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Fulton County Gospel News

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Twenty Four Years in the First Grade

By Jess Whitlock

A bulletin crossed my desk years ago. It contained this clip: “Twenty four years in the 1st Grade—that is how long it would take to pass if public schools met only as often as Sunday School, and IF NO BIBLE CLASSES WERE MISSED!” A 2012 survey (Rankin) revealed that only 19% of “churchgoers” read the Bible daily. 25% stated they read the Bible a few times each week. A staggering 14% indicated they read the Bible once a week. 22% confessed to reading the Word of God “once a month or a few times each month.”

Several months ago the elders at the Evant, Texas church of Christ and myself had a long discussion of our Bible class curriculum. So much of “our literature” has to be proofed to make sure it is Scriptural, and so much of the instruction has to be “weeded out,” and then the price is atrocious. We decided to write our own material. In asking around, I contacted Gary Summers, who responded by saying, “We’ve done that!” The elders looked over that material, ordered the material, and we are now implementing Bible material that covers the Bible in 5 ½ years! This means our very young kids could cover the Old and New Testaments twice before High School graduation.

The late brother Eldred Stevens once observed that if a person spent 20 minutes a day on any given subject for a period of 20 years, that at that time, he/she would be considered an “authority” in that field! The Bible furnishes us completely unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the Bible is the Truth that can set us free (John 8:32; 17:17), the Word of the Lord is pure and righteous (Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5-6). Let us never forget the value of God’s Word and that His Word will be the final standard of judgment for all mankind (John 12:48). By the way, the Supreme Court is not the final authority! That august body will one day stand before the real SUPREME COURT!

Every parent and grandparent should think seriously about our opening statement! How do your children (grandchildren) do in attending Bible classes? If they only make it to about half of those classes, that would mean it would require 48 years to finish the 1st Grade! What if public schools met only as often as our Bible classes? Do you realize that the majority of youth in this nation would not live long enough to enter Junior High School! Let’s get serious about studying the Bible.

If we love Christ, we will follow His will (John 14:15; 15:14), we will handle the Word correctly (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Timothy 2:15), we will abide in Truth (2 Tim. 3:14), and we will not tamper with His Holy Word (Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6). To do this will require time and effort on your part and mine. Years ago the late brother Guy N. Woods had completed a week long Gospel meeting. One sister in Christ had attended each service and was impressed with his masterful knowledge of Scripture. This sister shook his hand, and said, “Brother Woods, I would give half my life to know the Scripture as well as you do.” Brother Woods replied, “Madam that is precisely what it has cost me.”

The Lord’s church must get the BIBLE back into BIBLE classrooms at every opportunity. It is time for the Lord’s people to remove the skits, crafts, and silliness gone to seed. Instead let us teach our youth what it means to “speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent where the Bible is silent.” We live in an age of continuing education. You may have graduated from high school or college back in nineteen-hundred and none-of-your-business. My friend, you have not graduated from Bible knowledge and learning. This is “higher learning” that is needed by every Christian in every congregation.

The Word of Jehovah is powerful (Hebrews 4:12-13; Matthew 24:35), God’s Word is able to purify the soul (Psalm 119:9; 1 Peter 1:22), the Word of the LORD can build us up (Acts 20:32; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), and His authoritative Word is forever settled in heaven (Psm. 119:89; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).

How much longer will our young people spend so much time preparing for a profession that MAY last forty or fifty years at the most, and so little time in making preparation for a ceaseless eternity the other side of death’s door? (Hebrews 9:27). I was a student to the late brother Hugo McCord (Oklahoma Christian College). I once commented on his tremendous knowledge of the Scripture. He replied, “Jess, if I could study the Bible for another hundred years, I would still be a novice.” Then I did not understand what he meant; however, today I understand fully. As a Christian, may I ask of you this one question: “Have you graduated from your study of the Word of the Living God?” I sincerely hope not!

Evant, TX 

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