A Shared Theology. A Needed Exhortation

From time to time I come across an article that resonates with my fundamental view that the Bible is central to the life of the church.  It is power.  It is transforming.  It is life.  It is hope.  The Bible is the Word of God.

Like David in Psalm we believe, “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.  If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.  I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts.  The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.  I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.  Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.  Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. (Psa 119:89-99 ESV)

Christianity Today and Mark Galli

In the October 2015 issue of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, editor of the magazine, wrote an absolutely needed church-wide exhortation.  (See The New Battle for the Bible: It’s time to return to Scripture as our final authority)  He observed about today’s church “The Bible often takes a backseat even for evangelicals, who have long held a high view of Scripture.”

Mr. Galli considers pro-abortion, prosperity gospel and same-sex relationships as examples “of the doctrinal challenge before us.”  Instead, he exhorts us to return to the Bible as the Word of God.  “Whatever serious false teaching we are facing, the Bible is uncomfortably clear: When false teachers persist in their views, they will be subject to divine judgment.”

“We Need A shift in How We Teach the Bible”

Mark Galli calls the church to “Spend more time teaching the Bible as first and foremost the revelation of God.”  This is music to my ears.  This is where Village Schools of the Bible lives.

He continues, “We understand the temptation to talk about the Bible mostly in terms of ‘what it means to me’ and its ‘practical application to daily life.’  But when this hermeneutic dominates–as it does today–Christianity becomes little more than self-help therapy.  And it leaves people ignorant of Scripture’s deeper meaning, and therefore unable to spot false teaching.”  Can I hear an “Amen!”

The Need Today is the Word of God!

I am convinced that every revival in the history of the church is a revival of God’s Word in the life of God’s people.  When the Word of God is preached, there is a spiritual uptick in the church.  There is a moral reclamation of a degenerate secular culture.  A people and a nation prosper where the Word of God (the whole counsel of God) is proclaimed.

I encourage our readers to read Mark Galli’s article in its entirety.  You will rejoice in this voice crying out in the wilderness.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/october/why-we-need-new-battle-for-bible.html

A Shared Theology. A Needed Exhortation

What Students are Saying about Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey

Our fall discipleship classes begin soon.  I want to tempt you to consider joining this amazing journey through God’s Word.  It will change your life.  Read what our students are saying about Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey.

Teaching

  • The teacher’s love and passion for Scripture was so contagious. | The passion of the instructor. He loved God’s Word so much it was infectious | Good teachers, on fire for the Lord. | The encouragement we received from the instructor.

 The classes

  • How straightforward the class was. The material, expectations and goals for each class (as well as the course overall) were clearly stated and the course met every expectation.| The discussions were great because people asked all different questions. | The fellowship with other students. | This is a MEATY class. Busiest time of my life and it was so worth it. | I made friends for life!

 Value of writing papers

  • I liked having to do the essay papers. I was able to research and go deep into other sources to learn more about the book, the author and more of God’s will for His people.| Encountering God’s truth in a very personal manner. VSB’s requirement to write papers is the best approach for this type of class. | The 5-10-page homework write-up where I had to pray and seek the Holy Spirit for guidance and then dig deep into Scripture to uncover details I’d not known before. It was the best journey of a lifetime. | The benefit of the papers…In no other Bible study have I had to really work through my own thoughts on Scripture. That’s what stayed with me and what I treasured most.
  • Engaging with the Word directly with confidence that God would speak through it changed my life. | I wondered if could handle the time commitment of writing a paper each week and the intensive study, and found it was compelling and never anything I wanted to avoid. | One of the most important features was the assignments…the permanent lessons for life and for sharing our testimonies with others. I have attended Bible survey classes before and didn’t think I really needed to enroll, but I will be grateful for the rest of my life that I did! | Writing the papers made me really think about application to my life.| Researching and writing the papers along with the VSB feedback, the camaraderie of the class, the good teaching…| My life stopped for 9 months!  No newspaper, no TV, just God’s Word. It was wonderful! I loved the every-week assignment and feedback! Life-changing! | The discipline of reading, contemplating and writing about each book of the Bible in a compact period of time.  Highlighted the integral nature of Scripture for me, which I had never grasped before taking the course. | The results of the discipline it took to following through with this study. Worth every bit of time and effort. | Studying Scripture and writing a paper prior to the lecture, digging into the reading and gaining a deeper understanding. The focused study of the Word gave me something that no other study has given me: an understanding the arc of the story! AMEN!

