Last year I read through the whole Bible for the first time and it was a powerful experience. This year, when I heard that my friend Don had put together a year-long Bible study plan for some guys in the baseball community to go through together, I jumped in.
Being a part of this group of guys, who long to get closer to the heart of Jesus, is such a blessing to me. Even though we’re spread all over the country, we communicate through texts and posts as we soak in the amazing, life-giving words of the Bible. It’s been life-changing.
By studying with other men, I find that my own understanding of the Gospel has been enriched deeply. My faith is being strengthened so much as we explore passages of Scripture, really searching for the meaning of the truths, both as individuals and as the body of Christ.
When we were going through the book of Mark, we were looking at the lifestyle of the Pharisees. The Pharisees loved rules, and they were adamant to make sure their rules became everyone else’s rules. But Jesus didn’t like that one bit.
As we dove deeper into this lesson, many questions came up. We realized the importance of reading God’s Word in the context of each Scripture passage because the Spirit never operates outside of what is written. For instance, the washing of hands is fine, but when the Pharisees required all hands to be rubbed together 52 times while washing (anything short of that would be a sin), that was not ok. Jesus clearly says that these are personal preferences, not truths.
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.’” —Isaiah 29:13
From this, our dialogue turned to the modern-day “rules” within the Church—such as what style of music we use. We talked about what were truly God’s truths and what were man-made rules; it was fascinating to hear questions being thrown out and answers returned, which were backed by strong Gospel truths. We decided that love always rules. If a “rule” is not in the Bible and it’s not harming our brothers and sisters, you are free to do it.
“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” —Romans 14:12-13
It was really refreshing to observe questions asked around issues that matter to each person in our group. Every member really wants to understand and obey God— it’s beautiful. Having a place where we can ask questions of men whom we trust, knowing that they will guide us in the truths of the Scripture, is wonderful. A big part of God’s design for how we are to mature in our faith as believers is doing this kind of thing in community.
Obedience to God is simply embracing the way that He calls us to live in Christ Jesus. By walking with other Christians, reading Scripture, and seeking what God’s truth means for us as Christ-followers, we receive an incredible gift. It doesn’t matter who knows more or how long each person has been a Christ-follower; what matters is that we are seeking God together.
Together, we are growing as Men of God.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” —1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Dave Dravecky is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Dave’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/davedravecky/
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