Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (1 Timothy 4:13, New International Version)
Theme: The Local Church
We will be doing something different this year as we consider each of the Disciplines. We will use the first day of review for each Discipline to ask questions about how that Discipline is practiced in your local church or a local church you are considering. As a practical matter, we associate with local churches for a variety of reasons including tradition, relationships, and convenience. However, we know that the primary reasons should be based on biblical directives. The questions are meant to sharpen our focus on biblical considerations. Please note that you will not be expected to share your answers to the questions.
After the first day review of a Discipline, we will revert to the historical format of considering thoughts from a selected passage of Scripture. If this sounds a bit confusing don’t worry it will become clearer as we proceed.
Today we start our review of the Discipline of Bible Study. Before considering some questions about your local church’s approach to Bible Study, this quote from a noted theologian, Thomas Oden in his book Systematic Theology, emphasizes the importance of the Bible to the church and the church to the Bible: “The Bible is the church’s book, lodged within the church for safekeeping and to provide continuing inspiration and instruction… It is the church (not the university) that has for centuries kept it, translated it, studied it, meditated upon it, and repeatedly looked to it for guidance.”
- Does your local church consistently include Bible reading as an integral part of its worship service?
- Does your local church consistently have group Bible studies (e.g., small groups, weekly services, and Sunday School programs) and promote personal Bible study?
- Does your local church have a stated position on the authority of the Bible (e.g., views on inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility)?
- Are the leaders of your local church fully committed to Bible study?
Optional Secondary Questions (if you have the time):
- Does your local church provide instruction on appropriate approaches to interpreting the Bible?
- Does your local church provide guidance on appropriate English translations of the Bible (e.g., explanation of different approaches to Bible translations and preferred versions of translation)?
While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you. Based on your answers to the questions, what are your thoughts about the priority of Bible Study in local churches?