Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" The man replied, "How can I unless someone instructs me?" And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. Acts 8:30-31
Individual Bible study is invaluable. It is some of the richest, deepest time we can ever invest in. God moves in our lives and changes us when we read His Word. If we stop at individual Bible study, however, we miss a critical step. The Bible is not meant to only be studied individually. We are also meant to study the Bible together in community.
When we study the Bible in community, so many incredible things happen. First of all, we can talk about God's Word together. Second, we can ask questions when we do not understand, and we can encourage each other to live out what we have read. There is a richness that happens when we get together to study God's Word with a group of people.
One of the times when we can see the value in studying Scripture with others can be found in Acts 8. In Acts 8, Philip met a man who was a treasurer of Ethiopia. This man was reading from the book of Isaiah out loud. Hearing this, Philip was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to the man to see if he understood what he was reading. He responded, saying, "How can I unless someone instructs me?" Next, Philip joined the man and talked about the Scripture he was studying with him. Together, they studied the book of Isaiah, and ultimately Philip told this man the good news about Jesus. This Ethiopian man was so moved by the Scripture and his conversation with Philip that he wanted to be baptized. This is the power of God moving when we study His Word in community. We can ask questions, and we can encourage each other to grow in our faith.
Have you experienced the power of studying Scripture in community? If so, you know how valuable it is. When we are gathered together with other believers and open God's Word, He moves. He changes us from the inside out. Praise God for the gift of believers and studying the Word together!
One of the amazing ways to study God's Word in community is to join a Sagebrush Small Group. Are you part of a Sagebrush Small Group? If so, spend some time reflecting on the ways God has grown you and your group through your Bible study together and write about it. Thank God for your group and all He has done in and through your group. If you are not in a group, there is no better time to join than now! Sign up for a group here today!
Read Acts 8:26-40 (NLT)
As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.
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