Volume 1 February 15, 2002 Issue 1

Welcome to the first issue of DILIGENCE.

This publication is a result of encouragement we received from the leadership of the Central Church of Christ.

During the past several months there has been an emphasis on congregation members finding a ministry for which they have a passion. Sherri and I have had many discussions about the idea of a passion filled ministry.

One constant passion we have had for nearly forty years has been the passion we share for Bible study. We hope this publication will encourage each of its readers to have a greater desire to study the Word of God.

Much is written in Scripture concerning the need for continual study of God's Word. It is through study, that we can find our way to salvation, and then continue to grow as we become equipped to live as God intends. The Word is powerful.

Many scriptures tell us of the need for study. The following verses give some insight for the reason we have chosen this as a ministry. It is our desire that you may share our passion for Bible study.

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." NIV

2 Peter 1:20-21 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretations. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." NIV

2 Peter 3:3 "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires." NIV

2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." NIV

Galatians 1:6-8 "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" NIV

10 Good Reasons for Individual Bible Study

  1. Bible study aids us in knowing God's intentions for mankind.
  2. We gain confidence as we gain knowledge in the Word of Truth.
  3. Bible study is an individual responsibility. God expects each of us to know His Word.
  4. The Bible is written for our understanding. We can understand it with study.
  5. The Bible is written for mankind for all times and all people.
  6. The Bible is the Word of God and the only inspired source (written or otherwise) of information from God to man.
  7. We can discern (know) truth in light of the Bible.
  8. We are commanded to grow in Spirit and Truth. Knowledge is essential for growth.
  9. Knowledge helps us avoid being blown by every wind of doctrine.
  10. God's word is true and truth is timeless and unchanging.

    Next Issue: A Peculiar People

Why A Passion For Bible Study?

I was raised in the Church. My father was an Elder and many uncles were ministers and evangelists. One good family friend was an evangelist who also wrote Bible commentaries. My exposure to the Word was constant and sometimes more than I wanted. I must admit that it was not until I met Sherri, my spouse of 37 years, did my desire to know the Word blossom. Her background was equally as involved in religious instruction but as a Roman Catholic. Thus I was challenged to know why I held the beliefs that I did and be able to defend them to a person who was equally well trained in her beliefs.

Over the course of ten years Sherri and I continued our efforts to resolve the differences that existed between our religious beliefs. It was not until we let the Bible speak that there became a way to resolve those differences. Added to our own efforts were the constant prayers of those close to us.

There were many difficult times. There were times when we had to completely stop discussing anything related to Biblical subjects. Our respective families held to their beliefs and did not know how to be supportive, and thus the subject was avoided. To say that it was awkward is an understatement.

Out of desperation we agreed to do two things to allow for the possibility of resolution to our religious differences. First, we agreed to attend church with each other. This meant that we would attend Catholic Mass and also Church of Christ services each week. This we did for at least six years. (I was away in the military for two years). Second, we agreed that we would continue to study the Bible and share a prayer that God would lead us in truth.

This put both of us at risk of having to change from the way we were raised. This arrangement lasted until we were in our eighth year of marriage at which time Sherri became a New Testament Christian. Her decision was a result of her honest search for the truth. She was willing to do what the Bible instructed one to do when they come in contact with the truth. Despite the difficulty involved in leaving her family, she did what the Bible instructed and she placed God above her earthly family, and accepted Christ in Baptism. She was added to the Church as we read in Scripture. Our study has continued because we believe that it is necessary to know the truth to be able to defend the truth.

We chose to not have children until the religious issue was resolved and in the twelth year of our marriage we had the first of our two children. Both of our sons are faithful Christians who share in our passion for adhering to the truth.

We have lived in seven different cities during the 37+ years of our marriage, and have been blessed with the opportunity to teach both individuals and classes. The last fifteen years we have worshiped with the Central Church of Christ. A lot of joy comes from the learning we gain each time we have the opportunity to teach.

Adhering to God's Word is challenging today. To hold to the teachings that just a few decades ago were accepted as the Gospel truth only to find them considered to be optional today, is not only a test of our Christian resolve to continue to be true to the Word, but also a great encouragement to continue to be diligent students of the Bible.

We believe that God and His Word is the same past, present and future. Our confidence is in His unchanging nature. It is the unchanging message that we will be discussing in our issues of Diligence.

We hope that you will share the joy that we have in the Lord and in the Word that He has preserved for our use. And we invite you to join us on our journey of Bible study through coming issues of Diligence!

When we express something in an issue that you find to be incorrect or different today, we wish you would take the time to let us know. Our desire to adhere to the truth has not ended, and if we find that we are in error in our understanding of the Scriptures we want to know so that we may adjust our thinking.

"Diligence" is a publication of:
Dennis and Sherri Owens — Cincinnati, Ohio