For the most part, everyone belonging to a Christian church wants to follow Jesus, His Word and live a life pleasing to God. If anything, most would claim to be at least attempting to follow Bible commands. However, different Christians and different churches will come to different conclusions on what commands are to be followed, which ones cultural, not for us, or even not understandable.
If you are reading this article, you might have never questioned a long standing belief or practice before, this is normal, most of us assume whatever group we belong to is correct and it is others who are wrong. This mindset is dangerous, we must be the type of people who humbly re-examine all beliefs and practices (even ones that might be over 1700 years old) in the light of Scripture.
I am sure some have wondered, “what is your goal with these articles?”, my goal is to get us to read and meditate upon the Word of God like the Bereans in Acts 17. We will tell others to open up their Bibles and read, but not ourselves, for we think we have it all figured out. We must ask questions and be asked questions.
Questions get us into the Bible, and only when we spend time in the Bible can we find truth . One writer said this “People who are happy with the status quo don’t see the need for questions, but when questions arise, we all need to look at the text more carefully. Sometimes the objections are valid; sometimes they are not” (gcs.edu).
This week ask yourself and the text questions (and not just easy ones!). Here are some questions get the wheels turning. Are we as a church following all the commands in the New Testament? Is our way of “obeying” the way Christ had in mind? How do we know what commands deal with a specific situation and which ones are universal? What commands are “cultural” and which ones are not? What “commands” are practical advice and which ones when disobeyed will cost us our soul?
In our Sunday AM auditorium class we are studying the book of 1st Timothy. In just that book alone there are several commands regarding women, widows, female servants, wives and more that require asking a lot of questions about culture, relevancy, occasion, background and purpose. Just considering a few of the overlooked “commands” we will realize we really don’t have everything as figured out as we think we do. In 2:9, women are told to not braid hair and wear gold (our ladies often do that), 2:11 says a woman must receive instruction with entire submissiveness (I’ve had smart Christian ladies argue with me in Bible studies before…many times they were right!), 5:9 says to only support widows over 60 years old (we’ve helped out widows much younger), 5:14 says that younger widows need to get married and have children (are they sinning if they don’t?). This is just a sampling of challenging commands in regards to women in 1st Timothy. There are also commands for sons, for elders, deacons and more. When you start to really dig in you will find you can’t just declare “We follow all the commands in the New Testament!”.
This article is not intended to discourage at all, in fact the more inconsistencies I see in my own understanding and application of Scripture have really motivated me to dig into the Bible and to really trust in God’s amazing grace to cover me during the many times I do not perfectly obey. It is ok to not have it all figured out…and maybe that is the point, none of us (and none of our churches) are perfect, and that is why we need Jesus who is!