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Are Sabbath School Lessons Enough? — 27 Comments

    • Thank you for the affirmation, Jaslyn.

      Yes, of course, you may share. In fact, I encourage sharing this and other blog entries on Sabbath School Net.

      If you print off this or any other essay or share it via email, please be sure the give credit to Sabbath School Net and the original URL. In this case that is https://ssnet.org/blog/sabbath-school-lessons-enough/, which is always the proper way to share anything published on the web. (You can copy the URL from the address bar of your browser.)

      Thank you for asking, and may you and those with whom you share be led to a closer walk with Jesus by getting the "big picture" of God's interaction with humanity as you read the Bible through.

      • Thank you so very much This is really timely for me. I do believe in BIBLE STUDY and not jus proof texts thank you again!!!!!!!!!

  1. Very good advice Inge. The text "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" means much to our growth as Christians.
    Thanks for sharing our thoughts.

  2. Thanks for this important piece Inge. I think of John 15 where Jesus tells us He is the vine and we are the branches. The branches don't feed off the other branches, they feed off the vine. Likewise while I love SSNET and my Sabbath School class at church, I realize my spiritual nutrition comes from my personal pray and Bible study life, instead of feeding off other teachers and writers.

    As far as the question in your title, I usually study the entire week's lesson in one sitting of about 40 minutes including looking up all the verses. That hardly fills me up spiritually. I let the Bible fill me up and I encourage others to do the same.

  3. Inge, I think your article is excellent and covers a basic need in the church - even in my own life. I do believe that we as a church are basically the people of the book in name only that we truly feel that we are, "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you (we) are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17 NKJV). I think your article is a good way to kick start the church to getting back to being what we should be.

    After we get in the habit of habitually reading the Bible then I think we need to consider why we read it. Do we treat it as a magic wand of sorts where it confers on us an automatic righteous? While the Pharisees memorized vast amounts of scripture it apparently did them no good - they crucified the Lord of the Sabbath anyway which the Bible speaks of (Jn 5:39). They never understood the Word as it should have been understood.

    Do we feel that we must read the Bible or else we will be lost? To some degree I can understand this but the Bible is not our savior, it only testifies to Him. So why do we read the Bible? Am I reading it so I can argue endlessly about this or that? Am I reading "God's word" in order to unlock mysteries of the future, to uncover all the conspiracies in the world?

    I would like to suggest a better way. Why not read the Bible in order to find out what God is like and then to choose to be like He is. Learn what God's will is for your life and do it for those that are saved, "are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Rev. 14:4 NKJV). They are the ones who build on the solid rock rather than the shifting sand of popular opinion. They are the ones who are immersed in His thoughts rather than the world's and there is no better source than the Bible to do that. So I pose the question, why should I read the Bible?

    • Tyler, thank you for bringing up the important question of why we read and study the Bible. Our purpose can make all the difference. In fact, the wrong purpose can actually make Bible study harmful. (As in looking for things to dispute.)

      However, I believe we get to know God through the Bible. It's a way of spending time with Him. And Jesus said in His last prayer, that "knowing God" is eternal life. (John 17:3) He also said that the Scriptures testify of Him (Jesus). (John 5:39)

      When we ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us through His Word so we may know Him, we allow Him to transform our lives.

    • Purpose for studying scripture: "They testify of Me" said Jesus. So why is this important? "Come unto Me...and I will give you Rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me..."

      From Genesis to the Revelation, Jesus is declared and exalted as the sinner's only Hope and Peace. The "exceeding great and precious promises" abound throughout like the precious stones in a diamond mine, which must be found through digging with a purpose, to find that Rest which comes from the Peace that Jesus gives to all who believe in Him. Our faith in His atonement brings this Peace. Jesus is the treasure hid in the field found only by the diligent seeker. Plow deeply!

      Yes, our salvation is found in God's Word, which brings faith in His promises, faith that will be seen in our daily life and witness. All this comes from God's Word. (Rom 10:17, 2 Peter 1:4)

      The other purpose: "...profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

      These 2 purposes blend in the knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent.

  4. Thank you for the thought provoking piece. I pray that God give me the diligence to study his word rather than 'looking up' the Bible as has been my practice.

  5. Shabbat Shalom Inge and Tyler and all!

    Thoughtful words! Words of wisdom! Words to reflect upon! Certainly for all of us. For me. For you. For all.

    What indeed is that seal of God that we Seventh-day Adventists so proudly claim for ourselves because we are keepers of the Seventh Day Sabbath? Is there a hint in the first word of the Sabbath Commandment? Are we, am I, truly characterized by always reflecting [or remembering] upon the foremost things of our Creator? [Off-topic tangent redacted by moderator.] Isn't it true that our Savior is asking each of us to follow Him as He is calling us to learn and to do ever more of those blessings without number that He is willing to share with us throughout eternity?

    Are we, am I, truly a Berean, or am I doing my best to quiet every Paul and every Peter whose new insights may be somewhat contrary to the traditional teachings of our beloved church, new teachings that must be studied in depth in order to be discerned and accepted for what they may be worth?

    Shabbat Shalom

  6. I have always thought of the SS lessons as a diving board, used only to get us into the pool of scripture where knowledge, wisdom, peace, and faith abound. The scriptures are where we will "...understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God." (Prov 2:1-5)

    Lovely poem, well-written by someone who found the Treasure in God's word.

    I would like to share my experience: when I came across Exodus 16:21, I understood it to mean the best time for me to gather my daily manna, which I started the next morning early. I had been doing my study/reading in the evenings. I cannot describe the difference it made. Yes, the next day begins at sunset, with rest, so we are our freshest the next morning. This means I could no longer be a "night person", and that the preparation for each day begins the night before. Since that day my best time is the very early morning and I relish that time each day. It is the quietest time of each day and truly one is alone with God in that hour, before the needs and activities of the day fill our minds with care. God can speak most clearly in a still, small voice.

    Try it if you haven't already, but remember, you must prepare the night before to get the required rest. This will change many things for some. There is also Jesus' example. (Mark 1:35) Science has proven the brain most capable of higher activity upon rising after a good night of proper rest. (Can we understand why the evening starts the next day?!) This requires an empty stomach when laying down to sleep, meaning a lighter supper or no supper the night before. You will then have a good appetite the next morning. Trust me! (Remember: breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, supper (if needed) like a Pauper. A lighter lunch will also provide a less drowsy afternoon.)

    As for the proof texts, they define our doctrine, but we need more than this to feed the soul. Still, Paul does tell us to "prove all things". There are different reasons to study, but the personal knowledge of God and Jesus whom He sent is our eternal life. Also: "study to show yourself approved unto God".

    • Thanks, Bill. Both are helpful initiatives, I'm sure.

      While I would like to encourage Bible reading and Bible study in general, my specific focus is on actually reading the whole Bible through. Reading the "About" section on revivedbyhisword.org, I got the impression that the idea was to read a whole chapter of the Bible a day - which would take a person through the whole Bible in a little over 3 years and 3 months. (That's how much it has usually taken me to read through the Bible, largely because of my inconsistent pattern.) But I was disappointed to see that the recent "Today's reading" selections have not been whole chapters, but only a few verses.

      I still encourage our readers to follow their own plan of reading the Bible through, preferably in a chronological Bible, which can really enhance the reading experience.

      In the past, I have read the Bible through without following a particular pattern, but marking off the chapters as I went. You can download a copy of my chart here. https://ssnet.org/dl/BibleBooks.pdf (Check boxes for every chapter of the Bible on one page) and https://ssnet.org/dl/BibleBooks-double-sided.pdf (For double-sided printing. You'll get check lists for 2 years when you cut the page in half.) This way I could read whatever book or chapter I wanted to - often related to the Sabbath School lesson - and mark it off. By the time every chapter was marked off, I knew I had read every chapter in the Bible. 🙂

      (I got the idea from the Morning Watch booklets many years ago. Later the Voice of Prophecy gave out check lists at camp meetings. When they quit that, I had a few left. And for several years now, I've used my own.)

  7. This is a fantastic post! Thanks Inge.

    From the time I began studying the Bible, I have enjoyed looking up words in the original Greek and Hebrew and in dictionaries. Maps are helpful to get a geographical perspective. Different Bible translations can teach a slant of word and/or verse that another version doesn't have. Finding out the context of the verses helps in understanding what the author intended. Commentaries can be helpful.

    I love: studying the Bible, giving Bible studies, and thinking about Bible topics.

    This quarter's Sabbath School lessons on the book of James have been just about the best I have read, both in the verses and in the comments. Like William mentioned, it's often easy to read through the Sabbath School lessons in 40 minutes, but I have been taking my time through these lessons and studying more than usual.
    Our discussions in Sabbath School have been helpful and inspiring. It is a joy to be able to come together Saturday morning and study the Bible together and worship together using the Bible.

  8. Inge, I agree there is no more worthwhile reading than time spent reading God's word. I am glad to see that even though you have recommendations, other readers manner or plans are not any less acceptable.
    Reading the Bible through as some, in order to accomplish a goal,to me doesn't allow time to study and understand what is being read. The goal becomes the purpose and much is missed. I like the idea of not reading in a formulated pattern. I spend many hours sometimes in the study of just one verse or passage. Some that are less educated and find it difficult to read may cling to only a few verses that are the most meaningful to them. The bible was not written for any group, or race or time in particular, but for all of them. Proverbs 3:5 is a verse that many are familiar with and seem applicable here. Trust in the lord... and lean not on your own understanding... He shall direct thy paths.

    • Paul, I don't think there is one "right way" to read the Bible. It depends on the person, the circumstance, and the need. And I encourage our readers to share their experience and make their recommendations.

      What you are suggesting is a Bible study approach which is not incompatible with reading the Bible through in a chronological manner. I'm doing this very thing in the NLT Chronological Study Bible.

      But I am specifically recommending reading the whole Bible through for those who have not done so before. It helps to get a grasp of the scope of God's interaction with humanity. What I haven't yet suggested is doing this along with the Conflict of the Ages series. I've done that too, and it can take several years to get all the way through, but it is very rewarding.

      The goal should never be just to read the Bible through. The goal should be to spend time with God and get to know Him better while we read the Bible through.

      • I am reading the Bible through in conjunction with the Conflict of the Ages series by EG White and have found it to be so enlightening. I have read the Bible through a couple of other times, but reading about what I have just read in the Bible has been very enlightening.

  9. I find that reading a whole book at a time works for me. I get a sense of what the book is really about when I use that method. The epistles in particular were probably meant to be read that way. I always ask myself, what is the big picture that the writer is trying to paint for their intended readers.

    Many of our lessons are based on a single book of the bible, and I read the whole book through several times during the study. It clears my head after a verse-by-verse study.

    • Yes, if we would all make a habit of reading at least a paragraph or a chapter when a verse is referenced and reading the whole book whenever the lessons focus on a book, we'd all gain much more from our Bibles. 🙂

  10. "Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more"...Shabbat Shalom, Sis Inge. Timely post, if ever there was one. "Reading piecemeal, hit or miss" pretty much describes me. I am an avid reader, always have been, and the Bible contains some of the most fascinating reading I've ever encountered, however, there's "Numbers" where they literally number a people. I've found, you must read "here a little, there a little." I've encountered passages, and become excited because, "hey, this is the next chapter to that story I read some time ago."Look at all the chapters that begin with the word, "and", not ordinarily a problem, unless previous chapter left off talking about one subject and following chapter doesn't follow. I have recently begun biweekly Bible studies in my home, and we began with the Book of Matthew. We started Summit Bible study the first week of November, and we are still in the first chapter of Matthew. Studying by myself is alright, however, listening to another's thoughts, gives you more understanding of a matter. Which is why I love ssnet.org, I enjoy the lesson study itself, but then I get to hear from my "Sabbath School class in my head" where I get to listen to the thoughts of Sis Inge, Bro Hugh is in the house, and it wouldn't be a class without Bro Will E. or Bro Ty Cluthe who always adds salient points to the conversation and Sis Shirley, can't wait to meet. There are others I enjoy listening to, but I'm just naming a few, who always add to the discussion going on in my mind. God bless you this Sabbath and this Holiday season.

  11. Sister Inge Anderson comment about the Morning Watch books that she studies years ago, reminded me that I would like to know if any readers ever come across a Temperance play named "I would like to stop Smoking" or "look not upon the wine when it is red." This play was in a temperance magazine for young people sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950.

    Please reply to this comment if anyone have any knowledge of this play
    Don Craig

  12. I love studying the Sabbath School lessons, they are so well prepared and it gives me such a good feeling to know that millions of brothers and sisters around the world are concentrating on the same topic.
    They are a wonderful way to help to learn how to study the Bible either by topic or by book. I agree with Inge and the others we need to study the Bible and we need to read to get the big pictures and we need to meditate on the messages with the main purpose being to spend time with the LORD to get to know Him, to have a relationship with Him and to develop a desire to be like Him.
    I love reading and am a fast reader and can skim over things too quickly. I discovered the best way for me was reading a chapter a day of the Conflict of the Ages series together with the relevant Bible portions. This gives the chronological order and it skips the 'begats' (or though there is reason why God inspired the writers to include them). My favourite of the 5 is the Desire of Ages and I would recommend it to anyone just beginning. I discovered in this book my MAP to life. Time and time again I read how Jesus would get up early to go aside by himself and meditate and pray, so Meditate And Pray is my MAP to life.

    • I just found a website that offers a free guide to read the Bible through chronologically. You might want to check that out. That way you wouldn't need to buy another Bible.

  13. I really love this article. Thanks for sharing. Really true that sometimes we have less time for Bible reading. We are obliged to read because we need to support our lesson discussions, or to be ready for an inspirational message. But the real meaning of Bible reading has been set aside. And I praise God for the lines that struck me "Pray about it". Thank you so much. 🙂

  14. Thank You! We've to read Bible as we eat food. because:-
    - Bible is a life's food("Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.", Matthew 4:4)
    - Bible is source of all the truths("thy word is truth", John 17:17, "For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth." Psalm 33:4)
    - Bible is source of Life and spirit("the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.", John 6:63)
    - Bible is source of all creature("By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.","For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.", Psalm 33:6,9)
    - Bible is the base of Our rebirth("Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.")
    - Bible is the foundation of Our faith("So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.", Romans 10:17)
    - Bible is the over all giudence for man of God("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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.", 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
    - Best of all, It is all about to testify Our savior Jesus Christ("Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.", John 5:39)
    * read more, You will find a lots about many things in the Bible

  15. Yes, the article is apropos to the core. Yes, you can get enough in the SS lesson, depending upon how you do it. Today I heed to the voice of the Holy Spirit . Today as James 4:14, implied. Today I will not harden my heart. Psalms 95:8, and Hebrews 4:7. How do I allow Christ to keep my heart from hardening. Well Paul says I die daily. Christ told Nicodemus to be born of the Spirit, of the cross, of love, and of heaven daily, and of water once, may be more if publicly sinned. John 3:1-17. And the church manual. Now how do I die daily, or be born again. I read, study, pray, listen, and meditate the ss lesson daily. My relationship is fostered on a daily basis with the SS lesson. I see the love of God drawing me to Him. I do not resist that drawing. This brings me to the foot of the cross in repentance. I get up on my feet rejoicing in the Lord for all he has done for me. Philippians 4:4-9. I go out and tell the world what He has done for me. I have now become a doer of the word, not just a hearer. James 1:22,25.
    Two of my favorite texts:
    If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:8
    But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13


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