A stillness or absence of noise, often associated with the absence of life or people, but also associated with a sense of expectancy or reverence, especially in the presence of God. Scripture stresses that God is not silent, but has spoken his word to his creation. The silence of Jesus Christ before his accusers is seen as the fulfilment of OT prophecy.
The silence of God
His apparent silence in the face of sin Ps 50:21 See also Job 34:29; Isa 42:14; Isa 57:11
God will not remain silent in the face of sin Ps 50:3 See also Isa 62:1; Isa 65:6-7
Prayers that God will not be silent Ps 28:1 See also Ps 35:22; Ps 39:12; Ps 83:1; Ps 109:1; Isa 64:12; Hab 1:13
God silences those who oppose him
1Sa 2:9 See also Ps 8:2; Ps 63:11; Ps 107:42; Isa 25:5; Isa 47:5; Jer 47:5; Jer 48:2; Jer 51:55 Jesus Christ’s opponents were silenced by his miracles and wisdom: Mt 22:34; Mk 3:4; Lk 20:26
Ac 4:14; Ro 3:19
The silence of Jesus Christ
It was foretold in the OT Isa 53:7 See also Ac 8:32
Its fulfilment in the NT Mt 26:63 pp Mk 14:61 before the Sanhedrin; Mt 27:14 pp Mk 15:4-5 pp Jn 19:9 before Pilate; Lk 23:9 before Herod
Jesus Christ commands silence as a sign of his authority
Mk 1:25-26 pp Lk 4:35 Jesus Christ silenced evil spirits; Mk 4:39 Jesus Christ silenced the storm.
There are times when it is appropriate for God’s people to be silent
The silence of expecting God to act Jos 6:10 See also Ge 24:21; Ex 14:14-15; 2Ki 2:3,5; Rev 8:1
The silence anticipating the wisdom of another person Job 29:7-10,21
The silence of prudence Pr 10:19; Ecc 3:7 See also 1Sa 10:27; Job 13:5; Job 33:31-33; Pr 11:12; Pr 17:28
The silence of suffering La 3:28 See also Ps 39:9
The silence of shame Eze 16:63
The silence of anger Ps 4:4 The psalmist is warning against hasty action when angry.
The silence of amazement at God’s actions See also Lk 9:36; Ac 15:12
A tongues-speaker should be silent if no interpreter is present 1Co 14:28 silence in the church; 1Co 14:30 A prophet should be silent if another receives a revelation.
Christian women are sometimes exorted to be silent 1Ti 2:11-12 See also 1Co 14:34-35; 1Pe 3:1-4
There are times when it is inappropriate for God’s people to be silent
When there is good news to tell 2Ki 7:9; Ps 40:9
When much depends upon a person’s words Est 4:14 See also Jer 4:19; Jer 20:9; Ac 18:9-10
When God should be praised Ps 30:11-12 See also Lk 19:37-40
When sin is unconfessed Ps 32:3
When God’s people feel they have a genuine complaint Ps 39:1-2 See also Job 7:11; Job 23:16-17
When prayer is urgently required Isa 62:6-7
God’s people are sometimes brought to silence
Job 31:34 Job fearing the crowd; Eze 3:26 Ezekiel as a judgment on Israel; Mk 9:34 the disciples when their pride was exposed; Lk 1:20 Zechariah because of his unbelief
Silencing the wicked
Believers pray that the wicked will be silenced Ps 31:17-18; 1Pe 2:23 See also Ps 143:12
Believers so live that the wicked may be silenced Tit 2:8; 1Pe 2:15
False teachers must be silenced
Tit 1:10-11 “the circumcision group” believed that in order to be saved it was necessary to be circumcised and keep the Jewish ceremonial law.
Death is compared to silence See also Ps 94:17
; Ps 115:17