Chris' Corner -- Sunday, July 18, 2021
Bible classes of the local church are invaluable. They provide instruction outside our personal and private Bible reading and study. The design of Bible classes provides instruction to help Christians grow. But we will not grow if we do not take advantage of these classes. Until we recognize them as something important, we will not be attending. What member would say they don't need Bible study because they know all the things taught in those classes?
Studying God's word produces faith and growth. This principle first relates to the salvation of sinners, then individual Christian growth, and finally congregational development.
Bible study is essential in the growth process of new Christians. But take notice of the comparison Peter makes to the rest of us in 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." To grow spiritually, Christians must have a balanced diet of God's word and a strong desire to get it (Matthew 5:6).
Paul was critical of Christians who had not grown and developed as they should. "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12–14).
Bible study helps us to walk faithfully through life. John tells us that we must remain faithful to God and His word until we die (Revelation 2:10). We cannot accomplish this unless we spend the rest of our lives reading and studying His teachings (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17). Peter warns of the possibility of falling away from God, but he also provides the remedy to guard against such a thing. "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:17–18).
Congregational development is directly related to Bible study. Paul told the Ephesians, "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (4:15-16).
God wants each member of the body to grow in Christ and contribute what they can supply. The result will be the body (local congregation) increasing and edifying itself in love. How much we love our soul and the local church will be demonstrated in how involved we are in growing "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."