One of the chief dangers threatening Christ’s church is “ignorance” of the Scriptures and the plan of salvation which it clearly reveals. This seems surprising in a day which praises learning so highly. Many reasons for such ignorance may be cited.
Some is caused by indifference to the gospel. Some by the kind of preaching which touches on the Bible but never explains in depth and detail the riches of God’s Word. Another cause is undoubtedly what has been called the “new” method of teaching children and young people. Here topics are chosen, usually at random, by either teachers or pupils. This is supposed to stimulate discussion. Usually this fails, since no one can discuss intelligently and purposefully unless he knows what he is discussing about. In passing let us remember that this method isn’t new. It has been experimented with by some in past centuries without any lasting fruit.
Because we believe the Bible as God’s Word contains what is necessary to know unto salvation, sets this forth in clear fashion, and urges us to search these Scriptures thoughtfully, the church sooner or later-if it remains faithful to the Bible and its message-returns to the question-and-answer method. This does not mean that simply memorizing the material is adequate. But this method helps to lay solid foundations for us in the Word which cannot be broken. Therefore we use it in this manual.
You should first read the Scripture passage as background. In it at least one or two major emphases of the lesson can be found. Upon this follows the explanation. You are then asked to memorize the answers. Whether you understand what you are learning will become somewhat evident in how you respond to the questions for written work. Your answers should be discussed in class, together with additional material which the teacher deems necessary for your understanding.
The purpose of this manual is that of calling you to a living, personal faith in God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Such faith feeds on knowledge and understanding which produce a life to the praise of our God. May the Holy Spirit use it to that end.
Peter Y. De Jong