The regular meeting of the saints for prayer and worship and life shared together in fellowship and concern for one another has traditionally been seen as a foundational spiritual discipline for the church. As Dutch Catholic humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) argues, this pattern was demonstrated in the New Testament, as seen in Acts 2:42-47, where by the power of the Spirit, those who confessed Christ came together without regard for their worldly status and united under the banner of the Lord.

The Spirit Produced a Supernatural Unity

Above all, however, that heavenly Spirit produced mutual benevolence and concord in all he inspired. Certainly Jesus had bidden his disciples to be recognized by this special sign, that love for one another held them together. For all who had believed the gospel frequently gathered together in one place and exhorted and comforted themselves by mutual discourse. There were many, and all were admitted without respect to persons: young, old, women, men, slaves, free, poor, rich. Indeed, the love of Christ implanted in their hearts joined together such disparate people with so much oneness of heart that they regarded all things as common among themselves, which is something rare even among genuine brothers.

Paraphrase of Acts 2:42–47.

Acts, eds. Esther Chung-Kim and Todd R. Hains. Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. VI, p. 36.


RCS Series: Spiritual Disciplines

Leupold Scharnschlager | Christians Must Meet Regularly

Johann Spangenberg | Knock on God’s Door with the Hammer of Prayer

Phillip Melanchthon | Daniel and Confession

John Calvin | Fasting and Signs of Humility

Desiderius Erasmus | The Spirit Produced a Supernatural Unity

Johannes Brenz | Good Works Are Our Duty, Not Our Merit

Konrad Pellikan | The Blessing of Giving

John Donne | The Sweet Honey of the Word of God

Tilemann Hesshus | For As Often As You Eat This Bread

Juan de Valdés | Our Life Is a Prayer Before God