“So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). The Bible exalts teachers who touch lives with God’s word. Moses was a teacher (Deut. 28-30). The prophets of old were teachers, and Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, was the Master Teacher. Brethren, we find our spiritual roots in a long line of passionate individuals who instructed others in the word of God! How tragic, then, when we Christians fail to properly acknowledge and appreciate our teaching heritage!
Churches need to be committed to the education and edification of their members, and this necessarily includes a strong commitment to Bible classes (Eph. 4:12). I fear we’re living to see the prophet’s words fulfilled anew: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). While we should not rely solely on the educational program of the church to meet our spiritual needs, many of us still need to regard the role of Bible classes in our lives higher than we presently do! Consider the benefits:
Bible Classes draw us nearer to God — “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). What Christian wouldn’t want to be a closer to God? As we study His word, His will in our lives becomes clearer. It’s impossible to sing, “Draw me nearer, precious Lord” without being impressed with the need to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. Bible classes help us do just that! “I want to know Him, and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).
Bible Classes expand our horizons — “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you” (Acts 20:20). In our personal Bible studies we may sometimes observe the “passover” concerning confusing or difficult issues. Even more, we may consider some passages of Scripture to be entirely irrelevant to our lives and situations. Bible classes, taught by skilled and able teachers, are able to point out the power of God’s word and its application to all our lives. “All Scripture is inspired… that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Bible Classes provide essential nourishment — “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). You cannot make it as a Christian in this world without being, “nourished in the words of faith” (1 Tim. 4:6). Many physically healthy people are starving spiritually. If we could see their souls the way we see their physical bodies, we’d recoil in horror at the sight. Bible classes are one way of making sure our spiritual hunger is satiated. Many Christians wouldn’t think of missing a meal, but many a Christian still believes it’s OK to miss a Bible study. If Jesus couldn’t do without the word of God, how do we think we can?
Bible Classes edify and unite the church — “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1). Your presence at Bible class is important not just because of your own soul’s welfare, but also because you are part of the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhort one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). We cannot be edified spiritually without being in each others’ presence on a regular basis. Too many churches are made up of strangers who show little or no interest in the lives of others. Bible classes are a method of getting to know the hurts and rejoicings of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s what real Christian unity entails! Won’t you do more to help our Bible classes here at Edgewood? —JB