Vol.XX No.I Pg.3
March 1983

What Bible Classes Need

Dan S. Shipley

Appreciation! That's the first and fundamental need of our Bible classes. After all, if they are not esteemed as vitally important in the local church, any other need they have will be almost academic. But, it is not enough that only a dedicated few have this sense of seriousness about Bible classes. Every elder, deacon, teacher, preacher, and parent must feel a personal obligation to cooperate in assuring the very best in Bible instruction. And that will certainly include overcoming the prevalent and hurtful apathetic attitudes that hinder such an objective.

Accordingly, Bible classes urgently need the active and involved support of the elders. As respected and influential "ensamples to the flock" (1 Pet. 5:3), these men, more than any others, determine the congregation's attitude toward these classes. That which does not warrant the interest, the planning, the encouragement, and the involvement of elders is not likely to be considered all that important by other members. Bible classes are one way in which they can "feed the church of the Lord" (Acts 20:28). As those who "take care of the church" (1 Tim. 3:5), these leaders should provide the very best possible teachers and facilities to promote the instruction which is in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

In addition, Bible classes desperately need dedicated and conscientious teachers. Not only is what the teacher says important; what he does and is are equally important. Unless he lives what he teaches, he teaches in vain. Bible classes need prepared teachers — the kind who have something to offer besides "fill-in-the-blanks" and cross- word puzzles. Our classes need teachers who relate Bible truth to the level and needs of the students. And, all the better if it can be done with enthusiasm and a sense of urgency. It should go without saying that the best teachers are those who are truly concerned for the souls of their pupils. It is not without good reason that James says, "Be not many of you teachers, my brethren..." (3:1). Teaching God's word is serious business and our classes need teachers who think so.

Another thing our Bible classes need are concerned parents. Usually, the parent's attitude toward these classes will be reflected in their children. If parents leave the impression that school studies are more important than Bible studies, the effect can be eternally hurtful. One of the perpetual problems voiced by many Bible class teachers is that their students do not read their assignments or do their homework. Parents condone and even encourage such neglect in allowing it — not that most of them don't care, we just forget and become neglectful. I've often wondered if it wouldn't be helpful if teachers would send parents progress or report cards something like those used in public schools. Anyway, none can deny that parental influence is a major factor in determining the quality of our Bible classes.

Instruction in Bible truth was never needed more. May we remember the needs of classes where such instruction is done.