Once in a while I am asked if the devoutly religious we meet in our communities would really be interested in participating in personal Bible study about fundamentals (ie. old covenant new covenant relationship, Jesus as Savior, the condemning result of sin, saving faith in Jesus, repentance, confession, baptism, assembly, Lord’s Supper, singing, giving…). It is suggested that maybe a study should begin with questions they have and things on their minds.
Recently having finished our personal study with Betty Muia, David Norris of the Anaheim congregation and I asked her what she thought about the study. We also asked her why she said yes to our invitation to study fundamentals, though she considered herself well educated spiritually and devoted to the pursuit of spiritual things in the Methodist tradition.
Betty said she accepted our invitation for personal study because our initial conversation, at the door, made her interested in what we might present in study. Our approach was stating that we’d like to show her how interesting Bible study could be, asking if she thought most people would go to Heaven and inviting her to considerJesus’ answer by reading Matthew 7:13,14
Betty said that our study of fundamentals with her was a good place to begin because the topics covered were after all the core of the faith. She suggested that reviewing the fundamentals allowed her to take a fresh look at them, which revealed some deficits in her faith that need correcting. Which by the way she said she needed to start doing right away, the first of which was being baptized for the purpose of having her sins washed away calling on Jesus name (Acts 22:16).
Betty suggested that our study’s emphasis on reading the scripture for understanding and then answering questions about it rather than just reading or listening to what people say about any given scripture, has helped her begin to read the Bible in a new way.
Fundamentals first every time? If we hope for people’s salvation, what better place to begin than confirming the fundamental building blocks of true saving faith in Jesus.
“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder,…And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.” 2 Pet 1:12,13,15
“This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:25,26
There may be some exceptions to the idea of fundamentals of the faith first based on people’s immediate need for evidences, comfort, encouragement, ect. but by in large answers to the questions most people think to ask are not as important in priority to their souls salvation as confirming the fundamentals of the faith.
Share Jesus with people and prioritize confirming the fundamentals with them for their souls sake.