Life: God's Renewable resource
does the bible fit in your life?
by Jack Williams
Learn more about Free Will Baptist Bible College at www.fwbbc.edu.
MY EARLIEST MEMORY OF SUNDAY SCHOOL is sitting on a slatted bench that was so high my legs could not reach the floor while a nice lady read the Bible lesson to us. The lesson was on the back of a card with an colored Bible picture on the front side. This took place in the same room where everyone else was having Sunday School. The "lesson" took no more than five minutes. It would not have taken that long, but she had to help all of us find our pennies for the offering and then separate us from our money.
Several years later, as a seventh grader, I found myself in a small Sunday School class with two of my younger brothers, ages nine and six respectively, plus a high school drop-out. Class may have taken 10 minutes some Sundays. We did get an education by listening to the other class in the auditorium, however.
The teacher would call on different members of the class to read a particular verse and comment on it. The usual comment was, "I believe this verse pretty well explains itself." To which the teacher responded, "I believe you are right."
Getting Serious About Bible Study
It was not always that way. Things were quite different in the Sunday School I attended for two years prior to the "I believe it explains itself" class. For one thing, a new convert in her 80s challenged a group of fifth and sixth graders to learn the names of the books of the Bible in proper order. We did, with pride.
My Sunday School teacher was a young man just out of military service. Due to lack of space, we met in the pastor's study. We soon discovered Smith's Bible Dictionary, Cruden's Concordance, and Clarke's Commentary. Those handy resources added a lot to our class discussions.
It was not until I was in high school that I had a Sunday School class where we got serious about the Bible. Several of us actually studied our lessons ahead of time and read the suggested daily Bible readings. The preaching was another matter. My father was a thoroughly committed Bible preacher. He loved to preach doctrinal sermons. I knew for sure what Free Will Baptists believed and why before I was a teenager.
Facing Reality at FWBBC
Now I have told you all of this to tell you that although I had read a great deal out of the Bible, I had never read the Bible through until I came to Free Will Baptist Bible College. I did read the New Testament through the summer before I left home for Bible College.
In the years I spent as a student at FWBBC, I learned more about the Bible and its teaching than I had learned in a lifetime. I really was not prepared for college level Bible studies. In those days, the assignment was to read the Bible two hours outside of class for every hour in class. There was no way rapid reading could help get that assignment done quickly.
For the most part, the students I started college with were no more prepared than I was. When we graduated, we did not know it all, but we were well prepared, we thought, to establish Christian homes and return to minister in our local churches. The years have pretty well verified our assessment. In the years since, I have met many of the Lord's faithful servants who have spent a lifetime in reading the Bible, and you can tell it.
Reaching Today’s Students
Things have changed since 1955, especially since the 1980s. Many students still begin their careers here with as little or less Biblical knowledge. However, there is a much greater need for Biblical and theological knowledge.
Young people today face far more serious challenges. The authority of the Bible on moral issues such as abortion, lying, cheating, stealing, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, and homosexual marriage is rejected by their cultural generation. No one has a right to confront anyone else on any issue. Values and tastes are determined by television, popular music, and generational opinion.
Free Will Baptist Bible College is more committed than ever to help our students deal with these issues and prepare them to minister to their generation. There are no easy answers. We are continuing to examine our Bible and Theology curriculum to see how we can better prepare our students.
We redesigned our Bible program last year to provide more time to equip our students to deal with contemporary worldview thinking. Christian worldview thinking in contrast to contemporary, secular philosophies is a part of virtually every course in our curriculum.
Learning How to Live
Graduates in every program major in Bible and Theology as well as in their chosen career fields. Students do need to know how to make a living, but they also need to learn how to live for Christ in a culture that is becoming increasingly pagan and secular. It was that truth that led me to Free Will Baptist Bible College, when it looked as if communism would sweep the western world. I told my friends that I came to Free Will Baptist Bible College, not to learn how to make a living, but to learn how to live.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Ralph Hampton chairs the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department at Free Will
Baptist Bible College where he has taught since 1958. He is a former moderator of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.