Can We Return to Using the Bible in Sunday School?

Thursday 3rd April, 2008

I spoke briefly this afternoon at a conference for church planters and associational leaders: Directors of Missions, evangelism directors, and Sunday School directors. I shared about the impact of Sunday School and Vacation Bible School on those who have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. I made many points and shared several stories that you have read in previous posts of this blog.

One of those points is that our Sunday School classes must return to using the Bible. I have written about the topic previously in a post entitled Novel Idea: Team Them to Use the Bible in Sunday School. Here is some of what I wrote there:

For years I have had a conviction that the church is failing to teach people how to use the Bible. We are not teaching them how to study God's Word. We are not teaching them how to listen to His still small voice. We are not teaching them how to read His Word in search of truth that needs to be applied to daily life. We are not teaching them how to open God's Word to encounter a great God and realize our insignificance. I also have a fear that those who fail to bring a Bible to Sunday School and worship probably are not using it through the week.

While we may succeed in teaching them without their Bibles how to do group Bible study in Sunday School and worship, we often succeed only in teaching them how to follow along someone else's agenda in looking at a passage from the Bible. They don't know how to do so themselves. While we may succeed in teaching them how to answer someone else's questions, they don't know how to develop their own or even how to discover the answers. While we may succeed in helping them to realize the importance of a passage or a truth from God's Word, it is often not personalized. There is seldom any attempt to discern a personal message from God.

In reality, it is not that Sunday School is evangelistic. It is that God and His Word is evangelistic. He calls all men, women, and children to Himself when we open His Word. Small group Bible study can be a safe place to hear God's Word taught and discussed. Questions can be asked. Application is able to be applied to a specific age range. God in and through His Word has the power to change lives. Other authors don't have that power. Curriculum writers don't have that power. Pastors and teachers don't have that power.

Is it too late? Or is is possible that we could return to using the Bible in Sunday School? In a day in which baptisms are down in many churches, the Sunday School must commit itself afresh and anew to use the Bible. Teachers must meet God in personal Bible study and lesson preparation prior to leading their classes to meet Him in class. And attenders need to be challenged and helped to begin and grow in their private quiet times. And they should be encouraged to bring their Bibles to Sunday School so they will know where and how to find answers to life situations between Sundays! Pray! Seek Him. Use the Bible. Apply it. Be revolutionary!

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