When you walk through the doors of EFC, a Covenant Church, one thing becomes strikingly clear: the Word of God isn't merely a sideline player in our spiritual journey. It's the cornerstone. Although we may sidestep labels like "inerrantists" or "infallibilists" because they come with their own layers of interpretation, our respect for Scripture is unwavering. We consider the Bible a living text, a conduit through which God communicates, educates, and metamorphoses us. It is not just about a set of rules or historical accounts; it is an ever-active force shaping our faith and actions. In this article, we delve into the nuanced yet purposeful ways we engage with the Bible at EFC.
Reading the Bible Faithfully: A Devotional Act, Not a Mere Exercise
The atmosphere changes when we open the pages of the Bible. This is not a mere gathering of words; it's a conversation with the Divine. Rooted in the pietistic traditions that lay the foundation of our church, we approach Scripture with reverence and humility. Reading the Bible is more than an intellectual endeavor; it's an act of devotion. We don't just skim through the text; we immerse ourselves in its messages, inviting God's Spirit to tutor and transform us. This method enriches not just our intellectual understanding but also nourishes our souls.
Reading the Bible Together: Community Over Individualism
An important tenet of our doctrine is that the Bible isn't designed to be a solitary read. A shared exploration of God's Word fosters an environment where collective wisdom, diverse life experiences, and various perspectives come together. This communal reading serves as a system of checks and balances, safeguarding against incorrect interpretations. It ensures that the text guides our communal life, rather than letting specific interpretations dominate the conversation. The aim is to foster a community centered on the Scripture, and in this shared endeavor, we find strength and wisdom.
Reading the Bible Rigorously: Delving Deep, Not Skimming the Surface
If you think understanding the Bible is straightforward, you might need to think again. Acts 17:11 encourages us to scrutinize the Scriptures, advocating both daily discipline and keen interest. This isn't about a casual glance; it's about earnest engagement. We dive deep into the historical contexts, attempt to understand the original languages, and cross-reference other parts of the Bible to gain a comprehensive understanding. Rigor doesn't dilute faith; instead, it enriches it, offering us a fuller, more nuanced view of God's Word.
Reading the Bible Charitably: Kindness as a Unifying Factor
First Corinthians 13:1-2 teaches us that knowledge without love is devoid of value. Within our congregation, we may have diverse opinions, but what unites us is an unshakeable commitment to the integrity and authority of the Bible. We read Scripture charitably, understanding that our interpretations should illuminate, not distort, the essence of the text. This perspective ensures that our discussions and debates remain rooted in kindness and respect, qualities we hold in high regard.
Reading the Bible Holistically: The Sum of Its Parts
If you've ever been frustrated by Scripture being taken out of context, you're not alone. A single verse can be powerful, but to truly grasp its meaning, we need to consider the Bible as a comprehensive narrative. This wholistic approach, guided by the principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture, gives us a more nuanced understanding. When we ask, "Where is it written?", we're not just looking for a solitary verse; we're seeking a broader context that contributes to our understanding of God's word as a unified entity.
Commitment to Grace and Transformation: A Dynamic Encounter
The Bible isn't a static entity. It's a dynamic force that scrutinizes us as much as we scrutinize it. It's not just a reservoir of information but a fountain of transformation. Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 12:2 emphasize that grace and transformation are the ultimate goals when engaging with Scripture. These aren't just abstract ideas; they are potent realities that manifest when we let the Word recalibrate our thoughts and attitudes.
At EFC, we don't merely place the Bible on a pedestal as an ancient artifact or a literary masterpiece. For us, Scripture is the bedrock of our faith and actions. James 1:22 summarizes this philosophy succinctly, urging us not just to be hearers but doers of the Word. The Bible isn't just ink on paper; it's the living voice of God that perpetually educates, guides, and converses with us. In short, the Word of God isn't just about what we read; it's about how it reads us, offering a continual process of spiritual enrichment and transformation.
If you want to learn more about the Covenant's view of scripture, you can see it here.