I am a total history nerd as I am about to show you. For those of you who are not, I am sorry, but I challenge you to lean in for a second. I want to show you where real discipleship happens and how you might be missing a crucial piece.
Between 350-400 A.D. the New Testament get canonized (leaders of the church determine what gospel stories of Jesus and letters written by the early Apostles were God inspired). In 1440 the printing press was invented. However public education did not begin until the 1820. So for about 400 years there was not a Bible that church leaders agreed was God inspired. Then for 1440 years, the Bible would not make it into the hands of someone who was not a priest. Even then it was for only the wealthy who could afford one of these Bibles. However until the early 1800’s only the wealthy got an education to read the Bible if they could afford to own one. Also even if you could get someone to read you the Bible, for the first 1500 years it was written in two languages few people spoke. All of that to say, for the majority of the Church and life of the everyday believer the Bible has not been accessible.
Before I continue, I am by no means suggesting anything other than we are so privileged to have a been educated to read and the Bible is affordable and accessible. Because of this great blessing, you should read your Bible and feel so privileged. However, knowing the Bible was not available to believers for 1500 years, how did they grow in relationship with God.
- They gathered together in large groups for worship, preaching of the word, and fellowship with other believers.
- They gathered in smaller groups to have communion, share stories, and pray. Small groups were not something that started before Sunday School (If you do not know what Sunday School is, you are blessed. Imagine women who smell like formaldehyde recreating Bible stories on felt board, and yelling at you… maybe just my experience)
Point being… Though you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you were never intended to have a private relationship with Jesus. Life is better together! Most of what I have learned about the Bible, God, and living life Jesus way I did not learn in a prayer room alone or reading my Bible alone. I learned from other people. I learned from scholars and pastors for sure, but I have learned more through the stories of other believers who let me into their story to illustrate their weakness and God’s strength. I have learned if you let God into your weakness by sharing with other believers, God lets you into His strength. If you let God into your struggle by confessing to other believers, God will let you into His victory.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I pray you get into a group of believers who you let into your story! Life is Better Together!
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus