January 13, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
***C H O F Ministry Bible Study Reading:
*C H O F Ministry Focal Verse:
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
The literal translation of the phrase "Scripture alone" is "Sola Scriptura." This was a central tenet of the Protestant Reformation that set the stage for its development which began in the 16th century. The Protestant Reformers were of the opinion that the teachings of the church had been given too much weight in comparison to the Bible. In other words, they felt that the teachings of the church's tradition had been placed on an equal level with the Word of God. Instead, bible teaching should take precedence over church authority.
Similarly, the Scriptures were to be the foundation of Israelite society. Following the Torah (or the Pentateuch, that is, the first five books of the Bible) was one of the distinguishing factors for the Israelites as God’s chosen people (Ex. 19:6). They were to decide to obey God's Law both as individuals and as a community and commit to doing so. They would discover how to do it jointly as a community.
One of the essential rituals consisted of reciting the law out loud in public (Deut. 31:11), supplemented with explicatory teaching provided by the priests and Levites. As a sign of God's presence among Israel, an official copy of the Torah was also inserted into the Ark of the Covenant (v. 9).
Every seven years, during the Feast of Tabernacles, a harvest holiday held in September or October that also celebrates the Exodus, these readings were to be held publicly (v. 10). In that year, debts were to be forgiven as a pragmatic step to curb poverty (Deut. 15:7–11). Men, women, and children of all ages, as well as permanent foreign citizens, were to take part (Deut. 31:12). A key element was passing on the Word of God to the next generation; it was vital to have the kids participate (v. 13); to “learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law” (v. 12).
Beloved, the same holds true for us today. It's crucial for us to grow as individuals and as a community, specifically the churches and ministries. (Heb. 10:24–25)! The teachings of the Bible should serve as the focal point of our worship.
*Beloved, is the teaching of God's Word the primary focus of your congregation or ministry? Are you assisting the next generation in respecting God's Word? Are you a living example of God's Word? It's our job to instill in the next generation the teachings of God and reverence for the Word of God in their lives. Perhaps God is directing you to the children's or youth ministry at your church. (Let God’s will be done).
Let Us Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, bless the reading of Your Word in our homes, churches, and ministries so that we may pay attention and learn to revere You, Lord our God, and carefully follow all of Your words (Deut. 31:12). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.