Order is a concept that appears throughout the Bible. God is a God of order, not chaos. He has established order in creation, in society, in the church, and in our personal lives. Maintaining order is upholding God’s intentions. Disorder leads to destruction and death.
The Bible has a lot to say about order and structure in many aspects of life. God is not a God of confusion or chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33). He has designed systems and patterns that allow the world to function properly when followed. Living an orderly life is closely tied to obedience, self-control, and wisdom.
Some key principles we will explore about order in the Bible:
- God imposed order on creation in the beginning and established natural laws.
- God has given us commandments and principles to bring order to society.
- Structure and leadership roles bring order to the church.
- Personal self-control and wise planning bring order to our lives.
- Walking in step with the Holy Spirit brings order to our relationship with God.
- Ultimately, God will bring perfect order and justice when Jesus returns.
When we live orderly and structured lives according to God’s design, we experience peace, fruitfulness, and blessing. Disorder leads to strife, destruction, and pain. As Christians, we can embrace discipline and self-control through the power of the Holy Spirit to live wisely and bring glory to God.
God Imposed Order on Creation
In the beginning, the earth was formless and void, covered in darkness (Genesis 1:2). But God systematically organized and arranged creation over 6 days to establish order from chaos. On each day, He added an element – light, sky, land, seas, vegetation, animals, humans – and declared each stage “good” (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25).
The pinnacle of creation was when God made humans in His own image on the 6th day (Genesis 1:27). God commanded them to continue organizing creation by caring for the plants and animals He had made (Genesis 1:28-30). The world was originally created to function in perfect harmony according to God’s design.
Even after sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God maintained order in creation through natural laws. Ecclesiastes 1:2-7 describes cycles like the sun rising and setting, winds blowing, and rivers flowing that continue in an orderly pattern established by God.
The regularity of day and night, the seasons, the tides, and many other natural phenomena reveal the order God imposed to govern His physical creation. Scientists can describe these laws but not entirely explain them, because the universe depends fully on God’s sustaining power.
- God imposed order on the originally chaotic creation.
- Each stage was called “good” – order is pleasing to God.
- Humans were to continue organizing creation by caring for plants and animals.
- Natural laws reveal the order God established to govern creation.
- Science describes but cannot entirely explain the laws, which require God’s power to sustain them.
God Established Order for Society
God did not just establish order in the physical realm but also in the social and civic realms. After the worldwide flood in Genesis 6-8, God commanded Noah and his family in Genesis 9:1 to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” They were tasked with re-establishing orderly civilization.
The Mosaic Law provided the Israelites with civic structure and social regulation to allow their new nation to run smoothly. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) served as a constitution and set the basic guidelines for orderly behavior. The book of Leviticus laid out detailed laws to govern almost every area of life – family relationships, property rights, business dealings, justice and punishment, religious practices, and more.
The purpose was to organize the Israelites into a just, ethical, and God-honoring society where people could live peacefully and prosperously in right relationship with God and each other. Although these laws were specifically intended for the nation of Israel, they modeled the kinds of just laws and structures that lead to order in any society.
The wisdom literature like Proverbs encourages forethought, planning, diligence, honesty, prudence and other virtues that promote stability and order in societal relationships. Walking in righteousness brings blessing and prosperity to a nation, while wickedness and injustice bring rot and collapse.
Order Brings Structure to the Church
The early church encountered various threats of disorder but was guided by the Holy Spirit and biblical principles to establish proper systems and structures. In Acts 6:1-6, the apostles appointed deacons to manage food distribution so they could focus on preaching and prayer. Establishing this leadership office brought order and resolved grumbling.
Paul’s pastoral epistles contain instructions for orderly administration of the church. Qualifications and duties of elders/overseers and deacons are laid out (1 Timothy 3). Church discipline processes for wayward elders are given (1 Timothy 5:19-21). Requirements for church widows to receive ministry support are delineated (1 Timothy 5:9-10). Orderly transfer of sound doctrine is emphasized (2 Timothy 2:2). And more.
The spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament are tools God has given the church for orderly functioning in unity as Christ’s Body (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4). Specialized roles like pastor-teacher equip Christians for service and build up the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Orderly meetings where “all things are done properly and in an orderly manner” allow edification (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Of course, love should permeate all church structures (1 Corinthians 13), and Christian freedom should be maintained (Galatians 5:1). But establishing biblical parameters for leadership, discipline, teaching, and meeting practices brings stable order to the church.
Self-Control and Planning Bring Order to Our Lives
On a personal level, God desires for us to live orderly, well-organized lives under the control of the Holy Spirit. This requires self-discipline and wise planning.
Proverbs tells us “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (16:32). Gaining mastery over our destructive emotions brings order to our hearts. Being “quick-tempered” leads to disorder and strife (14:29).
We are urged to steer clear of drunkenness and gluttony which lead to out-of-control actions (23:20-21). Instead, we should thoughtfully plan out productive activities: “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house” (24:27). Diligent planning and prudent restraint create order.
In the New Testament, Paul instructs Timothy to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). Pursuing maturity and self-control reflects God’s orderly character. Peter exhorts us to “prepare your minds for action, keep sober” as obedient children of God (1 Peter 1:13). Orderly living requires purposeful mental focus and sobriety.
An orderly life manifests the fruit of the Holy Spirit like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22). As we walk in step with the Spirit, these virtues displace sinful chaos.
The Spirit Brings Order to Our Relationship with God
While God designed principles and structures to produce orderly lives and societies, our relationship with Him is profoundly personal and spiritual. We come to know His intimate presence and enjoy loving fellowship through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised He would send the Holy Spirit to be our Helper who dwells within every believer permanently (John 14:16-17). The Spirit guides us into all truth, teaches us, reminds us of Christ’s words, and declares God’s will, bringing divine order to our walk with God (John 14:26, 16:13-15).
The Spirit produces Christ-like character within us like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). This inner transformation manifests itself in orderly outward actions. As we submit to the Spirit’s leadership, our lives come under His wise and purposeful direction.
Paul summarizes, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). The Spirit’s work dispels confusion and brings supernatural peace and order to our relationship with God. Out of that orderly relationship flows an orderly life.
God Will Establish Perfect Order and Justice at Christ’s Return
Despite mankind’s best efforts, this present world still contains much disorder – disease, disasters, violence, injustice, and death. But the Bible promises that one day God will entirely eliminate all sin, decay, and chaos when Jesus returns to usher in His eternal kingdom.
Peter describes this coming period: “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Everything will be made perfectly new and orderly. All traces of sin and rebellion against God will vanish.
The book of Revelation depicts Jesus executing judgment to destroy all evil (Rev 20). Then Revelation 21-22 describes the glorious orderly paradise that results – the heavenly city of New Jerusalem where God reigns from His central throne. The River of Life flows directly from His throne, trees of life line its banks, and “night will be no more” (Rev 22:1-5).
God’s refreshing presence will entirely saturate this new creation. It will operate in complete harmony under Christ’s loving rule. The Bible ends with an invitation from Jesus Himself: “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Rev 22:17). Order and peace await all who trust in Christ and thirst for righteousness.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals God’s commitment to order, structure, justice, and maturity. He constructed creation to operate by natural laws that reflect His wise purposes. He gave us social principles and commands to establish orderly, ethical societies that allow human flourishing when followed. He guided early church leaders in setting up orderly systems of administration and equipping. He instructs us through wisdom literature to gain personal self-control and operate with spiritual maturity. And He promises to ultimately eradicate all disorder and usher in a completely renewed cosmos governed perfectly by Christ.
As Christians, we can embrace personal habits of self-discipline, planning, and moderation by the Spirit’s power to reflect God’s character in our daily lives. We can advocate for just laws and policies that promote harmony and human dignity. We can serve Christ’s Body through orderly equipping ministries as fellow members united under Christ’s headship. And we can look expectantly to Christ’s return when God’s purpose of bringing complete order out of chaos will finally be fulfilled perfectly for eternity. May we echo the prayer that concludes the Bible: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).