Why Read Together?

So, if Scripture engagement is an encounter with God, and a Bible Cluster brings three or more people together to encounter God together in His Word by discussing His word and discovering, why is it so effective to do that together?

Certainly we can read the Bible by ourselves, and it’s going to be very powerful. God will speak to us. And certainly it doesn’t have to be a discussion. There can be a teacher at the table and the teacher could have the Bible open and discuss and teach the Word. They are all valid.

The Early Church

There is something about encountering God and engaging Scripture together that makes it effective. So, if we go back to the early church, and we see in Acts chapter 2, that they were devoting their time to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42), we find that the early church was in community. It wasn’t really this private mystic experience.

Now later on the monks would take off to the desert centuries later and they would try to have an engagement with God [by themselves], which has its place. But after a while the monks realized I can’t be a Christian by myself because if we are supposed to love one another, and if there’s no “one another” there, how can I do that? We are supposed to correct and encounter one another. It’s kind of like having bad breath. You don’t know that you have bad breath until there is another person.

Intended for Community

Christianity is intended to be lived out together. And that includes the reading of Scripture and the proclamation of Scripture. That’s why when Bible Clusters of groups of three or more get together and discuss the Scripture— the way we hold them at Charlotte Awake— we don’t put a teacher in that group. We put a facilitator in the group because the goal is not teaching at this time. The goal is to have God speak to the group. The goal is to allow the group to discover what God is saying together.

It’s a different dynamic. It’s a powerful dynamic, and it’s a dynamic that builds on the reality that the church builds itself up as the body— as each person does its work—builds itself up in love. And that requires us to engage Scripture together. There’s a certain dynamism to that. There is a certain amount of discovery that can happen with that.

So, yes we can read the Bible by ourselves and it’s powerful. But when we read the Bible together and talk about it together, there is an engagement there that has a different level of a dynamic to it.

 

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