What does it mean to "forsake the assembling of ourselves together"?

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Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hebrews 10:25

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

My question is, what exactly constitutes the breaking of this command?

I was recently admonished due to my job requiring me to get up earlier in the morning hence, needing to sleep earlier and rendering me unable to attend Bible study throughout the week since it does not start until 7pm which is late for me.

Is not going to Bible study breaking this command? The verse does not speak to frequency of gatherings so I'm not sure why it is a problem when I make sure to always attend service on the Lord's Day. Am I missing something?

Does every gathering of believers fall under this text and this command?
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
It may not include the doctrines and commandments of men. The LORD's Day -under the New Testament administration of the Covenant of Grace - is the God-ordained appointment for the gathering of His people corporately, wherein they are to spend the whole day in worship (secrete, private, and corporate), godly conference, and/or acts of mercy and necessity. Mid week prayer meetings, Bible study, etc. do not fall under this rubric, and the LORD Jesus Christ, as King of His church, has not required this at their hands to require you to frequent such things that are not commanded by Him, especially in lieu of your duties that are commanded by Him for the other 6 days of the week.

Does your church, or whoever admonished you, keep the sabbath day holy, eschewing all unnecessary work (or putting others to unnecessary work) on the LORD's Day? I know not, but I have seen an hypocrisy (charitably put, perhaps unwittingly) amongst those who do not believe in the perpetuity of the 4th Commandment (insofar as prohibit work and recreation on the sabbath day), that they are willing to lay a yoke on people that the LORD Himself has never put on them. Requiring attendance to "services" outside of the LORD's Day, which may not properly be called worship services, since not commanded by God. It is great to have mid week gatherings, praying as a congregation, etc., but to have some requirement for people to be there is an overstepping of authority, and something for which men will give account in their shepherding of the sheep.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I cannot make mid-week study due to my work. I choose to work Wednesday evenings, not because I don't want to attend study but because it provides a steady source of helpful income for my family. This is consistent with the creation mandate to work which is also codified in the 4C. I would not apply the same argument if this work was Sunday work, since the same 4C tells me to be otherwise occupied with worship.

If we apply the 4C to other days of the week in a way that binds the consciences of believers, we've added to God's law.

Mid-week studies are wonderful, but not mandatory. Sunday worship is wonderful and mandatory, unless there is a providential hindrance.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
It may not include the doctrines and commandments of men. The LORD's Day -under the New Testament administration of the Covenant of Grace - is the God-ordained appointment for the gathering of His people corporately, wherein they are to spend the whole day in worship (secrete, private, and corporate), godly conference, and/or acts of mercy and necessity. Mid week prayer meetings, Bible study, etc. do not fall under this rubric, and the LORD Jesus Christ, as King of His church, has not required this at their hands to require you to frequent such things that are not commanded by Him, especially in lieu of your duties that are commanded by Him for the other 6 days of the week.

Does your church, or whoever admonished you, keep the sabbath day holy, eschewing all unnecessary work (or putting others to unnecessary work) on the LORD's Day? I know not, but I have seen an hypocrisy (charitably put, perhaps unwittingly) amongst those who do not believe in the perpetuity of the 4th Commandment (insofar as prohibit work and recreation on the sabbath day), that they are willing to lay a yoke on people that the LORD Himself has never put on them. Requiring attendance to "services" outside of the LORD's Day, which may not be properly be called worship services, since not commanded by God. It is great to have mid week gatherings, praying as a congregation, etc., but to have some requirement for people to be there is an overstepping of authority, and something for which men will give account in their shepherding of the sheep.

It's just a buddy of mine. I get where he's coming from. He just wants to be sure that this doesn't lead to me isolating myself. Still, to say that by not attending I'm breaking a biblical command seems far-fetched.

I cannot make mid-week study due to my work. I choose to work Wednesday evenings, not because I don't want to attend study but because it provides a steady source of helpful income for my family. This is consistent with the creation mandate to work which is also codified in the 4C. I would not apply the same argument if this work was Sunday work, since the same 4C tells me to be otherwise occupied with worship.

If we apply the 4C to other days of the week in a way that binds the consciences of believers, we've added to God's law.

Mid-week studies are wonderful, but not mandatory. Sunday worship is wonderful and mandatory, unless there is a providential hindrance.


I completely agree. Thank you. I shouldn't be made to feel guilty when I have done nothing wrong. We shouldn't impose the 4C on any other day.

My church isn't confessional so I don't believe they think much about the Sabbath or the RPW or things of that nature. I've considered going to a confessional church but I've already become a member at this church and I dont know if it's okay to leave because of this kind of stuff or not..
 

