Tag Archives: Biblical Questions and Answers

Water Baptism

Please first read:
Attention, the following translation has been automatically translated. The text may therefore contain errors. It is a temporary rough translation.
But you are free to share the text for non-profit purposes!

Baptism in Water, Wassertaufe im See

Water baptism in a lake in nature

This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


Then there is a fourth point. This fourth step is water baptism. The submersion in the water. It symbolizes that you gave your life to Jesus and now everything has become new. That your old self was crucified, you died with him spiritually and then rose again with him! It represents death and resurrection.

Immersion is the correct baptism in water, and the first Christians did it that way too. Baby baptism or sprinkling with water, on the other hand, is not correct. Maybe you think: “I was baptized as a baby, that has to be enough.” No, please let yourself be baptized correctly and biblically with immersion in water. Just go and see if there are Christians who can baptize you.

In the following you will learn what water baptism is, why you need it and how you can be baptized.

“What is water baptism?”

But first, let’s look at what water baptism is not :

The difference between Spirit baptism and water baptism

The first topic of this 4 Steps on the Path of Discipleship series was Spirit Baptism. Therefore, in this part, we do not just call water baptism “baptism” to distinguish it from Spirit baptism. To briefly explain the difference: Spirit baptism (baptism in the Holy Spirit) is the endowment with the power of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism (immersion in water), on the other hand, is the confession before the physical and spiritual world for the decision for Jesus.

The difference between conversion and water baptism

Spirit baptism and water baptism are not necessary for salvation. You are only saved by your decision for Jesus. With water baptism you then express this decision.
Read more about this in another article on our website: “Is the Surrender Prayer Enough to Be Saved?” (in German)

Now for water baptism as we need it today

After His resurrection, Jesus commissioned the disciples (and thus us) to baptize those who would convert to Him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 28:19).

Water baptism is a symbolic act and a sign before the physical and spiritual world

Water baptism symbolically expresses that when you gave your life to Jesus, your old life died spiritually with Jesus on the cross and you received a completely new life from Him. Jesus bore your sins on the cross, but also your old sinful nature (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-17). Romans 6:3 (SLT) says:

“Or do you not know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death?”

Therefore, water baptism is done by immersion in water because it symbolizes death and resurrection.

Water baptism is a commitment to your new life with Jesus

You have been transferred from the dominion of darkness into the dominion of light, into the kingdom of God (cf. Colossians 1:13-14). You have become a king’s child of God. This change of rulership already happened when you converted to Jesus.
In water baptism you express that as a confession. After your conversion to Jesus, water baptism is also a confession before God and man that you have started a new life with Jesus.

“Why do I need water baptism?”

A short summary again:

 Why You Need Water Baptism

You need water baptism as a symbolic act that expresses as a sign before the physical and spiritual world that you died and rose again spiritually with Jesus at your conversion.

You need water baptism after your decision for Jesus as a confession before God and the other Christians that you have started a new life with Jesus.

“How can I be baptized?”

Now let’s look at how you can get baptized.
For the sake of clarity, in the following we usually only call it “baptized” for the Christian who is baptized and “baptist” for a Christian who baptizes.

“Do I have to ‘sanctify’ myself before I can be baptized?”

Just as the baptism of the Holy Spirit is given by grace, so it is with water baptism that your decision for Jesus alone is sufficient.
Because we all need the forgiveness of Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross. And we turned to Him because we recognized that we need Him. This is exactly what is meant by “repentance” when Peter said:

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; so you become the giftreceived of the Holy Spirit”
(cf. Acts 2:38 SLT)

“Repent” means to turn to God from the heart. This is an inner realization and heart alignment. This first penance was your conversion! This first penance is enough for God to save us and to dwell in us with His Holy Spirit. The first Christians were baptized immediately after this penance, their conversion. As you can see, people didn’t even wait until people were freed from certain sins, such as addictions. No, choosing Jesus was enough for them to be baptized.

This does not mean that you should continue to sin after conversion and water baptism. We can still sin if we choose to do so of our own free will. But that’s why we should let God change our old sinful actions, thoughts, etc. This can also be called “sanctification” (see Romans 6:19). Jesus Himself is our sanctification (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30-31). That means we are changed by Him. He changes us through the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). This happens in your fellowship with Him (in prayer, in worship, while reading the Bible, etc.), in which you get to know Him better and in which He rubs off on you, so to speak.

If you still sin, you can confess it to Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness. In 1 John 1:19 (SLT) it says:

“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So “repentance” is also a lifelong process in which you let Jesus change you from glory to glory in His presence (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18).

See also this article: “What does ‘repent’ mean?” (to come)  

We will come back to the subject of repentance later, at the end of this 4th step.

“Where can I be baptized?”

In the New Testament we can read how the first Christians were baptized in lakes and rivers. However, it is not the place itself that counts, only that the water is deep enough and suitable for baptism.
So it was with the water baptism of the eunuch, read in Acts 8:26-40. When Philip and the eunuch were discussing Jesus, it is said that they came “to a body of water.” And the eunuch said to Philip, “Behold, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (cf. Acts 8:36). And after Philip explained to him that baptism is only permissible if he believes in Jesus and the eunuch confessed Jesus, Philip then baptized him.

Here are a few other places where you can get baptized: In a bathing lake, in a public swimming pool, in an inflatable pool (e.g. in a paddling pool in the garden), in a bathtub, etc. Some churches also have a self-made baptismal font for immersion in Water.

“How often do I need to be baptized?”

Water baptism is a one-time event (see also Ephesians 4:4-6). We can read that the early Christians were baptized immediately after their decision to follow Jesus, but not that they were baptized more than once. But if you were baptized as a baby or had another baptism, then let yourself be properly baptized again with immersion.

“Can I baptize myself too?”

In the New Testament we read nothing of a Christian baptizing himself. Even Jesus was baptized by another, John the Baptist, as a model (cf. Matthew 3:13-17). So you can only be baptized in water by another Christian.

“Do I have to be officially baptized or is it enough if only the baptizer is present?”

It can be enough if only two Christians are present: the baptizer and the Christian who is baptized by him. An example of this is again Philip and the eunuch (see Acts 8:26-40). If God had wanted other witnesses to be present at water baptism, He could have told Philip. Philip could, for example, have invited the eunuch to join the other Christians. Instead, Philip was caught up to another place by the Holy Spirit immediately after he was baptized, and the eunuch joyfully went on his way alone (cf. Acts 8:39-40).

However, it can still be good if other Christians are present at your water baptism. Then you can share the joy with them.

“Who can baptize?”

In the New Testament we read nothing about the fact that only a Christian who has a certain leadership position (eg as a teacher, shepherd, etc.) is allowed to baptize. Nor does it say that only men and not women should be allowed to baptize. For in Christ there is now neither male nor female, but a new creation, namely as children of God (see Galatians 3:26-28; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17). In Matthew 28:19 (NLT) Jesus says to the disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

This commission is not only aimed at the first disciples, but also at all Christians who have become believers. The mission command in Mark 16:15-16 also applies to all Christians. This also includes the commission to baptize other Christians. This means that every Christian can baptize another person who has converted to Jesus.

“Is there a specific baptismal verse that the baptizer should say during water baptism?”

Jesus told the disciples to baptize those who would come to Him “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (cf. Matthew 28:19). Therefore, when a Christian baptizes another Christian, he can say to him, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“What if I don’t know another Christian who can baptize me?”

If you don’t have any contact with other Christians yet, you can ask a Christian church if they can baptize you there. More on this in the section “How do I find fellowship with other Christians?” in the article “Fellowship”.

“With water baptism, am I joining a Christian community?”

When a person converts to Jesus, then as a child of God they belong to the heavenly family. He then belongs to the body of Christ, of which he has become a member.
The first Christians did not hesitate for long about water baptism after conversion. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 (SLT) it says :

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body,whether we are Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and we have all been watered into one spirit.

This does not mean a single church, but the body of Christ. For all believers worldwide are referred to as the body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:7-16). See also the section “The Body of Christ” in the article “Fellowship”.

Nevertheless, it is right to also seek fellowship with other Christians.
In some churches it is common for the baptized person to be asked if they would like to join the community after water baptism. This decision should be left to the believer himself and not forced upon him. God can show you in which community you should meet with other Christians. See also the section “How do I find fellowship with other Christians?” in the article “Fellowship”.

“Can you also baptize children?”

As we can read in the New Testament, people are not baptized until they have made a decision for Jesus. This is also made clear in Philip’s statement to the eunuch: “If you believe with all your heart, it is lawful!” (See Acts 8:36-37 SLT) Baby baptism is therefore not correct, since babies cannot yet express a decision for Jesus. Older children can already express their free will. It is not possible to say in general terms “from what age” a child may be baptized. But if a child – no matter what age – decides for Jesus, then it can also be baptized.

Instead of baptizing babies, they should be blessed. An example of this is Jesus when people brought children to Him for blessing and prayer, which He was happy to do (cf. Matthew 19:13-15). With such a blessing of children one can say good things from God over the child and pray for health, growth etc.

By the way, on the children ‘s page you will find several articles about and for children and faith.

“Do I need any preparation before water baptism?”

Preparation before water baptism (apart from your conversion) is not absolutely necessary. As we can read in the New Testament, the first Christians were baptized immediately after their decision for Jesus. The eunuch had no further preparation either, save his conversion and his confession of Jesus before Philip. The eunuch also knew that he needed water baptism. These “conditions” are quite sufficient for a person to be baptized.

So it is enough if the Christians who want to be baptized get an explanation of what water baptism is and how it will take place. Of course they should also be asked if they have made a clear decision for Jesus. Some may want to be baptized for other reasons. Maybe because they believe that they will only be saved through water baptism, or maybe because they want to become a member of the community through water baptism, or for some other reason. This can then also be explained in the preparation that only the decision for Jesus is necessary.

However, further preparation does not have to be fundamentally wrong. It can be helpful if you discuss some things with the Baptist beforehand. Here some examples:

What to do before water baptism

Are you afraid of the water, e.g. of deeper water or because you don’t swim? Don’t let that fear keep you from getting baptized. Discuss this openly with the Baptist or with other Christians and pray together. You can overcome this fear with Jesus! Maybe your water baptism is the chance to conquer your fear of water.
There is also the possibility that you can be baptized in shallow water, for example in an inflatable swimming pool or in a bathtub. And if you tell the Christians who are present at your water baptism about your fear beforehand, then that can also be a relief for you. The Baptist can also adjust to this by, for example, only holding you under water for a very short time.

You can also discuss with the Baptist beforehand how long you want to stay under water. Don’t worry, water baptism is effective even if you’ve only been underwater for a short time. However, it can be good not just to stay under water for a short time, but for several seconds. Because in that moment under water you can internalize again that your old self died with Jesus. And when you get out of the water again, you can internalize that you have risen again with Jesus.

It doesn’t have to be, but there may be times when you experience false doubts or distractions in the time leading up to water baptism. These can be spiritual attacks. Such attacks can occur, as can many other steps on the path of discipleship. When you take a step in faith, it’s like entering a new level. And the enemy, Satan, doesn’t want us to grow spiritually.
The obstacles can be, for example, that you suddenly have to go to your job on the day you are to be baptized. Or that as a woman you get your period on that day of all days. Even such obstacles can have solutions. Also ask God how He sees the situation and if there is a possibility that you can still get baptized that day. If there is no other way and you have to postpone the water baptism, then it is best not to delay the appointment too long.

This shouldn’t discourage you, but encourage you that you’re on the right track. Such challenges, if they arise, are normal. But you can overcome them!

What you can do after water baptism

As we mentioned earlier, “repentance” is a process. Your “new man” (your spirit) is born anew at conversion by the Holy Spirit. But you can decide whether you still want to live in the “old man” (in sinful actions, thinking, etc.). You have become His king’s child. And you still are, even if you have sinned. But Jesus wants to help you to live as His king’s child.

In another article on our website you can read more about your identity in Jesus: “From beggar’s child to king’s child! – About your new (true) identity in Jesus” (To come)

You can also find information about sanctification and healing on our other website Prophetenschule.org under Inner (mental) healing and healing in general (in German). And you can also find further articles in audio and text form. “Sanctification” means above all inner (spiritual) healing that takes place in the encounter with Jesus. You also recognize your new identity in Him.

It is good if you let go of old things after water baptism. Practically speaking, you can do it like this:
Hold yourself to God (in prayer, worship, etc.) and ask Him what old things you should let go of. It can be old habits. There may also be things that are not good for you that you should throw away (see Acts 19:19). Let him show you personally. He wants to give you something better instead! And when you look at the new, it fills your mind with so much joy that you don’t even want the old anymore.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone; behold, all things have become new!”
(2 Corinthians 5:7 SLT)

 Green Lake Swimming


More articles on water baptism:

  • Spirit Baptism
    (Supplementary to the section on the difference between water baptism and Spirit baptism. Water baptism is baptism in water and Spirit baptism is baptism in the Holy Spirit.)
  • Fellowship
    (Additional to the section on being baptized by another Christian.)
  • “Is the surrender prayer enough to be saved?” (in German)
    (There is also a short section on the subject of water baptism. About the fact that it is not water baptism that saves you, but the surrender of your life to Jesus.)
  • “What does ‘repent’ mean?” (To come — also linked in the article above)
  • ”From beggar’s child to king’s child! – About your new (true) identity in Jesus”
    (To come. In addition to the section about the “old man” and the “new man”. About your new identity, which you received when you surrendered your life to Jesus.)
  • Inner (spiritual) healing and healing in general (in German)
    (supplementary to the topic of identity and sanctification. “Sanctification” means above all inner (spiritual) healing that happens in the encounter with Jesus.
    From our other website Prophetenschule.org, with many articles on the topic of healing in audio and text form.)
  • Children’s Page
    (As a supplement to the section about children not being baptized unless they have already made a decision for Jesus. On the Children’s Page you will find several articles about and for children and faith.)

 


This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


You can also find many other articles on the topic of discipleship/ following after Jesus here:

 


Link to the children’s article in English (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Englisch):
Water Baptism (Children’s Version)


Link to the children’s article in German (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Deutsch):
Wassertaufe (Kinderversion)


Link to the detailed article in German (Link zum ausführlichen Artikel auf Deutsch):
Wassertaufe (Ausführlicher Artikel)


Fellowship

Please first read:
Attention, the following translation has been automatically translated. The text may therefore contain errors. It is a temporary rough translation.
But you are free to share the text for non-profit purposes!

Heavenly Sounds Music

This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


Next, I want to show you a cell phone. It stands for community. Jesus does not want you to be alone on your walk. He is with you, of course, but He also wants you to have contact with other followers of Jesus. That you talk to them, exchange ideas with them.

This third part is a lot longer than the other parts. This is because the topic of “community” is very broad and contains many other topics. That is why we only dealt with most of the other topics very briefly in it.

In the following you will learn what fellowship with other Christians is, why you need it and how you can find good fellowship.

“What is fellowship with other Christians?”

Fellowship with other Christians can be in a church. But it can also be a home group. Where you meet Christians at home and you read the Bible together, pray together etc.

It is very important to us that Christians worldwide can grow in their discipleship. We want to help Christians have fellowship no matter what their local situation is.

This website reaches people from almost every country in the world (see our subpage Website Statistics). People from countries where Christians are persecuted or from countries with other religions (e.g. Islam or Hinduism) are also reached.

In very many areas of the world there are no Christian churches or congregations at all or only “traditional churches” that are not (in substantial parts of their doctrine) based on the Bible.

Most of the time, Christians have no other choice but to meet in houses or outside in nature. Just like the Christians did in the first centuries. Maybe they even have to “meet underground” when there is persecution of Christians.

But also in the “Western countries” and also in Germany there are many regions where there are only very few churches at all. Or where there are only few churches/congregations that are founded on the Bible and e.g. give space to the work of the Holy Spirit or actively spread the Gospel.

Furthermore, we do not know if or when there will also be persecution of Christians in the so-called “western world”. Christians should therefore prepare themselves today to live out their faith in small groups (e.g. in houses or apartments).
The restrictions on church life within the church buildings during the Corona pandemic (from 2020) should be a warning to us.
What if the meetings in the buildings of the churches were no longer possible at all? How would the body of Christ then gather together and what would church life look like in those assemblies?

We also find many descriptions of the community life of the first Christians in the Bible.

 “But why are there so many different Christian denominations today?”

Although all Christians agree that Jesus is our Savior, they often differ on individual questions of faith. This can be very confusing, especially for someone who is new to the faith. Already very early there were divisions among the believers, ie different teachings and great grievances, as can also be read in the letters of the apostles (e.g. in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; 1 Corinthians 14; Galatians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:11-14). That’s why it’s so important to know the “beginnings” of Jesus’ teachings (see Hebrews 5:12). If you recognize what the basics were, then you see the “roots” so to speak and can orient yourself on them.
Even later, in the course of church history, much was mistakenly lost. You can also read more about this in an article on our website: Back to Basics – To Come – (A Brief Overview of Bad and Good Growth in Church History).

In the course of time, however, many churches, communities, associations, etc. have emerged. Because there are so many different Christian denominations, it is important to understand how early Christians had fellowship. Because the way this first community was, it should also be for us today (again).

“What was community for the first Christians?”

So let’s look at what God says in the Bible in the New Testament on this subject. In it we can read a lot about how the disciples of Jesus and the believers had fellowship with one another. And that also shows us what “church” or “congregation” should look like according to God’s heart. Let’s take a closer look:

Jesus is the rock

When Jesus spoke to Simon Peter, He said:

“And I say to you also: You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,and the gates of the dead shall not prevail against them.”
(Matthew 16:18 NLT)

Not only in this but also in other Bible passages it is clear that Jesus is the rock and thus also the foundation of the church (see Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8). And no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid: Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11). And if the church is built on anything other than Jesus and His words, then it will not stand (cf. Matthew 7:24-29).
Jesus said so in His statement to Peter. But we understand His statement better if we look at the sentence in the original Greek text. Because Jesus uses a play on words in the Greek language in this sentence! The Greek word “Petros” means “stone”. But the Greek word “Petra” means “rock” or “big stone”.
It is not uncommon for Jesus to speak in the third person when speaking of the rock as Himself. He also uses this form of speech in many of His other statements, for example when He spoke about Himself as the Son of man (see Matthew 24:27) or as the Son of God (see John 3:14-21). But Jesus also spoke about Himself in the first person, eg He said “I am the bread of life” (cf. John 6:35) and other “I am” words. In His words to Peter, Jesus could therefore have said differently: “I am the rock and on you, a stone, I want to build my church.”
John 1:42 describes how Peter came to Jesus. Jesus said to him, “You are Simon son of Jonah, your name shall be Cephas.” The word “Kephas” is Aramaic and means “a stone”.
This becomes even clearer when we realize that all other believers are also seen by God as “living stones”:

That Jesus is the Rock and the Foundation means that it is not about differences in doctrine, but about His Word and His Truth. It means that Jesus is the head of the church and that He Himself sustains and sustains His church. And it means that only the works He has prepared for us stand on it. It also means that our salvation does not spring from a particular church affiliation, but from Jesus himself. Our salvation comes from surrendering our lives to Jesus and not from “being Christian on paper”.

Jesus further said to Peter:

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and what you redeem on earth will be redeemed in heaven.
(Matthew 16:19 NLT)

The key that Jesus spoke of was not unique to Peter. This key refers to the authority that Jesus confers on every Christian: For example, the authority to cast out demons and to heal diseases (see Mark 16:17-18). So this applies to all Christians, not just individual leaders or ministries.
But the fact that Jesus addressed these words specifically to Peter has another meaning. Peter was the first to address the non-believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36), who were converted (cf. Acts 2:37-47). That was the official birth of the church. Like the other first apostles, Peter was like “pillars” on the foundation (Jesus) on which the first church was formed.

And we are His living stones

In 1 Peter 2:4-10 all believers are referred to as “living stones” which together form a “spiritual house”:

“So now you also are being built up as living stones, as a spiritual house, as a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Godare through Jesus Christ.”
(1 Peter 2:5 SLT)

This “spiritual house” is the worldwide church of all Christians, founded on Jesus, the foundation (see also Ephesians 2:19-22).
The “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” primarily refer to ourselves (see Romans 12:1). But that includes good works. However, this does not mean a religious achievement through self-effort, nor that our salvation would depend on the works. We are saved by faith, not works, lest anyone should boast (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9). It refers to the works that “God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (see Ephesians 2:10). They are, so to speak, the “building blocks” that God is calling each individual to be. But if we build works of our own imagination or effort, not called to do so by God, then they are like building blocks made of wood, hay, or straw that will not last (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12-23). It also says aptly in Psalm 127:1: “Unless the Lord builds the house,
Each of us can ask God what His “building blocks” are that He wants to give us. The Holy Spirit gives us His power to do this. It is not too difficult that we cannot bear His duties (cf. Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus wants to help us with this, because he himself is the master builder.

“What does ‘congregation’ or ‘church’ actually mean?”

For a “Christian” is not someone who has been raised or culturally raised to be one. Rather: Christians are those who have made a conscious decision for Jesus in their lives.
We mainly use the term “communion” as it describes different types of encounters with Christians. However, one can also differentiate between “the body of Christ” and “individual congregations”. More on that in a moment.

The body of Christ

All believers worldwide are also referred to as the body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:7-16). This is a picture of our spiritual unity in Jesus. In Ephesians 4:1-6 it says:

“I urge you therefore, I, who is bound in the Lord, to walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, and diligently seeking the unity of the To keep spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one spirit, as you are also called to one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, above all and through all and in all of you.”

Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all Christians worldwide that we would recognize and live in our unity (cf. John 17). But it is a spiritual unity that is based solely on Jesus and His words (see also the section “Jesus is the Rock” earlier).
You can also read more about unity in the article “What is unity?” (To come) read more about it.

Individual local churches

In addition to the body of Christ as a worldwide church, there are also individual churches or local churches. These are the individual meetings of Christians. In the following we see what these looked like among the first Christians.

The Heavenly Family

Anyone who has surrendered their life to Jesus is spiritually born into the heavenly family. This means that we Christians are all brothers in spirit and we have the same Father, God.
“Family” also means that all family members belong and no one is cast out or disadvantaged. Even in the days of the disciples, when women were often oppressed in society, Jesus treated them with respect (see, for example, John 4:1-42; Luke 7:36-50).
And Jesus also said about the children that the kingdom of heaven should not be denied them (see eg Matthew 18:1-14; Matthew 19:13-15; Matthew 21:15-16). If someone has children, then they can also be present in a meeting. However, the children should not be forced to join the community if they do not want to be part of it, because free will also applies to them.
On the children ‘s page you will find several articles about and for children and faith.

“How often did the early Christians meet?”

The early Christians met one another very often. Most of them even “every day” (cf. Acts 2:44-47; Acts 5:42). There was no specific day of the week on which the believers should meet. Neither on the Sabbath nor on a Sunday (cf. Colossians 2:16-17). But the believers often taught on the Sabbath in the Jewish synagogue, because that’s where the Jews and Gentiles gathered who had not yet believed in Jesus as the Messiah (see Acts 13:14-52). So for the early Christians, the temple was largely a “mission site.”

“Where did the first Christians meet?”

So the believers were mainly in the temple in Jerusalem at first and also mainly in their homes (see Acts 2:44-47).
But as early as the Old Testament it was prophesied that the temple would be destroyed (cf. Daniel 9:25-27). And Jesus also announced this to His disciples (cf. Matthew 24:1-2). Later, after the temple was destroyed, the believers met mainly in their homes, except in public squares or other places.
Nowhere in the scriptures does it say that it is God’s will that a new temple be built. Even when Jesus returns, He will not sit in any temple (see Revelation 21:22). Instead, it says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 2:19-22). And that we are “living stones” (cf. 1 Peter 2:5). When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the Holy of Holies in the temple was rent (cf. Mark 15:37-38). Jesus cleared the way in God’s presence. That is the great difference in the new covenant. It would therefore no longer make sense to build a new temple with the holy of holies, sacrificial altar, etc. God wants to dwell in His children, not in a building.

And Paul taught for 2 years in a school to train other Christians there (see Acts 19:8-10).

“How long did a meeting/communion of the first Christians last?”

A meeting of the first Christians probably lasted different lengths of time. There is no instruction anywhere in the New Testament as to how long a meeting should last. But since the Christians were open to the workings of God, it can be assumed that they also let the Holy Spirit guide them for the duration of a meeting. There had to be enough time for each individual to get involved. More on that later.
When Paul preached, it even lasted several hours (see Acts 20:6-12). But such a long speech did not happen regularly in a meeting, but was part of his business trip.

“How many people were there in a community of early Christians?”

To do this, we first want to answer another question: “When does one actually speak of a ‘congregation’ or ‘community’?”
Jesus said:

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”
(Matthew 18:20 NLT)

Jesus rejoices when we gather in His name to fellowship with one another and with Him. So he places himself in a community, even if it is still small. He also said: “Fear not, little flock; for it pleased your father to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 SLT). Jesus spoke these words to His disciples at a time when the church did not yet exist in the form it did later after Pentecost. He encouraged them because He values ​​beginnings. We, too, are not to despise the “small beginnings” (cf. Zechariah 4:10).

For the first 12 disciples whom Jesus called, He lived the life with God and fellow human beings. Other people also followed him. These first disciples were, so to speak, the “forerunners” of the later church. They were thus taught by Jesus what church should mean.
After Jesus was resurrected and returned to heaven, the disciples, at His direction, met in an upper room to pray. At that point there were about 120 people (see Acts 1:15). That was also a “forerunner” of the community that was to come into being because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon it. But then, at Pentecost, they all received the power of the Holy Spirit, and through Peter’s speech, about 3,000 people were converted that day. In fact, Acts 2:47 says, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were saved“.
Now, one might think that that was a significant number of “congregational members.” But this church was the regional church as a whole, out of which several individual churches grew. This first congregation therefore spread explosively not within, but outwards: several congregations arose from this, which met in the houses. The actual growth was not in the number of members, but in the multiplication of the individual congregations. Because the believers divided up by meeting with each other in different houses. When people converted to Jesus, they didn’t join a single church, but one of the churches in the houses.
The “church” at large (the body of Christ) grew through evangelism and discipleship: new believers came in, they were discipled by other believers to disciple other believers in turn, etc. Persecution of
Christians did too Part of the fact that the Christians spread rapidly. The Jews and Romans persecuted the Christians, who scattered as a result and continued to spread the faith in other places and also in other countries.

This fruitful multiplication of Christians was suppressed only a few centuries later by the then established state religion. In this state religion, the power structures of the Roman Empire, pagan customs and Christianity (into which false teachings had already crept in) were mixed together.
This resulted in unfruitful church structures, parts of which we can still see today (a good 500 years after the Reformation). During the Reformation, not all areas of church life or Christian life were actually reformed.
Some topics such as the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only “rediscovered” much later, i.e. They were practiced by a larger part of Christians only much later. The Reformation is still going on and many Christians and churches worldwide are on the move to bring in the great harvest of souls. Because Jesus wishes that still a lot of people would be saved before He comes back.

For the number of believers in a single (!) community, as the first Christians had, it does not mean “bigger is better”, but: “less is more”. And: “Everyone has something”. More on that in the next section.

“What did the early Christians do?”

“Everyone have something” which refers to spiritual gifts and ministry. Everyone could get involved. That means, for example, that you talk about current and personal prayer requests and build each other up. In such a community one could also pray for one another and serve one another without there being no more time for individuals. At such times every Christian can experience Jesus and grow spiritually.

They were led by the Holy Spirit

In the first place, the Holy Spirit is the leader of the assembly. This means: For the first Christians it was normal that each of them could personally hear God’s voice. Jesus also said that He is the Good Shepherd and that His sheep hear His voice (cf. John 10:27). A flock of sheep must also be able to follow the shepherd or recognize when he is leading them. The believers paid attention to what the Holy Spirit was saying to each of them and what He wants to do in the community. And there should also be room for the Holy Spirit to work. In 2 Corinthians 13:13 it even says: “The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. He was seen for the person He is: the third person of the Trinity, the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). When making decisions, care was taken where the Spirit of God leads. A letter from the apostles even says: “It was pleasing to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (cf. Acts 15:28).

They had God-appointed leadership and ministries

Also in the election of leaders and ministries, attention has been paid to how the Holy Spirit has called each one. The worldly status was not respected or called after the worldly education, but whether the person had the necessary spiritual gifts, the spiritual maturity and a speaking from God (see Acts 6:1-7; Acts 13:2-3 ).
God calls Christians to various ministries (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31). He calls some believers to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16). He also calls overseers/rulers/bishops/elders (cf. Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5-9) and deacons/ministers (cf. Acts 6:1-7; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8). -13; terms depending on Bible translation). There is no description of the duties of the shepherds in the New Testament. They are most likely intended to have a pastoral function (see also Jeremiah 3:15; Ezekiel 34:1-31).

The functions of the services are (very briefly) described in the…

Apostles : They plant new churches and make disciples and train other Christians to plant churches and make disciples.
Prophets : They pass on God’s words and train other Christians to hear God’s voice personally.
Evangelists : They proclaim the message of Jesus and train other Christians to reach people with the gospel.
Shepherds : They help newly converted and still underage Christians (“lambs”) with pastoral care to mature and train other Christians to take care of them pastorally.
Teachers : They teach biblical truths and train other Christians how to live and teach the subjects practically.
overseers/superintendents/bishops/elders: They correct the assembly (e.g. wrong teachings, prophetic impressions etc.) and train other Christians in spirit discernment.
But not only these, but all Christians present must be able to test, see also 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 John 4:1-6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22.
Deacons/Servants : They are responsible for providing care (help such as food distribution) among the poor, orphans and widows (today possibly also among forced prostitutes, refugees, migrants, etc.) and train other Christians in diaconal helpfulness.

There may be several of these ministries in a community. In Ephesians 4:11-16 they are all in the plural. Of the apostles, too, there were not only the 12 first apostles whom Jesus had called, but later a number of others who were called by God to serve as an apostle, as is also evident from Ephesians 4:11.
However, it is possible that not all of these ministries are present in a community because, for example, the Christians in it were not called by God to all ministries. More services may be added as the community grows. Or it can also happen that what God has called each individual to do only gradually emerges.

There were also women in these ministries. A few examples: Phoebe was a deaconess (cf. Romans 16:1-2). The couple Priscilla and Aquila were co-workers with the apostles and had a church in their home (cf. Acts 18:2, 18, and 26; Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19). It speaks of the women Tryphena, Tryphosa (see Romans 16:12), Mary (see Romans 16:6) and Persis (see Romans 16:12), who also did much work for the kingdom of God .
In addition to His disciples, Jesus also had female disciples who followed Him and served Him (see Luke 8:1-3). Women can and should also teach, prophesy and serve in all other spiritual gifts, just like men. For in Christ there is now neither male nor female, but a new creation, namely as children of God (see Galatians 3:26-28; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

God is still distributing these ministries today! The task of all these ministries is to equip the body of Christ. That means building up in faith and training for spiritual maturity, as is also stated in Ephesians 4:11-16. None of the leaders or ministries should oppress others, but in the humility and love of God build up and help to grow spiritually. Jesus Himself set this example for His disciples when He symbolically washed their feet (cf. John 13:1-16). Also, each Christian is to submit to one another (cf. 1 Peter 5:5; Ephesians 5:21).

It is important that every Christian takes the time to ask God personally what his calling is. You can also find explanatory articles on the subject of vocation on our website, for example in the article “How do I find my calling?” (in German). There is an overview with further articles on the subject.
If a Christian is not called by God to any of these ministries, then he has another calling from God (eg in the professional world, in the family, in the mission, in the traveling ministry, etc.). He can and should still contribute with the (spiritual) gifts from God. More on that under the next heading.

They were able to contribute their (spiritual) gifts

In addition to the ministries to which God chooses each individual, there are also the gifts of grace/spiritual workings/spiritual gifts or gifts of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12-14). God continues to bestow these spiritual gifts today. Like the ministries, they will not end until Jesus returns (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

A (very brief) description of the gifts of the Spirit: 

Word(s) of Wisdom : With this gift, a Christian can speak or act with wisdom in a situation that he does not have from himself but from God. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Word(s) of knowledge : With this gift, a Christian can get information from God about a situation that he himself did not know. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
(The difference to the gift of wisdom: The gift of wisdom, on the other hand, helps to deal correctly with the information or a situation that the Christian already knows from the natural.)
Faith: A Christian with the gift of faith has a firm belief that something specific is coming from God. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Healing Gifts/Healing Gift : A Christian with the gift of healing ministers to the sick with the laying on of hands to a greater degree. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Effects of Miracles/Miracles : A Christian with the gift of miracles expects and experiences various miracles from God. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Divination/Prophecy/Prophetic Speech: A Christian with the gift of prophecy receives God’s speaking to a greater degree and passes it on to others. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Spirit Discernment : A Christian with the gift of spirit discernment perceives the spiritual atmosphere and recognizes the spirits as coming from God. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Different Types of Tongues/Tongues : A Christian with the gift of tongues can speak or pray in a new language given to them by God that they have not learned themselves. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.
Interpretation of tongues/tongues: A Christian with the gift of interpreting tongues can receive the interpretation or message of speaking in tongues from God. And he can also help other Christians with teaching in this gift.

Every Christian may already have received one or more of these gifts from God. But God still encourages us to strive after the gifts (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:31; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Corinthians 14:12). Because the Holy Spirit distributes these gifts, but at the same time He wants us to ask Him for them. We may ask Him for more gifts. If that weren’t the case, then we shouldn’t be striving for it.
So every Christian can serve in all gifts, even if he has a few gifts with greater emphasis! And those gifts, in which he serves more frequently, are part of his calling.

Other gifts from God:

Besides the spiritual gifts, God also bestows other gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 and Romans 12:3-8. These gifts are also about spiritual abilities given by God. It is not (!) about naturally learned knowledge, such as worldly education etc. Although some of these gifts, such as mercy, may already have been given by God “in the womb”, but it is nothing that man can do of his own human nature effort itself has learned.

Ministry in the Gift of Miracles
Ministry in the Gift of Healing
Ministry in the Gift of Helping
Leadership
Ministry in Different Tongues
Admonition
Generosity
Mercy

You can also include the following gifts:
Hospitality

You can also find other articles in audio and text form on the subject of spiritual gifts on our other website Prophetenschule.org under The Work of the Holy Spirit (in German).

“And what about fellowship with unbelievers?”

Unfortunately, in some circles, believers are advised to cut off all “contact with the world.” Sometimes even to their own family members. And that is exactly what is wrong. Jesus did not tell us followers to hide and shield ourselves from the world. Instead, His words are unmistakably clear:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt becomes insipid, with what shall it be made salty again? It’s good for nothing more than being thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a mountain cannot remain hidden. Nor does one light a candle and put it under the bushel, but on the candlestick; so it shines to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before people so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)

We Christians are like salt with which this world is seasoned with the kingdom of God. Just as soup is not tasty without salt, this world would be without God.
The salt is also sprinkled in a good dose in a meal. If salt is stored for a long time in high humidity, then it clumps. In the same way, we should let God scatter us into the world like salt shakers and not just stay with each other.
God Himself makes us “palatable” and gives us flavor.

Even though we are in this world, we are not of the world. This means that God’s standards apply to us and not the standards of the world (see Romans 12:1-2). It means that we are not to become one with sin (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). It takes wisdom from God when we face challenges at school, at work, or in a non-Christian family. This means, for example, not to participate in peer pressure, bullying, fraud, gossip, etc. There are often other values ​​in the world than Jesus exemplified for us.

Jesus taught us how to live in this world. He didn’t live in a monastery or only had contact with His disciples. No, He shows us how His dealings with the people of the world looked like: He was in the midst of the people and showed them God’s love. He spent His time with the outcasts, with the tax collectors, with the prostitutes, with the sick, with the poor and with the rich. He also went to feasts (cf. John 2:1-12). He also spoke to the Jewish scribes and Pharisees, but saw through their religiosity that they did not have God’s love within them (cf. John 5:39-42). Jesus always picked people up where each of them personally stood in order to reach their hearts.
He also wants to give us His wisdom and guidance to reach non-Christians with the gospel.

You can also find an overview of articles on the subject of evangelism on our website under evangelism articles.

“Why do I need fellowship with other Christians?”

First of all, it is important that fellowship with God comes first. Just as the Bible does not replace a relationship with God, neither does it replace fellowship with other Christians. That’s why:

Also cultivate your personal fellowship with Jesus

Also have personal fellowship with Jesus. Learn from him, recharge your batteries with him, enjoy the time with him. In Psalm 23:1-2 (SLT) it says:

“The lord is my shepherd; I will lack nothing.
He feeds me in green meadows and leads me to still waters.”

This verse also shows that Jesus wants to refresh us. Some things only the LORD himself can give us. For example the familiar time with him, in which you recognize him more and more. But also personal things that He wants to confide in you in the conversation. You also learn with him to be primarily dependent on him and to fill up with him.
Jesus is our friend and we are His friends. In a friendship you like to spend time together and get to know each other better.

In another article on our website , “How do I have a personal encounter with Jesus?” (in German) you can also find more about walking in the Spirit in God’s presence.

Now to the question of why we need fellowship with other Christians:
Earlier we saw a lot about how the first Christians lived out their faith. From this it can already be concluded why the community is important. So a short summary again:

 Why you need fellowship with other Christians

You need fellowship with other Christians to learn from one another.
Because: You would (certainly) want to exchange ideas with others and ask them, for example: “What have YOU experienced with God?” or: “What does this and that mean in the Bible?” etc.

You need fellowship where you can train other Christians.

You need community in which you can live your ministry or your vocation (or sometimes just parts of your vocation).

You need community in which you can also serve others with the (spiritual) gifts of God.

You need fellowship where you can encourage and comfort other believers.

You need fellowship where you can pray with other Christians.

You need fellowship where you can worship God with your brothers and sisters.

And above all: You need community because it is your heavenly family.
(Even if it doesn’t look so heavenly.)

All these points are therefore also an encouragement for you in difficult times when things are not going so smoothly.

You also need fellowship with non-Christians

Of course, as I said before, you also need fellowship with people who don’t know Jesus yet. It would be unnatural for a family to keep to themselves but never have contact with other people.

The (spiritual) gifts, ministries and callings of God should not only be served within Christians, but also non-Christians.

“How do I find fellowship with other Christians?”

The best thing to do is to look around to see where there are other Christians in your town or in the area that you can meet up with. We would like to give you the tip that it is important that they have the Bible as a basis and that they are open to the Holy Spirit.

But the most important thing is that you ask God about it and let Him guide you.

Ask god

Ask God where and with whom you should meet. He can speak to you personally about it. He can also tell you a place or tell you the people.
As already mentioned, you will also find explanatory articles on this topic “God’s speeches” on our website, for example in the article “How does God speak? How can I personally hear His voice?” (in German). There is an overview with further articles on the subject.

People you already know

It may even be that there are already believing Christians in your environment that you know. For example in the family or relatives, but also in school, training, at work or in a club. Perhaps there will be conversations with these people and you will notice where they “stand in faith”, so to speak. God can show you whether you can meet up with one or the other more often.

Let the Holy Spirit guide you

If you don’t hear anything concrete at first, then let the Holy Spirit guide you in your search for other Christians. It may be that you meet people along the way and it turns out that they are also followers of Jesus. But then also ask God if He has brought you together and if you can meet together from time to time.

“What if a community does not agree with other Christians on all points?”

But you may find that a community or individuals do not (that is, fundamentally) not correspond to how the first Christians lived their faith. So what to do if you can only grow a little spiritually in a community? For example, if you are not allowed to live out your spiritual gifts or your vocation because perhaps a leader or the mission statement of the community forbids it (against God’s will)?

Then you should definitely ask God if you should stay in the community. Ask Him personally and independently of human opinions. It is important what God says to you personally, especially in relation to the calling He has given you. As already said, His speech does not contradict the Bible and His character.

Did you get it clear from God to avoid a certain fellowship with other Christians? Then ask Him which Christians you should meet with instead.

Or did you get it clear from God that you should continue to stay in a certain community? Then there is a reason for that too. Then ask Him “why” you should be in this meeting. And what He wants you to do there. Sometimes His ways are not easy, and because of circumstances and attacks, it may appear just the opposite. And then you ask yourself if you’re still in the right place. That’s why it’s good if you know what He says to you personally about it. Where the “desert” is, God can show you the “oasis” in spirit. When you lose this vision, all you see is the desert. Therefore stand by what He has told you and shown you. Then you will also have more peace in times when things are difficult.
God does not want our callings and (spiritual) gifts to be suppressed. Nor does He want us to starve or die of thirst spiritually. That’s why you should also ask him where you can recharge your batteries spiritually. Ask Him to meet Christians who also want to grow spiritually. He can show you.
When God takes you into the wilderness to serve others, He gives you water too. The Holy Spirit is in you. And we all shouldn’t forget about drinking…

Also meet other “like-minded” Christians

Especially when you are in such a desert, it is helpful if you are still in touch with other Christians who are on the same spiritual wavelength as you. This means that as a Christian, for example, you have a ministry as an evangelist and it can therefore be encouraging to exchange ideas with other evangelists. There are certain struggles and challenges in every ministry that a Christian in another calling cannot always understand. Therefore it can help to exchange ideas with Christians who are on a similar “front”. As an apostle, Paul too was able to talk to the other apostles in his ministry about some things that he could not have discussed with the other Christians. It is the same in other ministries or callings: prophets can encourage other prophets, apostles can encourage other apostles,

There is no “perfect community”

We have now learned a great deal about how the early Christians lived in church.
See Bible verse Ephesians 5:27 The bride without spot or wrinkle

Does this mean that as Christians we have to be “perfect”? No, because only Jesus was perfect as a human being. And since He knows that we all have our faults and quirks, He doesn’t ask us to either.
But the basics, such as the first Christians had, should at least be largely in place.

Conclusion

Much more could be said about how the first Christians lived their faith. But that would be too much here. We therefore recommend that you read chapters 1-28 of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament in peace. In this one can see the practical faith well.
You can also read about other spiritual topics, such as the Lord’s Supper, prayer, worship and much more in the other books in the New Testament. But we can also read about faith in professional life, in everyday life, in family life, etc., how dealing with it looked like and should look like.

If you like, you can also look up all Bible passages in the New Testament with the term “one another”. You can simply use an online Bible with a search function on the Internet ( e.g. www.bibelserver.com ). Many of these Scriptures using the term “one another” are requests to us Christians how we should treat one another, eg “love one another”, “serve one another”, “forgive one another” and other statements. There are also a few passages about how we shouldn’t treat each other, eg don’t “betray one another”, “judge one another”, “bite and eat one another” and other statements.
Instead of “each other” you could also search for other terms like “mutual” etc.

We have written other articles on the topic of “congregation”, which you will find listed at the end of the article.
And for more articles on other topics, see the Discipleship Articles.

How could one describe “church” in just a few words? Or to put it another way: How could one represent “community” as a picture?
Take a moment to ask God about this. Maybe you will get a few sentences that you can formulate or a picture that you can paint. And because of “right” or “wrong”: Ask Jesus about it and let him show you how He sees His church.

Did you ask him and let him show you? Please read on here only afterwards…
If you have received something on this subject, you may be wondering whether it is right or wrong. It’s not about getting the exact same image as below. Because God can also show you something from a different perspective. The pictures can look as different as God works through His children. They are different pieces of the puzzle of God, but they form a whole puzzle.
And also straight to our image of community:

“Church” means the heavenly family of God’s children whose gifts and callings from God serve one another and the world in love. Church is a unit that is very broad: It may be that you are called by God in a certain area and your focus is therefore there. For example, a prophetic ministry may have more emphasis on the gift of prophecy than other areas. But all Christians serve with what they receive from God. Like a colorful radiant mosaic reflecting His glory. And Jesus himself is the living LORD in their midst, in the midst of us.

In Ephesians 4:15-16 (LUT 84) it says:

“But let us be true in love, and grow in every way toward him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body is joined together, and one limb hangs upon the other at every joint, whereby each limb supports the other according to the measure of his strength and makes the body grow and build itself up in love.”

Come MFY


More Fellowship Articles:

Because this topic is so extensive, there are quite a few more articles on it, also on more advanced topics.

 

Further posts: 

  • The work of the Holy Spirit (in German)
    (supplementary, since we also practice the spiritual gifts in the community with other Christians. From our other website Prophetenschule.org, with many articles on the subject of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, etc., in audio and text form)
  • Children’s Page
    (As a supplement to the section about the fact that we Christians are a family and therefore children can also be part of the community if they wish. On the children’s page you will find several articles about and for children and the faith.)
  • Evangelism Articles
    (Additional to the section on fellowship with people who don’t know Jesus. There you will find an overview of all articles on this website on the subject of evangelism.)
  • Discipleship Articles
    (Supplements the section on other Discipleship topics, e.g. communion, prayer, worship and much more. There you will find an overview of all the articles on this website on the subject of discipleship.)

 


This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


You can also find many other articles on the topic of discipleship/following after Jesus here:

 


Link to the children’s article in English (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Englisch):
Fellowship (Children’s Version)


Link to the children’s article in German (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Deutsch):
Gemeinschaft (Kinderversion)


Link to the detailed article in German (Link zum ausführlichen Artikel auf Deutsch):
Gemeinschaft (Ausführlicher Artikel)


Bible

Please first read:
Attention, the following translation has been automatically translated. The text may therefore contain errors. It is a temporary rough translation.
But you are free to share the text for non-profit purposes!

heart shadow ring on book bible 2

This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


Next, of course, it’s also important that you know where you’re going. Jesus gives you the directions, so to speak. These directions stand for the Bible or God’s Word. Because on your way with Jesus you need clarity about His will for your life and in certain (life) areas.

For some people, the Bible is just an old “dusty” history book or even just a made-up storybook. Maybe you see the Bible that way too. And maybe you have read it or heard texts from it (e.g. in a church, in religious education at school etc.) and just found it boring.

Or maybe you’re one of those people who read the Bible with serious interest but just didn’t understand it. There may have been passages that you found contradictory. And then you put the Bible aside and stopped reading the Bible.

If that’s the case for you, then we would also like to explain to you why reading the Bible seemed so tedious to you.

What the Bible is, why you need it and how to read it correctly, you will learn in the following.

“What is the Bible?”

The Bible is a very special and unique book.

Because the Bible is the written Word of God

The Bible is not a man-inspired book like a novel. Although the scriptures of the Bible were written by humans, the Holy Spirit inspired them to write (cf. 2 Peter 1:19-21).

These writings were written over thousands of years and passed on to the next generations. And later they were translated from Hebrew and Greek into many other languages. The translation process continues to this day as there are an estimated 7000 languages ​​in the world.

Perhaps you are wondering whether the truth content of such an old book is still correct and whether some of the texts in it have not been changed, supplemented or falsified. But God is able to protect His Word from oblivion and counterfeiting. He watches over His Word (cf. Jeremiah 1:12).

However, there are several Bible translations today, some of which have been translated very loosely to fit today’s language. Unfortunately, as a result, some Bible passages have been changed in such a way that their original statements are expressed less and sometimes even differently. Therefore it is good if you choose a Bible translation that is close to the original text. Under the section “Look for a Bible translation that is close to the original text” you will find recommended Bible translations.

“But what about people who have never heard of the Bible?”

The Bible has been translated into many languages ​​and distributed to most parts of the world. But there are still peoples who have never heard of the Bible. Either because it has not been translated into their language, because the message of Jesus has not yet been proclaimed in their environment or among their people, or because the Bible has been banned in the country and the Christian faith is being persecuted.
But God gave everyone free will. And that includes the decision between good and evil, for or against God. Even if these people do not have a Bible, they can decide for or against God with their free will and their conscience. You can read more about this in another article we wrote: “What about people who have never heard of the gospel?” (Coming Soon)

You may be thinking, “But I have a Bible and I’ve read it so many times, but I just don’t get it!” That’s because the only way to understand the Bible is through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will decipher the word for you

And He tells you, so to speak: “I will explain to you how to read the Bible. I’ll explain to you what it means.” And suddenly it’s like when you see a light and you realize: “Hey, suddenly everything is clear to me!” And you can also ask the Holy Spirit to explain some things to you: “What does this text mean? And what does it mean for me personally?” He then brings the Word to life for you.

The thing about the Bible is that you can’t understand it without the Holy Spirit. Without revelation from the Holy Spirit, it is like reading a history book or a novel. You are not in contact with the author. It is different with the Bible. The Holy Spirit wants to bring you into living contact with Him, the Creator Himself.

When you have given your life to Jesus , the Holy Spirit has come into you at that moment and remains in you. Because you have then become a child of God, you will also be able to love God (from spirit to spirit) more and more to recognize.
The Holy Spirit also brings the Bible text to life for you. You can compare it to a 3D film. Perhaps you know such 3D films for which you need special glasses in order to be able to view them so vividly. Without these glasses you can see the film blurry and no clear outlines. But when you put on the 3D glasses, the film becomes vivid and close enough to touch. It is similar when the Holy Spirit brings a Bible text to life for you. It’s like putting 3D glasses on you. Suddenly you recognize everything and it can be experienced. Suddenly it’s not just a book anymore. And then the connections become clear, for example that the texts in the Bible are not contradictory. And that God Himself speaks to you through the text.

Jesus is the Word of God personified

In John 1:1-14, Jesus is referred to as the “Word” through which the world was created. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, Jesus is referred to as “The Word of God.” So Jesus himself is the word of God in person. In 1 John 1:1 (NLT) He is also called the “Word of Life”. That is why Jesus also said to the scribes in reference to the Scriptures from the Old Testament:

“You search the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them; and it is they who testify of me. And yet you will not come to me to receive life.”
(John 5:39-40 SLT)

The whole Bible speaks of Jesus. In the Old Testament He was announced as the Messiah, in the New Testament He appeared as a sinless man and in Revelation His second coming is announced.
Although the Old Testament scriptures already testified about Jesus, many scribes did not recognize Him as the Messiah. They could have recognized Him, but they had closed their hearts. That is, they had read the Scriptures only with their “heads” but not with their “hearts.” They knew the scriptures by heart, but they lacked a living relationship with God.

It’s not about a relationship with the Bible, but with God Himself

It is right to know the Bible well and to memorize Scriptures. It is also correct if you know what the Bible says on a certain topic. But none of this replaces your personal relationship with God.

More on that in the next question:

“Why do I need the Bible?”

We should be careful not to be like the scribes who cultivated their Bible knowledge but not their relationship with God.

First and foremost, you need the Bible for your relationship with God

But how can it be that one can know the Bible and yet not know God?
Here is a simple example: Now imagine a person you know personally and like very much. Maybe a good friend or girlfriend. Or your brother or sister. Maybe your spouse. This person wrote an autobiography. Even a stranger can now find out all sorts of information about them: birthday, school education, CV, hobbies, school grades, favorite books,… Maybe the reader will say at the end: “Now I know the person too!”
But does he really know her? Does he know her like you know her, in a familiar way? Does the reader know what her voice sounds like? How does a hug from her feel? What is it like when you laugh together? How much fun do you have in a leisure activity together?
A stranger cannot “know” any of this if he only knows the bare information about the person.

It’s the same with the Bible. The information in it tells you a lot about God, but it is there to lead you into an encounter with God!

In another article on our website, “Wie bekomme ich eine persönliche Begegnung mit Jesus?”(in Geman, How Can I Have a Personal Encounter with Jesus?) you can also find more about walking in the Spirit in God’s presence.

 The Bible reveals God’s character, nature, and will

As already said, you need the Bible to see what God’s character and nature is like and what His will is for us humans in different areas. All this information is there to help you in your relationship with God, in dealing with your fellow human beings, in everyday life, etc.

Because God’s character, nature, and will are revealed to you through the Bible, you also easily discern what His will is in a personal matter. It’s like turning on a flashlight on a dark path and the beam of light will show you the way. But without God’s guidance, we’re groping in the dark. In Psalm 119:105 (SLT) it says aptly:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

God not only speaks through the Bible,
but it is a standard for prophetic impressions

God speaks through the Bible, but also through impressions such as mental or acoustically audible words, through images, visions and dreams. He can also speak to you through other people.

The impressions must not contradict the written Word of God. We know piecemeal (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:9). And in 1 Thess. 5:19-21 (SLT) it says:

“Do not dampen the spirit!
Don’t despise prophecy!
Check everything, keep the good ones!”

The Bible is infallible and the standard by which we test prophetic impressions. Because prophetic impressions can be influenced by our own views, experiences, our image of God, etc. Therefore, you must examine whether an impression is true to the Bible and to God’s character and nature. Testing is not difficult when you get to know God better. It’s like a friend’s familiar voice. With time, you will more easily recognize what his voice sounds like and what he is like (see John 10:4-5).

You will also find explanatory articles on this topic “God’s speeches” on our website, for example in the article “How does God speak? How can I personally hear His voice?” (in German). There is an overview with further articles on the subject.
Get to know His voice and perceive it personally for you! Then you are on the right track. For He is the Good Shepherd and You are His sheep that can hear His voice (cf. John 10:27). You want to follow Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd and you want to hear His voice. You want to know what else He has planned for you personally (eg your personal vocation). You want to know what He says about you (ie your identity in Him).

The Bible is full of good promises for us

In the Bible you can also read what God’s promises are for us, His children. For example healing, spiritual authority over the enemy and many other gifts from the Holy Spirit (eg spiritual gifts). We need to be aware of what we are entitled to as children of God.
In the article Spoken and Sung Bible Verses on Various Topics (in German) (from our other website Prophetenschule.org) you will also find Bible passages on specific topics.

The Bible is a weapon in spiritual warfare

We do not fight against “flesh and blood,” but against spiritual powers that rebel against God (see Ephesians 6:12). The Bible is also our “sword” in spiritual warfare, as described in Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12.
The devil is a liar (cf. John 8:44). He wants to tell us lies, eg about God. Therefore it is important that we stand on the truth, on God’s Word. Jesus, too, was tempted by the devil during His time as a man, and He successfully resisted the devil with the Word of God (cf. Luke 4:1-13).

“How do I read the Bible correctly?”

Now we would like to give you a few tips for reading the Bible.

 Look for a Bible translation that is close to the original text

Already have a Bible? And if so, also in a good translation of the Bible?

When it comes to German Bible translations, we particularly recommend the Schlachter 2000 Bible translation because it is close to the original text and yet easy to read.
Other German Bible translations based on the Textus Receptus: Elberfelder, Luther.
For English Bible translations, we recommend the Bible translations Amplified, King James, English Standard Version, New International Version, which are close to the original text.
Unfortunately, we are not (yet) familiar with Bible translations into other languages. Please inform yourself about this (e.g. on the Internet).

Under the following link you will find a large overview of where you can order a Bible or individual parts of the Bible (e.g. a New Testament). There are also links where you can request a free Bible: Overview: Where you can order a Bible + Free Bibles and Parts of the Bible

Start with the New Testament

We recommend that you read the New Testament first. Because in it you will immediately learn more about Jesus and what He taught the disciples. It is good if you start with one of the four books of the disciples Mark, Luke, Matthew and John. These books are also called the “Gospels”. Each of the disciples tells of the gospel, the message of Jesus.
We personally recommend that you start with the Gospel of John. It’s very profound but not difficult to read. It is a good starting point because it contains many basics for a life with Jesus: For example, a conversation between Jesus and the scribe Nicodemus, in which Jesus explains to him how one can really be saved (In John 3). About unity with Jesus (In John 15) and about unity with Jesus the Father, the Holy Spirit and believers (In John 17) and much more.

Ask God to encounter you there

When you read the Bible, make yourself aware that God also wants to meet you in it. In practical terms, this means that when you read a text in the Bible, it is better not to read it too quickly, but to “internal” what you have read. Take your time with that. You can also read a sentence several times and think about it or take it to prayer. Ask God to lead you into an encounter with Him. Example: Read John 15 calmly and ask Jesus to reveal to you the real unity with Him.
Also, here are a few more suggestions to “meditate” (ie, internalize and go in with the Spirit) on God’s goodness:

God’s peace
(e.g. John 14:27)

God’s love
(e.g. Romans 5:5)

God’s joy
(e.g. Zephaniah 3:17)

God’s grace
(e.g. Psalm 86:15)

God’s forgiveness
(e.g. 1 John 1:9)

etc. …

Talk to God about the Bible text

You can also pause from time to time and ask God what the scripture you are reading means. Or if He wants to tell you something personal in it. Here are a few suggestions on what to ask God:

“What does this Bible text mean?”
(While reading, if you don’t understand the text, something is unclear etc.)

“What does this Bible text mean for me personally?”
(As you read. Ask God if He has something personal to say to you about this. Of course, He will not give a prophetic word for every sentence in the Bible.)

“Which Scripture (or book or chapter of the Bible) should I read?”
(Again, it may be the case that God does not always show you a “certain” Scripture. But it can sometimes happen that He leads you to a certain Bible text.)

“Would you like to encourage XY (another person you know) with a specific Bible verse?”
(You can also ask God if He wants to encourage another person with a word from the Bible. Maybe He will give you a passage from the Bible, maybe also prophetic impressions.)

etc. …

 Different ways to internalize the Bible text

There are different ways in which you can internalize a Bible text. Here are a few suggestions:

You can either read the Bible text silently.

Or you can say it out loud.
When you read the Bible, you also hear it acoustically and this can have the advantage that you can better remember or internalize the spoken text. In addition, words have great power and it is good if you speak the words of the Bible. See also the Bible verses about (the power of) words (in German) article (from our other website Prophetenschule.org). You can also say the statements of the Bible out loud or in your own words, eg “I am a new creation in Jesus” (according to 2 Corinthians 5:17).

You can have someone else read the Bible text to you.
For example, when you meet other Christians and read the Bible together. You can also use an audio Bible (or “audio Bible”). They are available as CDs in stores or as audio files on the Internet.

You can read the Bible text together with other Christians.
You can also ask God the questions mentioned above. Or you read Bible texts on a certain topic etc.

You can even try singing a Bible text.
The Psalms in the Old Testament were originally hymns. You can sing a psalm in your own way and worship God with it too. Psalm 23 lends itself well to this. Or instead of psalms, other Bible texts (e.g. from the Song of Songs).

You can also creatively design a Bible text.
For example, you can draw a picture from a single sentence or even from a whole chapter that visually expresses the text. Or you paint what God told you in it. A picture can make you aware of the Bible text in a completely new way. Example: The vine and the branches from John 15.
Instead of painting pictures, there are also many other creative ideas: A collage of magazine clippings, something made of clay, a mind map (a kind of collection of ideas from individual words), etc.

You can also internalize a Bible text while walking.
Maybe even in a suitable place, for example in John 15 in a vineyard.

“How often should I read the Bible?”

You may be wondering how often you should read the Bible. There is no information in the Bible as to whether one should read it daily and how much one should read it.

However, in the New Testament, Jesus instructed the Jews who had believed in Him and His disciples to “keep in the word” (cf. John 8:31-32; John 15:7). Staying true to His Word doesn’t necessarily mean reading the Bible “as much as you can.” Nor does it necessarily mean reading it for several hours every day. For if such rules were universal, we could easily end up like the scribes who read the Scriptures “much” and “often” but found no nourishment from the Holy Spirit in them. As explained earlier, they had a religious zeal that did not help them in their relationship with God. So it can’t be what Jesus means by that.

Instead, Jesus wants us to have a living relationship with Him, and that’s what it’s all about. For he himself is the word and the truth in person. In the Bible you can read how He is and what His truth is. And that should lead you into the encounter with him.
That means practically: If you spend time with Jesus, then you can go to him inwardly or in spirit. And He really leads you into the truths of the Word. It can happen, for example, that unity with Him is revealed to you, as it is written in the Word, e.g. in John 17.
This is what is meant when Jesus says that we are to abide in Him and in His Word. It is something we can live and experience again and again. Not out of religious duty, but because His love draws us close to Him and we love to enjoy it.

And since you have a relationship with a person and not with a book, you can also ask Jesus specifically what or how much you should read in the Bible. You will then recognize that in your relationship with him.
Sometimes He may “only” reveal a single Bible verse to you. But that He sheds light on different facets on the basis of this single Bible verse. This is then a greater nutritional value than if you would read several chapters in a row on your own zeal.
It may also be your turn to read one chapter after the other. And if He shows you that, then that’s okay too. It should just always have a spiritual benefit. This means that you are in contact with God.

More tips and help about the Bible

Below are more Bible related articles to click on.

song of songs-ring-love-2


More Bible related articles:

  • “What about people who have never heard of the gospel?” 
    (Coming soon. An addendum to the “But What About People Who Have Never Heard of the Bible?” section.)

This article is one of the “4 steps on the path of discipleship”, see overview:


You can also find many other articles on the topic of discipleship/following after Jesus here:

 


Link to the children’s article in English (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Englisch):
Bible (Children’s Version)


Link to the children’s article in German (Link zum Kinder-Artikel auf Deutsch):
Bibel (Kinderversion)


Link to the detailed article in German (Link zum ausführlichen Artikel auf Deutsch):
Bibel (Ausführlicher Artikel)