Sunday School is the primary strategy of the local church to connect people to the Truth.
In the verses just before Paul charged young Timothy to proclaim the message, Paul made clear what the message was to be. The message is the Sacred Scriptures that instruct us in the way of salvation and equip God’s people for every good work. In short, the Bible is the God-breathed Truth.
The essence of Sunday School must be the teaching of God’s Truth as revealed in the Bible. Teaching the Bible to any age group requires preparation, both intellectually and spiritually. Teachers are charged to rightly divide the truth of God’s Word. We do not come to Sunday School to study a book about the Bible, a quarterly, or a good Christian book with teaching from the Bible. Sunday School is for teaching people the Bible.
Have you ever been to a class where the teacher says, “Read that verse and tell us what you think about it”? I am not sure I want to know what you think, but I am real sure I want to know the Scripture’s true meaning so I can apply it to my life! Our goal in Bible teaching is not the pooling of ignorance, but finding the true meaning of the text of Scripture.
While the use of archeology, geography and other interesting facts may well help us understand the text, our goal is not for people to just have Bible knowledge. Sunday School teaching should always move people toward transformation. It is interesting that Jesus, in the Great Commission, did not call on us to just teach His commands, but rather to teach people to observe or practice His commands. Disciple making is not about knowledge alone, but about application of truth to daily living. Therefore, we seek to connect people to the Truth of Scripture with a view of application.
To connect people to the grand redemptive theme of the Bible is also important. The Bible is not just a collection of stories about Bible characters, but a collection of Truth that portrays the grand story of God’s redemptive work toward man. A good teacher constantly seeks to see how the text relates to God’s ultimate work in Christ to redeem us. We need to pull up from ground level to view the Scripture from 30,000 feet, where we look panoramically at the grand “scarlet thread” throughout the Bible.
At the center of every Sunday School class must be the Gospel that points to the Savior. Paul declares, “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Lost Sunday School members need to hear the Gospel so they can be saved. Saved Sunday School members need to hear the Gospel to be reminded of the glory of their salvation. I guess I love Sunday School so much because it was in Sunday School that I met Christ. I am glad Mrs. Butler did not stop telling the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, even though she had told it many times. That morning, she told the story of salvation one more time, and the Holy Spirit made it come alive to me. I gave my heart to Jesus in Sunday School!
We must not forget that Sunday School connects PEOPLE to the Truth. Sunday School teachers do not teach the Bible, they teach people the Bible. I am not doing intellectual gymnastics. We must never forget that we teach people. Understanding and caring about the people we teach will cause us to adjust methodology and anything else that helps us to connect the Bible to their lives.
We do not need to have theological degrees to be good Sunday School teachers. We do have to have a passion to connect people to the Truth so that they may be transformed by the Truth.