We are Feltham Evangelical Church. One of the key implications of being “evangelical” is that we are a Bible Church. As a Bible Church, we believe it is scripture which determines our message, arrangements and conduct. We could effectively (and happily) be renamed Feltham Bible Church. It is important to stress that it is the whole of the Bible which we take heed to in our lives and in our church. We are an “all the Bible “church! We are not a church that picks and chooses which parts of the Bible we want to follow.
Do we need to study all the Bible? Paul, when he was recalling his ministry among the Ephesians, said to the elders of that church that I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God (Acts 20:27). Paul was set on declaring all that was in the Word of God and so should we be. He knew that the Ephesians would only be healthily established in the Lord if the whole of the revelation of God in scripture was brought to them. No Scripture should be “out of bounds” for us. Rather, all Scripture should be believed, read, preached and obeyed. In view of this, if you observe anything in Scripture which is not being lived out in and by our church then you should approach the elders and question why we have such an omission.
What is the main message of the Bible? We have established, therefore, that it should be the full revelation of God which drives us. However, we have to study scripture properly. That means that we view each part of Scripture in the context of what is taught in the whole of scripture. Accordingly, it is critical that we understand what the main theme of the Bible is. The key theme of the Bible is how a people messed up by sin have been rescued by the salvation of Jesus Christ so that they might be for His glory. The focus of the Bible is on Jesus Christ.
When we study the Word of God knowing that the focus is on Jesus Christ, we will see that all of the Old Testament looked forward to His coming. This will shape how we view these scriptures. So we will see, for example, that the offerings and sacrifices in the Old Testament all anticipated the one offering and sacrifice of Christ. This means that the passages about the sacrificial system should be treasured and studied as they reveal so much of what our Lord Jesus was set to do.
We have to make it clear then that all Scripture should be rightly understood. Accordingly, every Christian should be like Timothy was urged to be a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15b). Every Christian should be a thinking Christian which means they should be pondering and meditating on scripture. And in doing so they will be making sure they understand where each scripture fits in with God’s revelation.
Does some Scripture become less important over time? The abiding character of all the Word of God is firmly laid before us when our Lord Jesus said that Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Luke 21:33). Further, He said in Matthew 5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
How much of Scripture is relevant for the Christian? To which we reply that all of it is relevant. As Paul’s says to Timothy All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). In view of this, we encourage all to read and study and understand all of scripture. Accordingly two happenings in the church in the New year are pertinent to mention here:
- The Feltham Journey (see Notes). This gives us opportunity to read through all the Bible.
- Preaching through Deuteronomy. We plan to start to journey through this part of Scripture in the new year confident that the study of it will yield much that is relevant for our lives.
Is Scripture complete? The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is important here. In Hebrews 1:1-2a we read In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. Our Lord Jesus is the full and final revelation of God. That should never be forgotten by the Christian. The New Testament completes this revelation. Thus we can reasonably say that Jesus Christ is anticipated in the Old Testament, described in the Gospels, proclaimed in Acts, analyzed in the epistles and glorified in Revelation. It is then fitting that the Bible finishes with Revelation which is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:2b). Pertinently, as the Bible concludes the warning comes that we should not add or take away from Scripture (see Rev. 22:19-20).
We move on, not just as people who pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to take heed to, but as “all the Bible” people who take heed to all Scripture.
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of January 2017)