September 18, 2011 Q & A

How does the OPC view home Bible studies?


How does the OPC view home Bible studies? Are they discouraged unless led by an elder?


One of the key principles of a presbyterian church is that the local elders (session) are responsible to determine what is most spiritually profitable and biblically wise as they lead a congregation. The OPC, as a denomination, therefore, does not set a policy about something like home Bible studies. Some OP churches have them, some don't. Some churches will have a Wednesday prayer meeting and Bible study, other OP churches will have small group Bible studies, perhaps led by an elder or a leader appointed or under the oversight of the elders. We would say that it rests with the session to determine what is best for that particular congregation.

This is part of the shepherding responsibility of the elders that Paul describes in Acts 20:28, seeking the spiritual profit and nurture of the flock over which they have oversight. The elders are responsible before God for all the spiritual direction in the church where the Lord has placed them. This doesn't mean that they have to do everything themselves, but it does mean that they are to remain aware of what is happening and seek to keep things focused on the Bible and be gospel-centered.

So, in summary, there is no policy about home Bible studies. There is the general rule that the elders exercise oversight in the congregation and must be responsible for all the spiritual life of the congregation and will choose what things, including Bible studies, that will be helpful.



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