Reformed Eve is a daughter of God, which makes her royalty - no matter what the world throws at her. She straightens her crown quite often.
Why Community Matters
The Bible is a gorgeous book in numerous ways, but one of the unique aspects about the Bible is that while it has two clear sections (Old and New Testament), it is one unified book. The Old Testament mostly provides a history regarding the community of God's people. The New Testament focuses on one Person, and the community In the Foundation of Spiritual Formation, the Old Testament relies heavily on the relationship between God and the individual. The New Testament has a clearer blueprint when it comes to achieving spiritual/community formation, and it's through Jesus Christ as our direct line between us and God. While the New Testament focused on Jesus Christ as the leader, example, and person to follow, Acts 2:42-47 shows us that the apostles and the aforementioned 'chosen' individuals were to represent God on Earth. Acts 2:42-47 mentions that the apostles devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship. They broke bread and shared prayers. "Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Every day, they continued to meet in the temple courts. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who was in need. They ate in each other's homes, shared food, and had happy and sincere hearts, raising God, and enjoying the company of one another. This community verse ends with this: "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Later, Acts 4:32-35 mentioned that the community of believers shared one heart and one mind. They, again, shared everything they had. The apostles testified about the resurrection of Jesus, and the grace of God was so strong within them, that God's community at the time was not self-serving.i
Old Testament Community and Spiritual Formation
The Old Testament is God trying to keep His Chosen People (the Jews) on the right path. The Old Testament community received blessings through mostly physical manifestations in accordance with the Old Covenant, as mentioned in Deuteronomy 29:9: "9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do."ii In the Old Testament, God talked to his community through chosen people that revealed the word of God. Examples of these special people included judges (Samson, Moses), patriarch figures (Abraham, Noah, Enoch), prophets (Isaiah, Samuel, Elias). This was not seen in the New Testament as much. The community understood that sin didn't just affect the individual, it affected the whole community. An example of this is Achan's sin as mentioned in Joshua 7. God clearly stated that taking any 'riches' from Jericho would bring grave consequences to God's community. Achan stole items, hid them, and was discovered. The sin of Achan affected the complete nation/community of Israel. Since the community was in a covenant relationship with God, when one member, like Achan, disobeyed, the entire nation failed in their relationship with God. The sin of Achan defiled the community members, not just himself.iii One can compare this to what happened to Adam and Eve, and its effect on humankind. Their rebelling, like Achan's, affected the communion of God and his community. David's sin had the same effect on the Old Testament community as well - the days of the community were numbered and many lives were lost due to David's sin, even though he started off as very promising. "We forget that the community has a life and character and a will, and that it may defy the will of God and therefore sin, to its own grave hurt and the hurt of all its members. The religious leaders of Isreal never forgot that. They recognized that man has sociality as well as individuality, and that hte community as well as the individual may have relations with God. iv
New Testament Community and Spiritual Formation
In regard to the New Testament, the focus is mostly on God's 'church', as mentioned in Matthew 16:18. "18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."v The New Testament community enjoyed New Covenant spiritual blessings, as mentions in Ephesians 1:3: "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." Paul mentions that God's new community 'is' the body of Christ. It may be a hard concept to grasp immediately, but in Romans 12:4-5 it mentions that 'for just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have the same function, so in Christ, we, through many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.'vi In his dealings with the community, Jesus focused mostly on families. Jesus helped the community through helping individual families - In his own way-a way shocking to partisans of family unity founded on hierarchy and fear-Jesus binds up the broken ties of a couple, returns a son to his father, a child to its mother. He does not triumphally cure the woes of families, but he enables related people, even though they remain the victims of suffering, to become more sensitive and more authentic.vii
Regardless of the differences, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 shows us that community is important. Solomon mentioned that two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if the two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.viii
i Robb, Graham. Life Application Study Bible: King James Version Brown. Place of Publication Not Identified: Tyndale House Publishers, 2010.
ii Robb, Graham. Life Application Study Bible: King James Version Brown. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2010.
iii Robb, Graham. Life Application Study Bible: King James Version Brown. 2010.
iv Rowley, Harold Henry. “Individual and Community in the Old Testament.” Theology Today 12, no. 4 (January 1956): 491–510. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLA0000650515&site=ehostlive&scope=site.
v Graham Robb, Life Application Study Bible: King James Version Brown 2010)
vi Graham Robb, 2010 vii Bovon, Francois. "Family and Community in the New Testament." Sewanee Theological Review 45, no. 2 (2002): 127, http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F214716836 %3Faccountid%3D12085.
viii Robb, 2010
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