I’d like to make a challenge which specifically applies to certain members of our congregation. You know who you are! But this challenge generally applies to us all. I hope you will give it your serious and prayerful consideration, and indulge me in this article for a few moments to explain the importance of why I am making this challenge at this particular time.
I would like to challenge every adult member of our congregation to resolve to be faithfully present and prepared for one of the Sunday morning and Wednesday night Bible classes offered each week.
When I say present, I mean present on time, yea a little early. We have quite a problem with members coming into Sunday morning Bible class late. For some, it has become a long-standing habit. When you think about it, it’s hard to come up with a legitimate excuse or explanation for this. Our Bible classes do not start extremely early compared to other congregations. The class begins at 9:45 AM. Everyone familiar with teaching procedure knows how important the first few minutes of class is. It is a time for orientation, for review, and maybe a few important announcements. If you miss those first few minutes, you are at a disadvantage for the rest of the class. The first part of the class is also often used to outline the passage to be studied that day, and without this outline, the class is more difficult to follow. Further, have you ever considered the distraction you create for other students when you habitually come in late? I realize there are some times when tardiness is unavoidable, but surely this is rare. Have some of us not fallen into a regular habit of doing what would never be tolerated at our job or place of business? What does this say about our priorities and commitment? What does it say about our planning or our concern for others? We could go on and on, but this is enough for the honest student of God’s word. Let’s make a resolution to be a few minutes early, seated in our place, and ready to study when class begins.
An even greater concern is the habit of some of our members to skip Bible class all together. I have tried, without success, to understand this one. Do we feel we already know it all? Do we feel we can gain nothing from attending the class? Are we so busy with our personal activities, that we don’t have time to study God’s word together? Surely not! Surely we would all agree that Bible class attendance is a wise and sacred use of our time, (Eph. 4:5). If you have trouble getting up early enough to make it for Bible class, consider going to bed a bit earlier. Consider taking a nap on Sunday afternoon. Consider the example you are setting for other members, not to mention your own family. Let’s resolve to be personally present for every adult Bible class in the new year!
But being present for class, and even being present on time, is not all that is required. Equally important is being prepared and mentally engaged in the study. Have you read the material in advance? Have you thought about important questions you might like to raise during the class? Don’t think of your questions as unimportant or “stupid.” The only “stupid question” is the one you should have asked! If you carefully read over the material before class, considering making note of any questions, and making use of some good commentaries or other study aids, you will be greatly enriched, and you will benefit so much more from your class experience.
Our elders provide and oversee the organized Bible class program, including the adult classes. These are carefully planned to cover the text of the Bible, as well as important Bible topics in regular, series study. We so much appreciate our Bible teachers, and the hard work they put into preparing their classes every week. Some of you have been teaching for years! Surely this planning and preparation is worthy of our support and participation.
Unlike the sermons, our Bible classes provide an opportunity to ask questions, and raise additional points for consideration. Your presence in the class is needed, and represents a valuable contribution. Why not commit now to make the new year a time for serious, Bible study? Why not meaningfully engage in the Bible classes?
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.