The New Testament does not give many specific “do” and “don’ts” as in the Old Testament. There are many specific commands, but we must make the majority of our decisions using principles established in the word of God. We do not have a specific command: “Thou shalt not cheat on your federal income tax form.” Nevertheless, we do have the principles of honesty, fairness, and “paying taxes to whom taxes are due” in the scriptures. The Bible does not outline specifics on our apparel (how long, how tight or loose, etc.) but does command us to be modest, able to blush, not to incite others to lust, and wear clothing that reflects godliness, not worldliness. Through an honest application of these principles, we can determine what is proper attire.
Some will say, “But the Bible doesn’t say not to” when trying to defend something that may have no specific restriction but is against the very principles of Christianity. Does the defendant believe in a loophole that will allow his behavior to pass on the Day of Judgment? There are things that might be good that are forbidden in certain circumstances such as eating meat in 1 Corinthians 8:13. Eating meat offered to an idol is not wrong unless it would cause my brother to stumble.
As Christians, we must grow to maturity so we can use the word of God to make decisions in our lives. We must pursue or avoid some things based on general principles of godliness and holiness. The Bible does not tell us what specific movies to watch, books to read, music to listen to, or TV programs to watch. We are given principles that must guide our thoughts: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things,” Philippians 4:8.
Some may be frustrated since there are not many “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not’s” in the New Testament (note: The Old Testament had guiding principles as well: Matthew 22:34-40). However, God is trying to make us better people, not just individuals who can read a checklist and do what is commanded. God did not create us to check off a list of commands but to transform us into Christ-like creatures that want to be godly, holy, and useful for every good work. We must guide our mind by principles in addition to following specific commands.
You will find no particular book of the New Testament that lists all of these principles. The principles are spread throughout the Bible, are seen in the life of Christ, and are the very fabric from which the Christian life is made. By daily study and practice, we can learn the principles and the thought processes that must guide our daily decisions.