20 October 2023

From a small church into the heart of the tabernacle via YouTube. There are many ways to explore and discover the Bible. This week we look at how congregations, districts, and Regional Churches, learn about the Bible together.

Bible study in a small circle

A group of young people from the Arcadia district in South Africa got together on Monday, 18 September to talk about the Bible. Shepherd Peter La Bercensie had chosen a passage from Matthew 22: 11–22. The young people discussed the royal robe and were eager and had many questions about the topic, one in particular being about forgiveness and how it can be achieved. The shepherd also encouraged the youth to be mindful of their peace.

The internet widens the circle

Every month, the New Apostolic Church USA features a YouTube video on the Bible texts and sermon themes that will be used in divine services that month. The current video introduces the theme of the month of October with a few words from 1 Timothy 4: 6–8 (ESV): “...be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed ... train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” The October theme is “Practising our faith”. “Practice, commitment, and discipline are necessary to be a good servant of Christ,” it says in the video. The video lists six areas of religious practice which have been and still are being addressed in the October divine services. The video ends with an appeal from Philippians 4: 9 to take action: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practise these things.”

Help in understanding the Bible

The ministers of the districts of Wil, Sankt Gallen, and Graubuenden in Switzerland took an even more fundamental approach at the end of August. Their meeting in the church in Herisau had the motto “Sanctification and vocation”. One of the keys to sanctification is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is mentioned in Galatians 5: 22–23, explained Apostle Matthias Pfützner. And how can we produce this fruit? By applying the words from John 15: 5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” The important thing therefore is to maintain our connection with Jesus.

Priest Ralph Löwy from Vienna, Austria, gave pointers on how to lead a Bible study group. This kind of exchange is a way to generate sanctification in the congregations and districts. He showed the 70 or so people present how to structure such a session and make a Bible text accessible. The Priest encouraged the ministers to set up this form of Bible study in their congregations.

Touring a biblical replica

The religious instruction students of the Dresden district in Germany literally immersed themselves in the Bible. As part of a special course, they met in a warehouse on 2 September where the individual parts of a tabernacle are stored. Young people from the area had spent more than 3,500 hours rebuilding a tabernacle for the European Youth Convention 2009. Since then, many have been able to see the replica at various events. And now the religious instruction students discovered the building from the Bible. They marked out the court, the corners of the tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies and saw for themselves the dimensions of the tabernacle: the corner posts of the tabernacle stand five metres high and the forecourt alone measures 25 by 50 metres. Two of the young people involved in the construction told the children some interesting details. After lunch, the children looked at pictures and watched videos of the construction of the tabernacle.