There are many wrong ideas about Bible classes. Particularly there are wrong thoughts about what happens in Bible classes. We hope to address a few misconceptions about the Bible Class system.
"Coming to Every class is not Essential"
The first faulty Idea is that a person can come to Bible study – once in a while, and grow properly. Like a physical child who thinks he can get his nutrients from eating a meal once every few weeks, this spiritual child is foolish to believe such.
Bible classes are essential to personal growth. When a person does not show up to each class, he misses the nutrients that he is supposed to be gaining.
For further information on statistics of effective Bible Classes please see this related blog:
“The Teacher is responsible for my learning”
There are also faulty thoughts and expectations placed upon teachers by students that are not only not scriptural, but not even possible.
For instance, the teacher cannot ‘make’ the student learn. Yet, the teacher gets the blame whenever EVERY student does not learn sufficiently.
If 90 percent of the students in the class are learning, and 10 percent do not seem to be learning, then perhaps something within the 10 percent needs to change, in order to learn properly.
Fact: Learning is a process which includes both Time and Hard Work!
When I was learning to draw, though I thought I was quite skilled at drawing, I had to start at the beginning.
The teacher made all of us students for 1 solid month, do nothing but draw circles in our sketch pad. The following month he had us draw squares, the following month, triangles.
It was not ‘fun’ and I kind of hated it, at the time I felt like it was a total waste of time. Until the fourth month, when we put these shapes together and drew the human figure, houses, mountains, animals and anything else that the eye could see. These shapes were the building blocks of everything else.
Was I great at drawing circles at first? No, but I got better. The same with squares and triangles. But after drawing thousands and thousands of circles and squares, it was second nature to me, so that when I began to draw horses and humans, the ability to ‘see’ the shapes completely changed the way I had drawn and perfected even further my ability as an artist.
If I had decided to stop after the first month, I would never have learned to draw properly. If I had never gone through the ‘boring’ seemingly, mundane actions of drawing simple shapes, I would have never actually learned to draw the more complex shapes.
Spiritually speaking it is quite similar.
At the local congregation where I attend, we study different lessons each week. Sunday Morning Bible Classes we study from a certain New Testament book. Sunday Evenings we study from the Old Testament, our sermons on Sunday Mornings are devoted to the Life of Christ. During Wednesday night study, we try to focus either on practical or doctrinal issues facing us as individuals.
But it is all a learning process. That means that not every single class is going to be geared to fit your specific situation at that specific time in your life. For instance, John 1:1 says, In the beginning, was the word and the word was with God.
There is not a lot of ‘practical application’ for me as an individual. That is because this is a verse that teaches a fundamental truth. This fundamental truth MUST be grasped by everyone claiming to be Christian. Time must be spent on explaining why this fact is so important. It might not be ‘fun’ and you might not be ‘feel’ better after the discussion. But if you do not FIRST grasp that Jesus is the Word and why that is important. Then you will never fully understand the significance of the cross of Jesus Christ.
And if you never properly understand the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God, then you will never know what it truly means to be a servant of Christ.
Over the years the overwhelming majority of the congregation where I attend has shared their appreciation for the time and energy spent in designing lessons that are meant to help them grow. I would estimate that 90 percent of the congregation has grown personally, in faith, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, there is that 10 percent, that… it seems no matter what the lesson is, no matter the approach, no matter the material, they are always crying “I don’t get anything out of it.” or “I’m not really learning practical lessons.”
While it is the case that there are preachers who spend little time trying to make the practical application, I assure you that is not the case with every preacher. Many of us spend hours figuring out just how to make the practical application for students to learn.
“That lesson didn’t make me ‘feel’ good”
Not every single verse of scripture is going to be a scripture that you get to take home with you, put on your refrigerator and say “what a beautiful little thought.” Not every verse of scripture is going to be a verse that has direct application to your personal life at that moment. And, not every single verse of scripture is going to have some ‘sweet-sappy’ application that tugs at your heart-strings and makes you feel ‘oh so good.’ When you leave the study.
Yet we live in a society that is full of thinking things like: “There really wasn’t any application in the text today, so I just didn’t get anything out of it.” I’ve even heard of some Christians say “it is the preacher’s job to make every verse apply to me.”
But, let’s get rid of the dressed up words, and the silly notions of what they really mean by those words. What they are really saying is “give me smooth, soft words that make me feel good.”
Sometimes, studying the Bible does not ‘make a person feel good’ because God expects people to change their lives. And changing lives means confronting the person you really are, and admitting that you are wrong. And most people have a very hard time admitting that they are wrong.
There are warnings given in scripture about these type of people. People who are always wanting to hear some smooth saying. People who want to have their ears tickled with ‘cute-little stories’, and sweet little anecdotes.
Paul states this concerning those people who want to hear these type of lessons:
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim 4:2-4)
Paul understood that even during his time, there would be people who just want to hear soft words. People who would become tired of hearing sound doctrine, and would seek for teachers who would turn from the truth and just tell fables/lies. And Paul’s answer to Timothy is this: Preach the word!
To grow in the way God would have us we need to apply these lessons to our lives.
- Go to every single class, or don’t complain that you aren’t ‘getting anything out of it.
- Don’t rely on the preacher/teacher to spoon feed you. You have to study on your own. Find reliable resources and study them for yourself.
- Sit down and actually take time to learn.
- Recognize that not every single class is catered for your ‘enjoyment’.