Good Bible Classes

by Gene Taylor

The strength of any local church depends upon the effectiveness of its teaching (Acts 20:32). When faithful, effective teaching is not present, a congregation can never be strong.

While the pulpit provides opportunities to instruct the group as a whole, it is the Bible classes which lie at the heart of a local church.

The Importance of Bible Classes

Bible classes provide an effective, scriptural means of teaching God's word. But merely providing such classes does not automatically guarantee they will be effective.

Members of a local church need to constantly give attention to them to improve them. Sound, scriptural lessons need to be taught by faithful, diligent teachers. Those who are students in those classes also need to do their part to see that they are successful. They need to study and make good preparation before they come to class. They need to participate while in class with their goal being to learn the truth of the word of God so that they might apply in their lives. They need to develop and maintain respect for the teacher and let him/her teach.

Class Teachers

Teachers have a heavy responsibility. James 3:1 states, "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." James was not trying to discourage people from teaching. Rather, he was trying to get those who do teach to reflect upon the sober responsibility they have.

Much of the success of the Bible class depends upon the teacher. Classes cannot accomplish their intended good unless teachers are faithful and diligent in properly preparing for each session. Careful advanced study needs to be done before one ever attempts to teach a class. An experienced educator once told me that for every hour a teacher spends in the classroom, he should spend ten hours in preparation. Carelessness or indifference on the part of the teacher not only negates opportunities for good it also can do untold harm.

One who teaches the Bible to others, especially children, must monitor his own conduct and attitudes. Hypocrisy is a bane to one's effectiveness as an instructor of God's word. For example, haphazard or spasmodic attendance to services on the part of a teacher is detrimental to his effectiveness in the classroom. On the other hand, faithfulness to the Lord and to one's responsibilities to his task of teaching will pay rich dividends to both teacher and students.

What Can I Do?

Not all can teach a Bible class but there are a number of ways which everyone can help improve the classes of which they are a part.

Attend every Bible class. It will make you stronger. Can you think of a better way to spend an hour?

Bring/encourage others. Instruction in the word of God is the most important teaching anyone can ever receive. One of the best things you can do for another person is to encourage them to learn the truth.

Do Bible lessons. The class is always more interesting if you are prepared for it. Parents need to help children with their lessons. Encourage them to do them. Do not do their lessons for them! Ask your child's teacher how he/she is doing in class. Express thanksgiving first to God and then to the teacher for the teacher's willingness to shoulder such a great task. Being supportive of and offering thanks for the teacher inspires him to greater efforts.

Pray that the Bible classes be effective. Pray for the teachers and proper reception of the lessons.

Participate in class discussions. Do so actively, willingly and wisely. Do not make class discussions a personal forum, i.e., do not try to take the class from the teacher. Let the teacher teach. Do not use the Bible class as a time to vent anger, get someone, show superiority or air some peculiar pet doctrine or point of view you might have.

Volunteer to teach. Good teachers, it seems, are always in short supply. Let it be known that you are willing to help. Work at equipping yourself to do a good job. Study the Bible. Study teaching methods and principles. Ask experienced teachers for help. As a matter of fact, if you have never taught in a classroom setting before, ask to sit in on or assist with a class being taught by an experienced teacher you admire and respect.

Conclusion

Let us all resolve to do all we can to make our Bible classes the best we can. Let every one of us determine to do our part. Teachers, dedicate yourselves to do a better, more faithful job of teaching. If our children are going to learn the truth, if we are going to properly instruct those visitors who come among us, and if we are going to grow and mature in Christ Jesus as we should, we will demand and support good Bible classes.