Appreciation for the Bible

  • The joy of being in the Word | The Bible is absolutely true. I don’t think anyone can read and study it in this way and not see that. | A significantly greater understanding of and appreciation for God’s Word | A greater passion for God’s Word | How the Old and New Testaments fir together | Having an appreciation and real love of the Bible, knowing what it says about me and everyone for how we are loved. | Much more respect and awe for the Scripture. There were many times I fought passages of the Bible and doubted their truth, then after further study I had to agree that the problem was with me, not with the Bible. I became certain the Bible is inspired by God. The course has kept me reading the Bible regularly as part of my spiritual life. | How amazingly wonderful the Scriptures are. An incredible experience, so meaningful and life-changing. It was the first time I saw the Bible as one book, one story, all pointing to Jesus Christ. | Stitched all the meanings, time-lines, important events together for me. Prior, I had a lot of pieces of the Bible, but had little knowledge of how it fit together. | The amazing thread of Christ that runs from beginning to end. | The progressive revelation of the gospel in the books of the Old Testament. | Learning how to connect the Old and New Testaments in ways I had not discovered before | Reading the entire Bible – learning how it all flows together | It created a hunger within me to search the Scriptures even more. | Studying obscure passages of the Bible that aren’t often preached on or taught in Sunday School, and seeing how every part of God’s Word is important to the whole. | Amazed at how God orchestrated the writing of His Word. My faith just grew when I saw how the plan to save us began in the Garden, and that God continued to bring about His plan of salvation at just the right time of history, and that wasn’t the end.

 Relationship with God

  • Knowing God better. | Personal transformation through encountering God’s truth in a deep way. | How well the Scripture complements itself and interweaves proving that it is truly from God. | How much God loves me | Feeling loved by my Savior | Intimacy with the Father and the Word! | That the quality of my relationship with God is directly related to the amount of time I spend in the Word. | Experiencing God in my life through spending time int he WORD! | My life has built on this class that I took years ago. This class has propelled me onto a greater experience with God. | Made my relationship with Christ stronger… I am better able to give an answer for my joy.

Personal Impact – spiritual growth

  • Widened my knowledge of expository preaching and the importance of using hermeneutics to fully understand what God said, and how it is to be applied in my daily life. | Better habits of reading the Bible and thinking about God’s Word almost constantly. | The Scarlet Thread of redemption running from Genesis to Revelation…The first time this was presented to me and it makes such an impact | Opened the floodgates of enormous blessings from a comprehensive study. So many layers of wisdom brought to light and exciting to see how the entirety of God’s Word fits together so perfectly.

 Discipling Impact

  • Great opportunity to discuss with spouse and grow in relationship with Jesus. | Equipped me to pass this along to family, kids, friends. | Much better ability to advise and counsel others.

 Outreach Impact

  • I know what I believe and why — was a conversation starter at work. | I feel more confident about sharing the Word. | Gave me more understanding of the Scriptures and more ability to share it with others. | I love digging the Word into my life. I love sharing the things I discover with people in my family, workplace and church, to encourage and uplift them. | Increased my faith and confidence in what I believe, which increases my desire to share. | Helped me immensely in building relationships with those who know the Lord and those who don’t. | It gave me confidence of the Holy Spirit in my life. It gives me a much better understanding to discuss Christian topics with believers and unbelievers, where I can base my discussion on authoritative Word and not just logical discussions.

 Leadership Impact

  • Used what I have learned in an adult Bible Study class that I am leading. | After taking the course I was able to step into a Bible study as a facilitator, and have continued in that role in different groups and Bible studies ever since.| It was part of my training to become an ordained minister / jail chaplain. | The course equipped me very well for further Biblical studies and for conveying my understanding of Biblical concepts in other ways, such as writing devotionals & leading small groups.

 Overall

  • People really need to realize how little they know about God, how much they need Jesus, and how to have the Holy Spirit help them grow with discernment and maturity in the Lord. | How could one pick a “best”? My experience was great “Thank you for teaching me the Bible this past year.  It is an experience I will never forget.”  Patrick Reckinger

For class schedule please check our website.

http://www.villageschoolsofthebible.org/class-schedule-winter-spring-2015/

We look forward to seeing you at one of our campuses this fall.

Pastor Warren Coe

What Students are Saying about Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey