There are three ingredients that are needed for a Bible class to accomplish the high calling of providing a biblical and theological foundation on which our students can build their relationship with God and live a life pleasing to Him. The first ingredient is personnel. Too many Christian schools simply look to see who has a free hour and select their Bible teachers according to availability rather than ability. A Christian school must make it a priority to put pastors and teachers with extensive Bible education into the classroom. Whenever a Christian school views Bible class as a class that can be taught by “anybody,” the school has just revealed that science, math, and other academic classes are more important.
The second ingredient is a purposeful curriculum. Christian schools need to resist the temptation of choosing a series of devotional guides and Christian living books as the backbone of the Bible curriculum. These types of studies are fine for personal use and discipleship, but these studies do not provide the biblical data necessary for a comprehensive Bible program. Two specific courses of study should be included in Bible classes. First, students should survey both the Old and New Testaments. Without an overview of the Bible, students have difficulty understanding its individual sections. Teachers should strive to have their students possess a working knowledge of the chapter content of Word of God as well. If the Bible is indeed the most important story our children should know, we should desire for them to know it better than any other work of literature. Second, students should learn the biblical doctrines contained in Scripture. In the end, our students should know what the Bible says and what the Bible teaches so that they might avoid being “carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men.”
The third ingredient is proper testing and measuring. Bible class ought to possess some academic teeth. We should be inspecting regularly, deeply, and rigorously those biblical truths taught. A subject matter as weighty as the Bible requires that we take the necessary steps to ensure that our students study and retain the material. I am not saying that Bible classes should lack devotion; one cannot speak of the Bible properly without words of application. I am saying there is a better place to focus on the devotional side: chapel. Bible class provides a biblical foundation and proper theology. Chapel should build off of this knowledge and burn the devotional aspects of it deep upon the heart of our students. It is right to desire devotion to God as the end result of Bible study, but we must not skip the process of learning biblical data, or one will not know to what or to whom he should be devoted.
In essence, there is perhaps nothing more practical for our students than the “academic” side of learning biblical content and its resulting theology, for these areas of study are the tools of the mind that allow a heart after God to express itself in a biblically appropriate manner.