In the 17th chapter of the book of Acts an interesting group is being introduced. They are called the Bereans. Here is what Luke tells us about them: "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11). Here was the great apostle of the Gentiles, preaching with great power, but his preaching was being examined by a group of people who daily read their Bibles.
A number of years ago an elderly lady who taught Sunday School for most of her life joined our church. She listened carefully to the sermon and participated in the Worship Service. During one of my visits to her house, she made the comment, "You are a good preacher. When I come home from church I read the basic passage and all your references and you are faithful to the Scriptures." Here was another Berean – she read her Bible daily to make sure that what is being preached from the pulpit reflected the truthfulness of the Scriptures.
As the church is being formed in the first century, we see that the members are encouraged to come and listen to the preaching and the teaching of the Scriptures. The teachers are encouraged to rightly divide the word of God, not to preach fables or things that are not related to the truth of God. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16)
In addition to the Worship Service or the Liturgy, many churches emphasize the studying of the Word of God. Many churches have Bible Study groups, Sunday School classes for adults and children and mentoring groups. Central Baptist Church is a small church, and during the week we have four small groups meeting together to study the Word of God or subjects related to the Word of God. These classes are taught by the Pastor or by other members from the church. Currently our four groups are: our Sunday School class for adults where we are studying the Ten Commandments; our Wednesday Morning Bible Study for men where we are studying the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians; our 10:00 Wednesday morning where we are studying a book entitled "Seeking Him – Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival" and our 7:30 PM Wednesday Bible study where we are studying the History of the Christian Church. About 60% of our congregation is involved in one of these groups, but my hope and prayer is that we will reach 100%. When God's people study the Word of God personally, when they meet together in groups to discuss it, when they are challenged through biblical sermons, they are able to withstand the false teachings that are presented to them in so many different ways.
I encourage you to start a Bible Study group in your church. Gather a group of people who want to please the Lord, who want to find out what God's Word is teaching us, and God will richly bless you for doing it.
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