As long as I can remember, I have attended Bible classes. As a child, I went because of my parents. They attended every Bible class and worship assembly of the local church of Christ, and they expected me to come with them. We never discussed whether or not we should go, we simply always attended. When the doors were open on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, we were there to worship Almighty God, learn from His inspired word, and encourage the saints.
Of course, my reasons for attending Bible classes today are different than they were then. I no longer attend Bible classes merely because my parents do. In fact, if my parents stopped attending Bible classes--for whatever reason--it would in no way affect my decision to continue attending.
I am committed to attending Bible classes for many reasons, and none of them have anything to do with the fact that I'm a preacher. Even I wasn't a gospel preacher, I would attend Bible classes and the worship assemblies of the church as often as possible. Why, you ask? Allow me to share eight reasons.
1. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE IT IS A DELIGHTFUL WAY TO OBEY A SCRIPTURAL COMMAND.
II Timothy 2:15 is a command - "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." God expects us to be able to "rightly divide the word"; that is, we must work to correctly understand the Bible. This will not happen automatically after one becomes a Christian. God will not whisper in your ear and tell you everything you need to know! You will not be able to rest your head on the Bible and pray for the knowledge to enter your head via osmosis! The only way to understand the Bible is to study it diligently! Participating in Bible classes is a great way to better enable ourselves to "rightly divide the word"!
There are other verses that supply further evidence that we must grow in knowledge. II Peter 3:18 teaches - "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." Attending and paying close attention in Bible class is a great way to grow in knowledge! Consider also I Timothy 4:13 - "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." We should give attention to reading God's word. We should give attention to encouraging one another. We should give attention to the doctrine or teachings of the Bible. Isn't attending Bible class a great way to do all three of these things? It certainly is!
2. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE OF MY DESIRE TO IMITATE FIRST CENTURY CHRISTIANITY.
Acts 17:11 states - "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." The Bereans came together to be taught, and then they searched the Scriptures to ascertain whether they were being taught truth or error. I do my best to study the Scriptures daily on my own, and I hope that you do also. When we search the Scriptures, we are advocating the same type of noble-mindedness that God found pleasing in the first century.
Acts 2:41-47 is also worthy of being noted on this point. It is hard to overlook just how united the brethren were in the early church. They loved to be together. They ate together, they worshipped together, and they studied together ("they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine") Shouldn't we strive for this sort of unity? Shouldn't we have Bible classes together regularly?
3. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE I WANT TO DO THAT WHICH IS GOOD.
James 4:17 - "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." Ask yourself: is it a good thing to attend Bible classes? Is it a good thing to come together with those who are spiritually minded and grow in knowledge and understanding of spiritual things? Of course it is! Why would anyone want to intentionally deprive themselves of such an opportunity?
Attending Bible classes won't earn us salvation, but it is another opportunity that God has given us to grow. If we choose to squander such opportunities, what will we say on Judgment Day? When we know to do good and do not do it, what will we say when we stand before the Lord?
4. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE I WANT TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AND BE CONSISTENT.
I don't want to be a hypocrite. I don't want to be a person who claims to know God, yet lives a life that is inconsistent with that claim. Paul warned Titus about some people like this - "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work" (Titus 1:16). I've heard it said, and repeated it myself many times: "Consistency, thou art a jewel." I attend Bible classes because it is consistent with the life I'm trying to life; that is, a life that belongs to God completely. I want to set a good example for others that is consistent in word and deed.
5. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE IT HELPS KEEP MY SPIRITUAL TEMPERATURE HIGH.
When we stop studying God's word, we stop growing spiritually. When we stop growing, we quickly become lukewarm Christians. In such a state, our commitment to Christ exists, but it is weak because we are stagnant--like water that never moves. Jesus had something to say about this type of Christian in Revelation 3:15,16 - "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth." Attending Bible classes is a great way to focus ourselves and maintain our fire or zeal for learning and serving the Lord.
6. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE I WANT TO KEEP MY SCALE OF PRIORITIES PROPERLY ADJUSTED.
Our Lord declared in Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." If the devil can get me to put Christ and the church in second place (or lower) in my life, then he'll be satisfied. If I put other things before Bible classes, what does that say about my priorities? When I put personal convenience above attending Bible classes, what does that say about my priorities? When I put sleep above attending Bible classes, what does that say about my priorities? When I put television above attending Bible classes, what does that say about my priorities? What I put my hobbies and interests above attending Bible classes, what does that say about my priorities?
7. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE I LOVE THE TRUTH AND HUNGER FOR IT.
The Bible teaches that some do not love the truth (II Thess. 2:10-12). Do you love the truth? If so, then you will hunger and thirst for it. Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." A great way to be filled spiritually is to attend Bible classes.
Reflect upon John 8:31,32, where Jesus said - "...If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." Do you abide or live in God's word? If so, you are a true disciple of Christ. But, be honest, can anyone claim to be living in the word of God when he purposefully chooses to neglect opportunities to gather together with other Christians to study and grow and better equip himself to rightly divide the word?
8. I ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES BECAUSE I WILL BE JUDGED BY THE BIBLE.
Every day we should be students of God's word because the biggest test of all time is coming up--the Judgment Day. Everything we need to know to succeed is in God's word, the Bible. That's what II Timothy 3:16,17 teaches - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Someday we will be judged by the Scriptures. Jesus declared in John 12:48 - "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Only a fool would neglect to study the Book that he will eventually be judged by. Only a fool would purposely pass up opportunities to get together with other students and study the Book in a Bible class!
Well, there you have it--eight reasons why I attend Bible classes! Can you think of one reason why a Christian should not attend Bible classes as often as possible? There are certainly lots of excuses that men and women may offer, but excuses won't get us very far on Judgment Day (cf. Luke 14:18ff)!
If you really love the Lord, you'll attend Bible classes as often as you possibly can! There is so much to learn from God's word and so little time to learn it. Those who are wise will take advantage of every opportunity to learn that is available to them. I know there are many who attend Bible classes for the same reasons I do. However, tragically, I know there are many others who purposefully waste many good opportunities to study God's word at home and with other Christians. I pray that you are not of that number.
Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.