When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. (1 Cor. 14:26)
As I was researching church history, I began to recognize how essentially communal early Christian life was. The book of Acts showcased how believers gathered together, prayed for one another, read Scripture aloud, and provided for each other’s needs.
Unfortunately, Christian life no longer includes these holy features in such a primary way. We gather only on Sundays (if that) and continue living individualistic spiritual lives that too often lack the depth and layered, relational understanding to which God calls us.
Yet, we see clearly in 1 Corinthians 14 that God desires the kind of community seen in Acts for his church today. “When you come together,“ says verse 26, “each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.”
We aren’t meant to understand God’s purposes in isolation. In verse 27, it continues, reminding us to have others helping us interpret what is said, for the good of the body. We are fashioned to holiness in the presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In our worship, discernment, discipline, orderliness, and obedience, we need the church. As fallen human beings, we’ll always be striving for holiness, but God provides the tools for that mission in the people he’s placed around us in the local church. We will never thrive in the realities of holiness without the consecrated body to uphold us.
Make sure your recipe for holiness includes a strong biblical community.
Ericka Andersen Sylvester is a member of Waterline Church in Fishers (IN). She’s a wife and mom to two and enjoys writing, running, and podcasting.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.