Lesson 3 in the Personal Bible Study Series
In this lesson, after question 6 is answered, briefly explain the diagrams on the opposite page.
The first one (“Christ’s church”) shows one head (Christ) and one body (the church). You can ask, “Does this illustrate what the Bible teaches?” You can also explain that the Bible often uses physical things to illustrate spiritual concepts, and we can easily understand that all normal human beings have one head and one body; and this is what the Lord’s church is like.
The next diagram shows a deviation from the original design. A few hundred years after the church had been established, a number of changes had been made (as the Bible predicted, e.g. Acts 20:28-30), and an organization had evolved that was completely different from the church we read about in the Bible. There was one body (called “the Catholic Church”), but there were two heads — Christ was acknowledged as the head in heaven and the pope was considered the head on earth. Is this what the Bible teaches? (You may want to share Matt. 28:18 to show that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth).
A few hundred years after the Roman Catholic Church had been established, a number of people realized that there were many things different from what the Bible taught, and they attempted to make changes (or reforms), and this was the beginning of the Reformation Movement. The Catholics accused these reformers of “protesting” against the Catholic Church, thus they were called “Protestants.” These Reformation leaders had good intentions, but when they died their followers merely adopted the teachings of these men rather than following the Bible alone. They all acknowledged Christ as the only head, but now there were many different bodies, all wearing different names, teaching different things, worshipping in different ways, etc. (You may want to write the names of local denominations in some of the circles of the last diagram). Is this according to what the Bible teaches?
After the next two passages are covered, you can say something like: “This is what we’re trying to do, simply restore the one church we read about in the Bible.”
Lesson 3: The Church (PDF version)
Instructions: Read each passage of Scripture, then answer the questions underneath. For additional Scripture references, refer to the corresponding numbers at the end of the lesson.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH
1. Hebrews 5:8-9
Jesus is the Saviour of whom?
2. Ephesians 5:23
Jesus is the Savior of what?
3. Ephesians 1:22-23
What is the body of Christ?
4. Ephesians 4:4-6
How many bodies does Christ have?
5. Matthew 16:16-18
What did Jesus promise to build?
Whose church did Jesus promise to build?
How many churches did Jesus promise to build?
WHAT DOES THE LORD DESIRE OF HIS CHURCH?
7. John 17:20-21
What did Jesus pray concerning those who would believe in Him?
What kind of unity does Christ and the Father have?
Do we see this kind of unity in the religious world today?
8. 1 Corinthians 1:10
What kind of unity is pictured here?
Does this describe the current situation in the religious world?
A. Must one be a member of Christ’s body (church) to be saved?
B. Which church do you want to be a part of?
Additional Scripture References
1. Matthew 7:21-27; James 1:21-25; 1 John 2:3-4, 17, 29
2. Acts 2:47; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 1:13-14
3. Ephesians 2:16-19; 4:12, 16; 5:23, 29, 39; Colossians 1:18, 24
4. Romans 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 2:16; 5:23; Col. 3:15
5. Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 12:23
6. Matthew 28:18; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:13
7. John 10:30; Rom. 15:5-7; Philippians 1:27; 2 Cor. 13:11
8. Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 12:25; 1 Peter 3:8
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).