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Tony Brooks: Sunday School and the Great Commandment

Posted: 1/22/19 at 10:15am. Post by Tony Brooks.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Here is one of the temptations we face as teachers:

It is tempting to see our job as imparting knowledge rather than leading students to deeper relationships with God and others.

It is tempting to see our job as imparting knowledge rather than leading students to deeper relationships with God and others.

In all fairness, I admit I love knowledge. I love reading the Bible, studying the context, history, and culture of the time the Bible was written. I love discussing it with others as well.

The problem is this: When I am more passionate to know about God in Scripture for the sake of knowledge, rather than to commune with God in relationship, I have failed in following God. If our Bible study is solely focused on knowledge, we border on idolatry (making the Bible an idol) and miss the opportunity to be in relationship with God and others in the class (to love God and neighbor).

Years ago, while I was an associate at First Baptist Church of Whiteville, NC, I had the chance to go to a Christian Education conference in Richmond, VA, and hear Dr. Findley Edge speak at the University of Richmond. I had heard Dr. Edge early in my ministry and was inspired by him to go to Southern Seminary and even wrote a sermon from an idea he had (with his permission, of course).

A few weeks before the conference I reread his book, The Greening of the Church. I bought his book, Teaching for Results, and brought it with me to read. I looked forward to going to each session Dr. Edge led.

Participants stayed on the campus for the conference for three days in a dorm room. Each person had their own bedroom with a shared bathroom between them. I was fairly introverted at the time and pretty much stayed to myself in the evening. I wanted to read through Dr. Edge’s books and discover more of his wisdom. I simply ignored the person who shared the same bathroom.

On the final day as I was packing my bags to leave, I received a knock on the bathroom door. The person opened the door and said, “I wanted to see who my quiet suitemate had been all of this time,” and he introduced himself.

The person on the other side of the bathroom was Dr. Findley Edge! Here I was seeking wisdom from his books when I could have been relating directly with him! Teachers, our job is to help our students go deeper in their relationship with God and each other. As long as we are focused on our relationship to God and others, we will do well.

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is our Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7