Bible Society of South Africa

Persevere - 9 May 2024

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

42They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers.

Yesterday, we saw that the power that carried the church through the ages comes from God, but Acts tells us another very important story. The believers, in those days, did not sit back and wait for the church to start on its own. They devoted themselves to practising their faith. We learn of four things that were instrumental to the growth of the church. In the next few days, we are going to look at each of these four things separately.

The very first thing is indispensable to the well-being of the church. They spent their time learning from the apostles. For us, today, it would mean devoting ourselves to the teachings found in the Bible. This is not so easy in our contemporary world.

The idea of “post-modernism” is already old hat when we look at things like artificial intelligence, ChatGPT and even more radical thinking. However, let us use the idea for dearth of a better one. The new way of thinking is not to be satisfied with the idea that a question only has one correct answer. This way of thinking is also true when interpreting the Bible. What the pastor, priest or reverend says about the Bible might not be how I see it. This brings about the problem of people interpreting the Bible to suit their way of thinking.

We look at life and the world around us from a perspective that is influenced by many things. Where I was born and how I was raised, my family, my race, traditions, religion and many other influences shape the way I see the world. Our interpretation of the Bible is also greatly influenced by this perspective. The first believers devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles and did not try to give their own interpretations to the story. That was what kept the church on the right path. In his letters to the various churches, Paul often had to admonish them for straying from this path, as it would have been the early death of the fledgling church.

The church is certainly not always right in its interpretation of the Bible, as can be seen from the chequered history of the church. However, if we can still be united in teaching the world about the merciful grace of God, the love of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we will be on the same path of that very early church.

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to stay on the right path of your word. Amen

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