"A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel." (Prov. 1:5, NASB)
Perhaps you've heard a brother or sister make a comment to the effect that continuing in Bible classes, attending and participating, is not helpful. For instance, this particular brother grins and whispers in my ear, "Sam, I've been a Christian for forty years and I've been in Bible classes all that time since then. When do I get to graduate? After all, I'm beginning to fulfill Ecclesiastes 12:12!" While it is true that study of God's word requires investment of energy, it is an eternally helpful task. I did not have the heart to say that one thing happens to each of us and when that particular school bell rings, when we each graduate from this mortal coil, it is then that we will truly reap the benefit from a lifetime of studying God's word. Nevertheless, there are great benefits to be had in this lifetime by increasing our learning and continuing in the acquiring of wise counsel from God's word.
1. Bible class assists in continuing education. Continuing education is essential in any discipline. Would you trust a doctor who has not recently questioned his long-held assumptions? Our trade is the very living of a Christian life to draw all people to our Lord. Becoming a lifelong learner keeps our abilities fresh and active. Ezra the priest was such a person as set his heart to study God's word, to perform it, and to teach it to others. (Ezr. 7:10)
2. Bible class is a great opportunity for self-directed education. Becoming a self-teaching student is a wonderful objective. Paul exhorted Timothy to be a good priest of God and guard the true knowledge of Christ he had learned. (1 Tim. 6:20; cf. Mal. 2:7) How much better do we do of guarding knowledge as God's people, God's priesthood, when we personally desire to grow and learn? I want to be such a student as learns on his own outside of Bible class so that I might better examine and accept the premises of truth presented in study with others.
3. Bible class provides us an opportunity to be an example for other Christians. It was also written of Ezra that he gathered together with all the heads of the houses of Israel to study God's word. (Neh. 8:13) What a great example of a godly man teaching the other leaders of Israel! I want to set an example of diligence for others that they might also grow in this desire. When we show up to Bible Class with answers written in the blanks of our worksheets, ready to jot down any helpful notes, and willing to share an insight we might have into the topic, others will see this example. Lord willing, they will not see me arguing over words but actively striving to build up my sibling in Christ. (2 Tim. 2:14)
By Sam Stinson via biblelist 12/03/2009
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