Most church-goers agree that learning about the Bible and Christian doctrine is an important part of church. The early believers thought so too, for we learn that they "devoted themselves to the Apostles' Teaching." What is the apostles' teaching, and how does it relate to how we learn about God today?
Learning from the Master
The apostles learned directly from Jesus, and in the early church, they passed on what they learned to the new believers. They not only followed in Christ's example as teachers of the Old Testament, they also served as eye-witnesses of Jesus's own teachings and miracles and His resurrection. The apostles' teaching boils down to three main things: 1) Who Jesus is as the Messiah and Savior who rose from the dead; 2) What we must do to have salvation in Christ by believing and proclaiming Him as Lord; and 3) How we ought to live out our faith as we love one another and endure under persecution.
Today, it's easier than ever to learn about the apostles' teachings. In a literate society, with several Bible translations available on every mobile device and access to all kinds of commentaries and instruction, do we really still need to come together as a church to learn? The short answer is: yes! The apostles' teaching, both then and now, brings believers together on the same page, so that we can agree on orthodoxy. When we gather together to learn about God and the Bible, we can hold one another accountable to sound doctrine, so that we can maintain unity in the essentials of the Christian faith. On our own, we may come to the Bible looking for loopholes to justify our own behavior or misguided interpretations. Together, we can come to a consensus around the truth.
Loving by Learning
There's one more important reason we should devote ourselves to learning together: learning together is another way we carry out the great command to love God and each other. When we gather as believers to learn rather than doing it on our own, we show our love for one another. We can help lift one another when we fall, and gently correct those in error (and be corrected ourselves). Then, we can bring God's love to the world together. Jesus sent His disciples out in teams to share the gospel, and we, too, are not alone in bringing the good news to the world.
Listen to the sermon series so far here.