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Question and Answer

How does the OPC view home Bible studies?

Question:

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

Answer:

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.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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