Sundays Are Not Enough To Be a Student of the Bible (OYPO – Vol. 43)

OYPO – One Youth Pastor’s Opinion – Vol. 43

Sundays Are Not Enough To Be a Student of the Bible

My wife and I were talking about my ordination interrogation, and she found it reassuring that she had a basic grasp of most topics covered in the doctrinal statements. The format of the afternoon was pretty simple: I first quoted my prepared statements and supporting Bible verses, and then the four pastors asked follow-up questions. We followed the outline of most discipleship or theology books: 

  • The Bible
  • God
  • Jesus Christ
  • Holy Spirit
  • Man
  • Sin
  • Salvation 
  • Church
  • Angelic Beings
  • Last Things

It was an intense 1.5 hours, but, to me, it felt like just a few minutes. I prepared hard the whole week leading up to the ordination (my health app tracked my 10k-16k steps per day as I paced the sanctuary at church), and even the morning of the big day, I was up at 4:00 am walking my neighborhood with my notes in hand, trying to memorize and quote the doctrines.

But my training for that moment started before last week—it started way back in high school. Truly, it started when I was a kid sitting in church, but the more rigorous and personal Bible study happened when I made it happen. 

Sunday school lessons might spoon-feeding babes, but the best versions of Sunday school lessons turn hearers into doers. That takes more than Sundays. To be a doer of the Word means that you have to live with it throughout your week—it has to be a Monday sermon and a Tuesday sermon, too. 

I started really wanting to know the Word when I was challenged to do so. The preacher at camp challenged me to read the Bible every day. “All right.” I said. “I’m going to do it.” 

The Pentecostal preacher challenged me on tongues. “All right,” I said, “I’ve GOT to figure out what the Bible says on this.” 

Bible study became something I did for myself. 

And it was wonderful. It was finally personal. I was finally getting it… not because I was passively taught it, but because I was challenged to learn it for myself.

I realized recently that I have studied the Bible pretty intensely almost every week of my life now for about 20 years. Give or take. Some of the “Bible study” was AWANA memory verses, several of which I quoted last Sunday. Some of my Bible study was our school’s Bible quiz, or a debate on Baptist Distinctives, or a Bible college class, or a sermon series. 

But all of it was something I wanted to do. And I had to do it for myself. 

Sure, we love to see someone being a good example, but nothing replaces you reading the Bible for yourself, studying a topic for yourself, or putting a sermon or Bible study or Sunday school lesson together for yourself. 

I started by saying that my wife felt a boost of confidence when she was answering some of the questions under her breath. That is both from exposure and personal study. 

We need Sunday school—obviously—but we also need to go home and interact with the Bible on a daily basis. Even more than Bible reading, what have you done this week in the area of Bible study?