J.EdwardNewhill

Puritan Board Freshman
My church requires that every member regularly attend on Sundays AND attend a weekly small group when they are in session. However, they provide so many different days and times for the small group that it is accomadating for almost any schedule. I don't think not being able to attend a Bible study mid-week even remotely qualifies abs forsaking the gathering
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
This is an area where churches regularly alienate their members:

1. I had an ailing acquaintance that had been sick for months and got a church discipline letter of admonishment in the mail even though they had never received an elder's visit to check on their condition.

2. I've seen "Not forsaking the assembly" used for encouraging Wednesday night service attendance when most of the congregation eats out on Sundays.

3. I have a friend who visited another church on Sunday to hear from a traveling missionary and ended up in a 2 hour elder's meeting answering questions about it.

Many times this passage is used as a hammer to beat people into compliance with church policies.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
My understanding of the verse is that it has a particular reference to Sabbath services. However, if a church's session has appointed a mid week prayer meeting for the congregation I think it is incumbent upon members of the congregation to attend that meeting unless they have a good reason not to (work or family commitments). I think it is clear that the church met throughout the week in the time of the Apostles and not only on the Sabbath.

As for bible studies I would not see that is a necessary thing for members to attend. But I'm sceptical of how Bible studies are usually conducted by the church today anyway.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Well now you are getting into matters of denominational polity not scriptural mandate.

I'm not sure how. The things which I have listed, as far as I can see, are prohibited by Scripture. The only permissable form of Bible Study that I can see is one lead by either the minister or elders.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not sure how. The things which I have listed, as far as I can see, are prohibited by Scripture. The only permissable form of Bible Study that I can see is one lead by either the minister or elders.
I don't see that in Scripture or in the Confessions. The Confessions only place that restriction on the sacraments.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I don't see that in Scripture or in the Confessions. The Confessions only place that restriction on the sacraments.

The Bible says that women are to be silent in the church and not to usurp the authority of men. The only teaching authority given in Scripture is to elders and ministers.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
The Bible says that women are to be silent in the church and not to usurp the authority of men.
A women's Bible study is not a worship service. So that does not apply. Scripture does allow older women to train younger women.

As far as teaching authority, what passage are you pointing to for that?
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I'm not sure how. The things which I have listed, as far as I can see, are prohibited by Scripture. The only permissable form of Bible Study that I can see is one lead by either the minister or elders.

I'll go one up on you. :) The teaching is to be done by Teaching elders or in other words Pastors, and not Ruling elders.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
A women's Bible study is not a worship service. So that does not apply. Scripture does allow older women to train younger women.

As far as teaching authority, what passage are you pointing to for that?

I don't see that Paul's command for women to be silent in the church is restricted to the worship service. They are not to teach and they are not to usurp authority. 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35: " Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

The idea that Paul meant this only for the worship service but would have been happy with women teaching the church in other contexts has no basis in Scripture and is clearly in opposition to all he says on this matter. As regards the older women teaching the younger women, what is it, exactly, that the aged women are to teach the younger women? Titus 2:4: "That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Not doctrine, not theology, not holding Bible studies exegeting Scripture but how to be chaste women, good wives and mothers. This does not require women's bible studies lead by women reading sentimental claptrap spewed out by the publishing houses as an easy money maker. The idea that a church would allow women to go off on their own and start teaching each other doctrine is absurd and this has been amply illsutrated by the reality of women's bible studies and conferences.

As for teaching authority, Paul is quite clear: 1 Timothy 2:12: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Who is given authority to teach in the church? 1 Timothy 3:1: "If a man desire the office of a bishop..." It is men who are to rule and teach in the church.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Bible says that women are to be silent in the church and not to usurp the authority of men. The only teaching authority given in Scripture is to elders and ministers.
I can teach my children the Scriptures and so can my wife, even though our son is male. I can teach my coworkers, friends, and family. I have weekly discussions from an older man in my church and he teaches me a great deal, not an elder. I learn a lot from many on this site, many of whom are not elders. You are not an elder (according to your signature), yet you are making a case for what the Scriptures teach on this subject.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I can teach my children the Scriptures and so can my wife, even though our son is male. I can teach my coworkers, friends, and family. I have weekly discussions from an older man in my church and he teaches me a great deal, not an elder.

Scripture tells parents- fathers and mothers- to nurture their children in the faith and for children to heed the teachings of their parents. That's completely different and not relevant to what I've been saying. As to your friends and coworkers: are you holding a bible study in your work? If so and I were your elder I'd tell you to stop. If you want to evangelise your coworkers and give them the reason for the hope which is within you I would say: go for it, we have Scriptural precept for that.

But, by the by, ideally it is better for the father to teach the whole family. That is the Biblical model.

Anyway I think we have rather veered off topic.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior

Because laymen are not sanctioned by Scripture to lead Bible studies. They don't have the authority. Scripture places the authority to teach the doctrines of the faith in men who meet certain qualifications and who are called and recognised by the church.

And as I write this the thought occurs to me that perhaps you are an office bearer lol. However, even if you are, I would say a workplace Bible study- even lead by an ordained elder- is rather irregular. Teaching should take place within the church. It is part of discipling.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
Because laymen are not sanctioned by Scripture to lead Bible studies. They don't have the authority. Scripture places the authority to teach the doctrines of the faith to men who meet certain qualifications and who are called and recognised by the church.
Again, where is the Scripture for that mandate?
And as I write this the thought occurs to me that perhaps you are an office bearer lol. However, even if you are, I would say a workplace Bible study- even lead by an ordained elder- is rather irregular. Teaching should take place within the church. It is part of discipling.
Scripture?

I've asked for Scripture several times on the matter of who is allowed to teach, you keep saying officers only but, unless I missed it, have yet to provide proof of that from Scripture.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
It is one of the things I mentioned and to which you responded by saying Scripture doesn't prohibit that. So I responded by arguing why it does.
No, you immediately went to these things you buy at the book store. And no, that is not what I was suggesting by women's Bible study. You assumed that.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Again, where is the Scripture for that mandate?

Scripture?

I've asked for Scripture several times on the matter of who is allowed to teach, you keep saying officers only but, unless I missed it, have yet to provide proof of that from Scripture.

I have given you Scripture: I have given you Scripture prohibiting women from teaching in any circumstance and Paul's reference to those who want to hold a position of the bishop, or elder. I have assumed that we are in agreement about ordained office. Maybe we're not but I have no intention of getting into a debate about that. The issue we have been discussing is whether women have the right to teach and I have shown that Paul makes it abundantly clear that he rejects the very notion of women teaching within the church and that example of the aged women is not teaching in the sense of teaching doctrine, which again is what we are talking about. Rather it is teaching how to be a chaste and godly woman which, again, does not have a bearing on the matter we are discussing which was Bible studies. If we need women's bible studies for aged women to teach younger women how to be godly ladies (which is so not what women's bible studies are about as far as I can tell from the literature and conferences) then I guess for 1900 years there was an epic fail in this department as I can't imagine there was ever one women's bible study in a serious, evangelical church until the 20th century. I would hazard the guess that bible studies as we understand them today didn't exist until very recently.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
Because laymen are not sanctioned by Scripture to lead Bible studies. They don't have the authority. Scripture places the authority to teach the doctrines of the faith in men who meet certain qualifications and who are called and recognised by the church.

And as I write this the thought occurs to me that perhaps you are an office bearer lol. However, even if you are, I would say a workplace Bible study- even lead by an ordained elder- is rather irregular. Teaching should take place within the church. It is part of discipling.
Are you an elder?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
As regards the older women teaching the younger women, what is it, exactly, that the aged women are to teach the younger women? Titus 2:4: "That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." Not doctrine, not theology, not holding Bible studies exegeting Scripture but how to be chaste women, good wives and mothers. This does not require women's bible studies lead by women reading sentimental claptrap spewed out by the publishing houses as an easy money maker.

We should be careful here. Can one teach about loving husbands and children without doctrine? Practical theology is theology. The theology that women teach is not an office, so it will necessarily look different than the instruction of an elected officer in church. Can women get together to discuss theology? If not, then it seems that they also cannot teach other women to love unless we insist on severing the relationship between biblical love and theology. I hope you are not willing to do this.

As for teaching authority, Paul is quite clear: 1 Timothy 2:12: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Who is given authority to teach in the church? 1 Timothy 3:1: "If a man desire the office of a bishop..." It is men who are to rule and teach in the church.

I do think that often times bible studies are good opportunities for non-ordained men to teach. If it is necessary for an elder to be able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2, 2 Tim. 2:2, 24), the congregation must witness this ability before electing to that office. To be clear, I'm not advocating non-officers to lead a formal worship service, but if non-officers are never allowed to publically teach, it is impossible to know if a man is qualified for elder in the first place.

_________________________

Perhaps it may be wise to start another thread on this subject as it is not very related to the OP...
 
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