I was among my friends recently in a Bible study session. After two bible readings, I sensed the discomfort of the brother beside me. Before I could ask him what was wrong, he raised his hand to speak.
'Brethren, if we are in the presence of God let us respect Him. How can we be reading the scripture and be sitting down? '
CThere were 'ahhs' and different levels of murmuring. The bible study was very informal with about twelve of us present. I was still thinking of how best to respond to the brother when another one spoke.
'See ehn, brother James, if you are not comfortable with the way we are reading the bible here maybe you should join another group. Our God is not a slave master and nobody is going to hell because he's reading the bible while sitting.'
'Really? ' Bro James started again, 'you want to take the grace of God for granted? Is it because we are not in the old testament era anymore? Because God is now gentle, you want to disrespect Him? Even Jesus stood up to read the scriptures! '
'Where did the Bible say that? ' Sis Tabitha asked, 'I've never read that in my Bible.'Of course you've not, ' Bro James replied, gloating ' a lot of you are forming bible scholars here and you don't know the scripture'.
He adjusted his tie and moved to where the host was. Facing us, he continued. 'If you look at the book of Luke chapter 4 verse 16, you'll see how Jesus Christ stood up to read the scriptures in the synagogue. If our Lord Jesus Christ is showing respect to God this way, who are we to disrespect God. '
'But I can read my Bible anytime and anywhere now,' Sis Joan said, 'it is not realistic to say I have to stand up everytime. Will I stand up in the bus? In my room? In my office? Does it make sense to you? '
As Bro James started to reply, the host interrupted him. 'Please let us have our seats.' He made sure that everyone was seated before he continued.
'This matter is not enough to cause fight among us. I understand that we have different opinions on this issue. But are we saved because of how we read the bible? Are we saved because we even read the bible in the first place? If we read the bible while sitting or standing or on our knees, will it affect the status of our salvation? '
He paused and looked around before he continued again, 'If you want to stand up or sit down to read the bible, it's up to you. But to disrupt this bible study, or to tell someone to stop attending because of his preference is wrong. It is our faith in Jesus alone that saved us. Whatever cannot save us or cause us to grow spiritually is completely irrelevant.'
And so the bible study continued.