How many times have we used Christian phrases or words with the expectation that our listener knows exactly what we mean? Perhaps the Small Group essential of a “Christ-Centered Focus on the Word” sounds like this sort of “Christianese.” Instead of a throwaway term, this essential is the backbone of Small Group culture, and it should also be the backbone of our lives as believers.
In order to understand why we should practice this “Christ-centered Focus on the Word” together, we must start with Christ’s view of the Word, then look at how we should use the Word personally, then examine how we should use the Word in community.
What Did Jesus Show Us?
How did Jesus view the Word of God, and how did He use the Word of God? Jesus viewed and used the Word of God as:
- True (John 17:17)
- Sufficient (Matthew 4:4)
- Necessary (Matthew 4:4; 5:19)
- Authoritative (Matthew 5:17-19)
- Clear (Matthew 22:31)
- And ultimately about him (Luke 24:27)
Therefore, the Church is called to have this same understanding when reading and applying the Word of God.
Using the Word Personally
Here are some examples of how we should exercise this same attitude towards God’s Word personally:
- I approach the stories and commands in God’s Word as true, ready to submit to what God says as true instead of the ups-and-downs of my feelings.
- I am sufficiently supplied with everything I need to live a godly life through God’s Word. So if I’m struggling in an area of sin (like pride or anger), I must first ask what the Scripture says about my sin.
- God’s Word is necessary for me to live according to God’s will, so I must meditate on it day and night.
- I believe the Word of God is authoritative, so it should always take precedence in my life over other opinions.
- I trust that the Word of God isn’t only for an “elite” people but is clear enough for everyone to know its central truth. Therefore, I need to remember again-and-again the gospel message and rehearse how it applies to my life.
- Jesus said that all of Scripture points to him and his work. Therefore, I should read every book of the Bible as having a greater meaning that points to Jesus and his work.
Using the Word in Community
A “Christ-Centered Focus on the Word” isn’t meant to be an isolated experience. God intends for his Word to be used in the community of believers. We are commanded to “[l]et the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). Our Small Group is a place where we:
- Discuss and apply the Word in our discussion times
- Discuss and apply the Word in how we care for each other
Whether it is in our formal discussion times or in more informal conversations and prayer times—we are always looking to take God’s Word and apply it to our own hearts and the hearts of those in our group.
Are there people in your group that lack in one of the six areas above? It is your job as a fellow Small Group member to help them grow in that area. Maybe you’ve just realized that there are areas that you need to grow in how you approach God’s Word. If that’s the case, then use the community around you to help strengthen yourself in that area. After all a “Christ-centered Focus on the Word” is meant to be part of the fabric of every Small Group and a lifestyle for every believer.