Is The Bible Really Important?
By Rodney L. Pry
An important part of the work of the Pennsylvania State Sunday School Association is to remind Sunday schools, churches and individual Christians about the importance of the Bible for all persons of all ages.
We encourage local churches to make a special effort to promote Bible reading and study both within the Sunday school and other Christian education programs and during a daily time of private or family devotions by each member.
One of the things that got me thinking about the need for more emphasis on the Bible happened about a year ago when I heard someone ask, “Is the Bible really important today? Isn’t it pretty much out of date?” If this question was coming from an atheist or other non-believer, I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought, but the question was asked by a young man who was a faithful church member and had been a Sunday school attendee for many years.
I have always loved the Bible and have relied heavily on its guidance for my life, but, obviously, not all church and Sunday school members feel the same way. Have we, as individuals and as churches, somehow forgotten to tell others – especially the younger Christians of our churches and Sunday schools – about the real value and importance of God’s Word?
Over the next several weeks after I heard this young man make this statement I thought a lot about the questions that he had asked and continued to wonder just how many people felt the same way that he did. I soon came to realize that this young man did not speak for his generation when a friend told me about a young woman that she knew. This was a girl who was having some real problems in her life and found real answers and direction that she needed in the Bible.
This 19-year-old young woman – her name was Sarah – described herself as “the biggest loser on the planet!” All her life she had wanted to be a nurse and work with children. But, after a year and a half in college, she had dropped out with bad grades. She just wasn’t able to adapt to college life.
She felt devastated and thought of herself as a total failure. Her parents accused her of “goofing off” in college and told her that she now had to go get a job. Thinking of herself as a failure, she couldn’t even face many of her friends.
When her self esteem seemed to be at its lowest, my friend suggested that she should seek God’s will and direction for her life. “How do you do that?” she asked. My friend told her, “Through Bible reading and prayer.”
Although Sarah was a Christian and regularly attended church, she admitted that she had never really turned her problems over to the Lord or sought his direction.
She knew that the Bible was important, but what did it say about dropping out of college? My friend advised her to pray for God’s guidance and then to just start reading the Bible. “He’ll help you find the message that you need,” my friend advised.
Seeing few other options available, Sarah took my friend’s advice and began to search the scriptures for some answers.
One of the first passages that she read was Luke 6:26, “Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?”
She said that verse and others that she soon found helped her to see that God loved her, would take care of her and would help her.
Soon she found herself talking to a Christian counselor who helped her see several other career possibilities where she could work with and help children.
Today, Sarah is taking classes at a local community college and working with children at a local community center. She no longer feels like a failure. Although she is still not completely sure where her life may lead, she now knows that she has found the real help and direction that she needs – Jesus Christ! Direction that she found through prayer and reading her Bible.
The Bible is important! It’s the Christian’s “handbook for life.” Within its pages we will find a wealth of help and information just waiting to be discovered. True, there are many specific topics and concerns that you won’t find listed in a Concordance, but as you pray for God’s guidance and then diligently read and study His Word, you will find that special, specific message of love, hope, concern and direction from God that you need.
As Sunday schools and as individuals, we need to show all persons of all ages that yes, the Bible is important! We need to help them learn basic passages that they can quickly call up from memory as they face temptations and problems in their life. We need to help all people see that their greatest need is Jesus Christ.