from their parents because the parents supposed that they were at a certain place.
Mark records the fact that one one occasion that Jesus walked upon the sea while His disciples were rowing in a ship. Mark 6:49,50 says, "But when they saw Him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw Him and were troubled..." Why were the disciples troubled? It was because "they supposed it had been a spirit" which they saw. Their conjecture was not based upon facts. It was a mere opinion. It was wrong!
In Acts 14:19 we are told that certain Jews came from Antioch and Iconium to Lystra, "who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead". Although Paul was stoned, he was still alive. Their supposition did not prove Paul dead. Their opinion was wrong!
Paul and Silas were put in prison in Philippi. An earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. The doors of the prison were opened and every one's bands were loosed. "And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here" (Acts 16:27,28). The record goes on to tell us that the jailor and his house obeyed the Lord's will and were saved. This man was about to kill himself because of a supposition. He assumed that the prisoners had fled because he saw the prison doors were open. This may have been circumstantial evidence, but it did not prove the jailor's conjecture. His opinion was wrong!
In every realm of life, there are many suppositions. We should never risk the salvation of our souls on an assumption or opinion.
1. SOME SUPPOSE THAT "ONE FAITH IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER FAITH."
However, there is no evidence to prove this theory. The number of people, although many, who hold to a theory doesn't prove it to be right. Paul said in Eph. 4:5 that there is "one faith". Acts 6:7 says "...and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith". We should strive together for "the faith of the gospel." It is possible to deny and depart from "the faith" (See 1 Tim. 5:8; and 4:1). We are exhorted to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3). From these passages we can certainly see that the above supposition is false. Which will yu accept? An opinion or the truth?
2. SOME SUPPOSE THAT "THERE IS NOTHING IN A NAME."
This supposition is also without any proof. Names are used to identify, qualify or describe persons, places and things. This is true in every phase of life. There is no exception when it comes to spiritual matters. The angel said unto Joseph, "...and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins". (Matt. 1:21). Peter tells us that salvation is in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:26). Peter said, "But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: but let him glorify God in this name" (1 Pet. 4: 16 ASV). Which will you accept? A supposition or the truth?
3. SOME SUPPOSE THAT "WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH ONLY".
The Discipline of the Methodist Church says on page 27, Article 9, "Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort". This is a mere supposition. The Word of God teaches that we are justified by faith, (Rom. 5:1), but there is no passage in all of God's Book that teaches we are justified by faith only. The only time we find the expression "by faith only" in God's Word is in Jas. 2;24, and that time there is a NOT in front of it. Listen to James: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only". In order to be saved by faith, we must obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thes. 1:7-9).
4. SOME SUPPOSE THAT "IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW WE WORSHIP GOD".
I have heard many people say that it doesn't matter how we worship God if we are honest and sincere. They think we have the right to worship as we please. This is merely their opinion. Jesus said in Jno. 4:24 that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth". This will settle the matter with those who are believers of God's word. We should study in order to learn how we ought to worship God. There are two things that we are commanded to do upon the first day of the week. We are to "break bread" and "give" or our means. (See Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor. 16:2). We are commanded to sing, pray and teach also, but we may do these things at other times as well as upon the first day of the week. (See Col. 3: 16; Eph. 5:19; Acts 2:42). Which will you accept? A supposition or the truth?
5. SOME SUPPOSE THAT GOD AUTHORIZES CHURCHES TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN MISSIONARY AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES SUCH AS THE GOSPEL PRESS AND CHILDHAVEN, INC.
This, too, is a baseless supposition or opinion that is without Scriptural proof. These things have caused a lot of strife and division among God's children. Many brethren do not try to give Scriptural authority for such, but say, "It is a matter of opinion". Really, it is merely an opinion that is not authorized by God. These things are additions to the Word of God! If such are authorized in God's Book, I challenge someone (anyone anywhere) to cite the passage or passages in which the authority is found! Of course, the New Testament teaches that THE CHURCH is to preach the gospel and relieve those for whom it is responsible. (See 1 Tim. 3:14,15; 1 Thes. 1:8; 1 Tim. 5:16). The local congregation is the organization through which God's people are to work in an organized capacity to accomplish the work of the church. (See Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:1-3; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Thes. 1;8).
Are the Scriptures sufficient to guide us? Suppositions have cause many problems to arise in the church. Which will you accept? An assumption or the truth?
6. SOME SUPPOSE THAT FAITHFULNESS TO THE LORD IS NOT REQUIRED.
This theory is preached more by actions than by words. Many members of Christ's body are not faithful in worship and service to God and in living a consecrated life. 1 Cor. 4;2 says, "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." Jesus said, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life". (Rev. 2:10). Are you faithful? If not, you have no hope beyond the grave! Repent today!
All of us should be impressed with the folly of suppositions. Do not assume that God is pleased with a particular thing, but give diligence to learn God's will, and then obey it! It will be to no avail in the day of judgment to say, "but I thought..."
By Carrol R. Sutton in The Instructor, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1964.
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /