Book, Chapter and Verse

As we get ready to “get back to school” I am reminded of an old phrase that i always heard growing up as a child with Christian parents. That phrase was “book, chapter and verse”. New Testament Christians always went to this when there were questions about a practice, whether that practice involved the work of the church or the worship services themselves. I would always hear the preacher from the pulpit use this phrase as both a defense for what is being done, also it was used to prove whether or not something could be done as a work of the church. It was also used to help format the worship service. Well as we look at this phrase what does it really mean to the New Testament Christian today? It should be a phrase that the Christian has always in the back of their mind, especially in this age of denominational growth. This phrase is not used by the denominational groups today because they simply cannot defend their beliefs from the Bible, in fact most denominations will reference some creed book for their “beliefs” and ignore the Bible. Is this where the church that Jesus died for is headed? I fear brethren that do something because a dear friend of theirs who was a Christian thought it was a good idea. We, as New Testament Christians, need to use this phrase today the same way it was used in generations past. It was also used in conjunction with phrase “speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent”. These phrases should be part of our thought process for all that we do as a local church. They define our thought process. They define where we get permission to do what we do as a group and as an individual. How does the Christian use these phrases today? We use them to defend against instrumental music as we are told to sing and make “melody in your heart to the Lord”. Eph. 5:19. That passage does not mention the use of an instrument just our voice. So then, how do we sing as a group? We see no example of a leader in scripture so can we have one? Paul in writing the first of two letters to the church in Corinth wrote the following: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Cor. 14:40. What that means is the worship service should have structure and proper flow to it. To have structure in any aspect of the worship service means one leads and the rest follow through that part of the service. The question then becomes who is the leader of any aspect of the worship service. The only examples we see in the New Testament leading in any part of the service is when we see men preach the gospel. Peter on the day of Pentecost. Paul, on Mars Hill in Athens. We do not see evidence of women being allowed to have a leading part in the worship service and we certainly don’t see children doing so and we also do not see men who are not baptized believers take a leading role in this area. This is what it is to use “book, chapter and verse” to prove something. We need to keep this practice else we become like those who have fallen away to follow their own wants and desires. There is a necessity to please God first in our lives and ourselves last if we are to be the servant that God desires us to be. May God bless you always as you seek to serve Him above all others.


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