Footnote 14 – Henry A. Virkler and Karelynne Gerber Ayayo, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), pp. 195, 197.
“The story of Nadab and Abihu is interesting both because of its brevity and because and because of the sternness and uniqueness of the judgment on them… God had carefully shown the way by which the Israelites might atone for their sins and maintain a right relationship with himself. The distinctions between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, had been clearly demonstrated by God to Aaron and his sons, who had been instructed to teach these things to the people. Nadab and Abihu, in an act of self-will, had substituted their own form of worship, obscuring the distinction between the holy (God’s commands) and the common (man’s self-initiated religious actions). These actions, had they not been quickly rebuked, might easily have led to the assimilation of personal pagan practices in the worship of God.
“A second lesson is found in the fact that reconciliation with God depends on the grace of God, not on man’s self-willed and self-initiated practices. The means of reconciliation and atonement had been given by God. Nadab and Abihu attempted to add something to God’s means of reconciliation. As such they stand as an example to all people and all religions that substitute their own actions for God’s grace as the means of reconciliation and salvation.”