Sunday, April 02, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 3 of 11

This series covers the eleven paragraphs of our JPBC membership covenant. The third paragraph reads:

We will prayerfully and regularly study the Holy Bible both privately and together to discern the will of God for ourselves and for His church and to learn the eternal principles which undergird our life on Earth.

This section reminds us that we are to be a Scripture soaked and saturated people. We are to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. We are to be like the Bereans of Acts 17 who "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (v. 11).

The covenant reminds us that we are to read and study the Bible both privately and together. We are to take the Bible into our personal prayer closets to read and meditate over its pages. Part of our personal spiritual discipline by which we "exercise" ourselves unto godliness (1 Timothy 4:7) is the constant reading of Scripture.

We are also to study the Bible together. Private study of Scripture is never enough. We need to read the Bible with the church. God uses the pastors, teachers, and members of the church to teach us his Word. The corporate study of God’s Word in the church also holds us accountable for right understanding of Scripture and guards us from esoteric, indulgent, and erroneous interpretations. Corporate Bible study at JPBC takes place in worship, Sunday School, mid-week meetings, Men’s Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, and at various other times.

As this covenant makes clear, until and unless we are grounded in God’s Word we will not be familiar with the principles that are to govern our lives. This includes our personal lives, our family life, and our life as a church. May God give us a heart and a hunger for meditating on his word "day and night" (Psalm 1:2).

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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