This past Sunday, after I was in a very enjoyable Sunday school class, I started to wonder, "What is Sunday school suppose to be?" Of course I understand that each level of classes have different needs and teachers, but what I have been pondering on lately is what the Sunday school for those who are able (or old enough) to understand true doctrine of the Word of God, is really suppose to be.
Sunday school was originally started to teach the poor how to read and write. Now Sunday School has a different purpose. It's purpose is to educate everyone in the Bible, or as my Sunday school teacher said, it is a Bible study. But how should we go about teaching the Bible? What are the most effective way to run a class?
Motivation to Work
A class I was previously in was very motivational. When I came out of Sunday school I was eager to do great things for God! The teacher accomplished this by telling many successful stories of Christians who have done great things for the Lord, and stories of those who have overcome hard times and still lived for God. As well, he always reminded us that everyone fails, but God gives us many new beginnings.
Motivation is a good thing, but when we start something to hastily because of the motivation of the moment, we may become discouraged when hard times come, and may give up completely. A class really needs more than just motivation to work for the Lord.
Motivation to Study
I am enjoying the class I am in right now very much. It is a lot different than the last one in the way that it is filled with more meat. After only two classes I saw that I really needed to study my Bible more. I knew I should have known some of the questions he asked, yet I could not think of the right answer or a scripture to back it up. After class last Sunday, me and my close friend continued to talk about the lesson and said that we were going to go home and study more on what we had been talking about. We were both motivated to study God's word because we saw that we didn't understand the topic as fully as we should. We both wanted to find out for our self what was true, and be able to defend our belief if the situation arrived.
The teacher brought forth this motivation by teaching on "deeper," yet important doctrines of the Bible that we were not firm on. If the motivation is carried out and we read God's Word diligently, what we learn from out studies will stay with us.
So which is better in a Sunday school environment? If motivation to work, then some who do not know the Bible well may get a hasty and eager desire to do something for God with out studying His word. I know God can use anybody, but I also believe that without God's Word, you will come upon difficulties that can only be solved by the knowledge of the scripture. Before we go out to battle we are to have our "loins girted about with truth," and our "feet shod with the preparation of of the gospel of peace;" (Eph. 6: 14 & 15). If we study the Bible diligently, we will receive our motivation to do great works from God and the scriptures.
Thus, I have come to the conclusion that a very important element in Sunday school is motivation to study the Bible. After all, if Sunday school is a Bible study, we should study more than just on Sunday morning. There is so much in the Bible to learn, once a week will not be enough time to learn even half as much as we need to. The study we start on Sunday should continue throughout the week.
" Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalms 119:11