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First Century Patterns
The Bible Students are a small religious body who are following in the faith and character of the early Christian Church. We have been in existence for over 100 years. The Bible Students are located in many parts of the United States with many groups in the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South East Asia and Africa. Like the first century Christians, we meet in homes, rented rooms and, in some cases, our own halls. Acts 1:13-14, 2:46-47, 18:7, 19:9, 28:30
We are a lay community patterned after first century Christianity. Each congregation is called an "ecclesia" (the New Testament word for Church). We have no paid clergy or church hierarchy. Members of each congregation are addressed as 'Brother' or 'Sister', and ALL are involved in organizing our activities. All members contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God. A strong common belief binds our brotherhood together. Rom 12:4-8; 1Cor 12:4-27; Gal 3:28
We accept the Bible [Old and New Testament] as our guide and believe it to be the inspired word of God.
The purpose of the Bible Students Association and this website; is set for the defense of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated -
Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:6.
Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones of the Word of God. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Peter 1:5-11
Its further mission is to - "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which ...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." - "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed." Ephesians 3:5-10.
To "show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:4
To reach others of the household of faith. Heb. 11:1, 6; Gal. 1-3
To witness the love and plan of God to all who have a hearing ear. Isa. 61:1-3.
Free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into the fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken - according to the Divine wisdom granted unto us to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God.
A Brief History
The Bible Students had their humble beginning in the late 1860s. In 1868, a young businessman named Charles Taze Russell, who feared the Lord, began studying with a small band of Christians independent of the creeds of the Churches, they soon discovered that many of the doctrines that were popularly taught and believed were inconsistent with the Bible. Dissatisfied, Mr. Russell devoted himself to a careful independent study of the Scriptures. He made no claim to any vision or personal revelation.
The work of Mr. Russell attracted the support of others in America and Britain who were convinced of the truth of his conclusions. Together they formed the Bible Students Association. Since then, Bible Student communities have been established in many countries all over the world. [for a more fuller detailed account of Charles Taze Russell and the Bible Students, please visit the following Link: Soldiers of the Cross
What we believe
The Bible is God's only revealed message to mankind, given to bring responsive individuals to the obedience of faith. The Bible is our only authority and we teach that it should be read prayerfully and with care at every opportunity. Acts 17:11; Rom 16:26; 2Tim 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:20-21
There is one Almighty God, the Father, of whom are all things. 1 Cor. 8:6; Psa. 83:18; 90:1, Ex. 3:14; 6:3; John 14:28
There is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things. 1 Cor. 8:6; John 3:16; Col. 1:15-18
The Holy Spirit is the divine will, influence, or power of the Almighty Creator. Psa. 33:6-9; 1 Cor. 2:9, 10; Joel 2:28, 29; Luke 11:13
Because of disobedience, Adam was condemned to death - not eternal torment. Gen. 2:16, 17; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Rom. 6:23; 5:17
The seed of Abraham is in Christ, Head and body members, who sacrifice their earthly hopes in exchange for the heavenly hope of becoming heirs of God. Gen. 22:15-18; Gal. 3:16, 29; 4:28-31; Rom. 12:1; Psa. 50:5
The New Covenant, whose mediator between God and man is the Christ, will be sealed with the precious blood of the dear Redeemer after all of his merit has passed through the fully consecrated of the Gospel Age. The New Covenant will be inaugurated with those with faith in Israel, but in the course of time all others will have a full opportunity to become the earthly seed of Abraham. Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:7-12; Gen. 25:1; Acts 3:22; Heb. 9:22-26
The man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:9
Shortly after the spiritual phase of the kingdom is fully set up, the heavenly Father, by or through the elect Christ, will terminate the trouble, and then the earthly phase of the kingdom will begin at the time the ancient worthies are resurrected to become princes in all the earth. Zech. 14:3; Matt. 24:22; Heb. 11:35-40; Psa. 25:16
The soul (being) who refuses to accept and obey the better Mediator will be destroyed or devoured (not tormented). Fire is a forceful symbol of destruction - not preservation. Acts 3:23; Ezek. 18:4; Rev. 20:9
So what's the Difference?
Often we are asked, "How are you different from other Christian groups"? Apart from our distinctive organization (with no clergy or hierarchy), some of our doctrines are quite different from most churches. For example:
We reject the doctrine of a 'Trinity'. This doctrine developed 300 years after Jesus and His Apostles died as a result of disputes within the orthodox church. The Bible teaches that Jesus was the Son of God, nowhere does it speak of him being 'God the Son'.
We also reject the idea of an "immortal soul" that goes to heaven at death. The Bible teaches that the only hope for eternal life is through a resurrection when Jesus returns.
We believe that baptism is an outward manifestation of ones consecration to the Lord, after they have been enlightened by His Holy Spirit. We believe that sprinkling of babies is not baptism.
The Lord's Return
We believe that the Lord's promised return is not physical to the eye, but spiritual, an invisible presence.
Our Way of Life
The Bible gives effective direction to our lives. We try to rely fully upon God and develop a faith which is active in prayer and good works. At the same time, however, we recognize that salvation is by grace.
With God's help, we seek to please and obey him every day, striving to imitate Christ who faithfully obeyed his Father. We therefore endeavor to be enthusiastic in work, loyal in marriage, generous in giving, dedicated in preaching and happy in our God.
A widespread custom amongst Bible Students is to read the Bible every day using a reading plan which enables us to systematically read the Old and the New Testaments once, each year. Of course, many read much more widely than this.
We may also attend one or more evening Bible Study classes each weekday. Each Sunday, we attend two meetings. These meetings vary between ecclesias. There are "Bible Studies", "Topical Studies", "Testimony Meetings" and "Discourses." Attendance at these meetings is the focus of our religious life.
There are also monthly conventions sponsored by various ecclesias and associations and an International Conventions held outside of the United States.
We also have Sunday Schools for young ones of various ages; During the summer, Bible Students sponsor Youth Camps for Bible Study and fellowship.
Some members travel overseas on mission work; others care for the elderly in our retirement centers. There are several monthly magazines to read.
The Bible Students are a close-knit community working in God's service in whatever ways we can.