- It is never commanded
- Christians need to be taught the Bible
And #3: The Christian life is never meant to be mainly “personal”
This could get “personal” for some of you. But I hope it is biblical. Before anything else let me be clear: the only way anyone becomes a Christian is by personally responding to the gospel with repentance and faith. Our relationship with God is a personal relationship through Christ. No doubt.
But then what does the Christian life look like after entering into a personal relationship? Consider the following:
Acts 2.42, after 3000 personally responded to the gospel: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Acts 4.32: “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul.”
Acts 20.20, 31: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house...remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.”
Romans 15.14: “you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.”
Ephesians 4.15-16: “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Hopefully that gives you a taste of the corporate nature of the Christian life. And I would challenge anyone to find the kind of emphasis on personal Christian walk in the Bible that would all of a sudden make personal devotions such a trademark of spirituality. Some implications:
- We have all probably been too quick to make personal, individualistic applications of passages, rather than corporate, local church applications. It does not need to be either/or, but I suspect for many it has only been the former instead of the latter.
- Personal quiet time is not more spiritual than family quiet time or married couple quiet time or church quiet time
- There is no better way to be of one heart and one soul with your church than to regularly read the bible and pray together.
- If anything, there is much more emphasis on the corporate nature of the Christian life than the individual nature in the Bible. Therefore, there may be greater humility and accuracy in seeking to grow as a member of your church rather than just abstractly as a Christian. In other words, “Jesus loves me” probably should be replaced more often than not with “Jesus loves us.” Too much “Jesus loves me” apart from the church really starts to become a man-centered gospel after a while.
So with that, keep reading your bibles as much as you can!