Is Your Church a Bible-based Church?

During this blog post series, I am trying to help you assess your church by providing ten questions to evaluate your church’s approach to each of the purposes of the church: worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, and fellowship. In addition, I ask about your church’s biblical foundation and Great Commission commitment. Today’s questions focus on your church’s biblical foundation.

  1. Does the church’s worship guide or publicity material say anything about your congregation’s commitment to the Word? The silence of unwritten and unstated assumptions about the Bible might suggest more about your church than you intend.
  2. Based on the church’s worship service, would a new attendee think the Bible matters to your congregation? Your church members may already know that, but would a first-time attendee (even a non-believer) leave the service saying, “That church gives priority to the Bible”? How does your church show its commitment to the Word during worship services?
  3. Would a guest attending a small group think the Bible is important at your church? I have attended small group Bible studies that give little attention or time to the Bible. If  “Bible study” is actually only a name, your church may not be as Bible-based as you think.  
  4. Does the church intentionally teach new believers how to read and interpret the Bible? Telling a new believer to read the Word is much different than teaching a new believer how to read the Word. If your church does not intentionally equip new believers to read the Word, you are not building your church’s foundation.
  5. If I were to attend your church’s small groups for three years, how much of the Bible would I learn and discuss? Some churches study so much other curriculum that they never really teach a systematic study of the Word of God. In some cases, they unintentionally teach proof-texting more than good hermeneutics.
  6. What percentage of your church attendees of all ages could name the books of the Bible in order? Members naming the books of the Bible do not automatically result in a church having a biblical foundation, but what does it say if only a few members know the books? I’ve now reached the place where I will be requiring even my seminary students to name the books in order.
  7. Does the church memorize the Word together? The psalmist stored up the Word in his heart so he would not sin against God (Psa. 119:11). Does your congregation intentionally meditate on and memorize the Scriptures together?
  8. Does the church hold to biblical doctrine – and does it teach members that doctrine? A doctrinal statement is important, but it’s almost irrelevant if the church does not use it to ground its members in the Word. Could your church members state their doctrine using Bible texts to support it? 
  9. Does your church encourage attendees to bring their Bibles (even electronic versions) and provide copies for guests who do not have one? I admit my “older generation” bias here, but I am not convinced that only showing Bible texts on a screen encourages personal use of the Scriptures. Someone who does not bring his Bible on Sunday may not do much with it the rest of the week.
  10. How much time do your leaders spend in the Word together as they seek God’s vision for the church? A church leadership team that starts with the Word is more likely to be Bible-based than the team that turns to the Word only when necessary.

Suppose you were to score each question on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being "I'm very displeased with where my church is" and 10 being "I'm very pleased with where my church is"), what would your score be? What other questions would you add to this list?  

4 Comments

  • Dr. Lawless, most of these questions would score between a 4 and an 8, revealing much work yet left to do on our part to make the Word of God a top priority in our church.

  • jrrlawless says:

    Chuck I must admit our church would score pretty high except for the naming of the books in order. My first test in an under grad Inductive Bible Study class at Liberty was to write down all the books in order and spelled correctly. It was really hard. I don’t think very many of our members could name the books in order or even name all the books.

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