Is Sunday School Biblical?

Mindy
Mindy

June 14th, 2004, 5:47 am #1

I apologize in advance if this is not the place to post this question. This post is actually the result of days of searching the internet trying to find the answer. Right now, my family is trying to decide if Sunday School is Biblical and if that is the road we need to take.

I was raised Baptist while my husband was raised Church of Christ. He has always gone to a church that did NOT have Sunday School. Since we have children now, we feel a conviction to teach our children and to become closer to God ourselves. I see that Sunday School is fine but that is based on the way I was raised. I don't have scripture to back me up. He sees that Sunday School is wrong as it is never mentioned in the Bible, is a pretty new thing being less than 200 years old, and seperates the family. He sees that it is a parents job to teach the child, not the church.

He feels that Sunday School would be fine, like a Bible Study, if it were not a part of the worship service. He has agreed to pray on it as have I. Both of us are willing to go in the direction the Bible teaches. The church that we attend now does not have Sunday school and for various reasons is just not united. I have not felt at home there in a few years. I would like to switch churches so we are exploring the next step. Any ideas or scripture you all could find would be most appreciated.
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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

June 15th, 2004, 8:23 am #2

Mindy,

For now I’m going to respond to your question briefly. Hopefully, I’ll be able to expound or elaborate on this issue later on.

It would be illogical to discuss “Sunday School” without connecting or relating it to the “worship service.” [Frankly, I prefer the expression “Bible study” or “Bible school” to “Sunday School.” I also prefer the expression “assembly or gathering of the saints” to “worship services.”] In addition, the assembly of the saints would be greatly misunderstood without associating it with the synagogue.

The word “synagogue” does not appear in the Old Testament except in Psalm 74:8; but it is very frequently referenced (at least 60 times) in the four gospels and in the book of Acts. This is proof that there is a bit of history involved in the development of the synagogue during the intertestament period, as well as during the establishment and the early life of the church. The term “synagogue” is derived from the Greek language and means “to gather” or “to gather together” or “to bring together.” The Hebrew equivalence is “assembly” or “convocation” or “calling together

Without discussing the historical aspect in detail for the time being, we should note that by the New Testament times, the synagogue was firmly established and of major importance or role in the “religiousness” of the Jewish people. <font color=blue>It is noteworthy that the Jewish assembly was [God’s] Word-centered. The meeting was on a particular day, of course, the Sabbath (Saturday, the seventh day of the week). They prayed; they read from the scrolls—the law of Moses and the prophets; they heard a lesson of exhortation. NOTE this one: they did read, sing or chant from the Psalms—with NO mechanical instruments used or accompanying. An offering was taken each Sabbath mainly for the poor. And each synagogue had a ruler(s) or elders—men of age, experience and dedication. </font>

The New Testament assembly is patterned after or similar to the synagogue gathering format, indeed, WORD-CENTERED. Simply put—the New Testament gathering is also a school of the Bible in itself. The book of Acts (a history of the early church) and the epistles have a lot to say about how the early Christians gathered. <font color=indigo>They met on a particular day, specifically on THE first day of THE week (Acts 20:7); prayed and read from the scriptures (Acts 2:42; Col. 4:16); sang the word of Christ to admonish and teach one another (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); heard a lesson of exhortation (Acts 20); gave of their means in a freewill manner (I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 8:12)—TO HELP THE POOR. They had a plurality of elders and deacons (Acts 14:23; Phil 1:1). As you can see, the nature or purpose of the gathering did not change except for the day of the assembly. And, understandably so, the observance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as part and for the purpose of the gathering of the New Testament saints (Acts 20:7ff; I Cor. 11). </font>

So, now, the big question—Is Sunday School biblical? Historical perspectives indicate that the “gathering” or “assembly” of New Testament Christians is WORD-CENTERED, in which studying and learning is already an integral part of “the school of the Bible”—the assembly itself—along with the commemoration of the Lord’s suffering and death, the collection (conveniently on the same day) for the poor and needy. In other words, this form of BIBLE STUDY is already an important part of the “ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER” that we are not to forsake, EXHORTING [TEACHING] ONE ANOTHER (Heb. 10:25).

Now, what about the so-called “Sunday School” (say at 10:00 a.m.) that is SEPARATE AND APART from the “synagogue” or assembly to exhort and teach each other (say at 11:00 a.m.)? Well, this Sunday School, a misnomer, would be less questionable if intended as an “additional” Bible study period. Such a study period is biblical in the sense that we are commanded to study anyway (II Timothy 2:15), but not necessarily only on Sunday because it can occur anytime, any day of the week. In other words, a Monday or Thursday or another day or even everyday could be designated as a Bible study period. Remember in Acts 17:11 when “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures DAILY”? Perhaps, the “Sunday School” should be called instead the “Daily Bible School”—it just happens that the Bible study period on a Sunday is undoubtedly convenient to those already assembled.

Donnie
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Mindy
Mindy

June 16th, 2004, 12:01 am #3

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. My husbands take on things has to do with women teaching, family being seperate where you put faith in others as to what your children are learning, and the fact that it is a study called by Elders which makes it a part of the worship.

I wholeheartedly agree with what you have to say. I love the Church of Christ and feel that I have learned more truth than ever before since attending church. What bothers me is that, at least the church we go to, seems to be ver legalistic ON SOME THINGS while throwing caution to the wind on others.

There is some splitting of hairs on this issue I believe. Women are allowed to teach a Bible study but not allowed to teach in a worship service. So we go through the eternal debate over what constitutes a worship service and such. I say that I want to feel alive in my walk while he says that your walk isn't about feelings. I say that God wants us to have joy. He sees joy as very different from happiness.

A bit of background to explain why his views are as such. He comes from a devout Church of Christ family who believe that Sunday School is wrong, celebrating Christmas is wrong, everything has to be done a certain way, etc. There have been endless debates with his family over them holding on to scripture that isn't even scripture. He went to a very small church where there was little emotion and a large sense of duty. Because of this, you don't go to church because of the feeling it gives you or anything like that. You go because you are not supposed to forsake the assembly.

I am in the process of trying to figure all of this out too so once again, I thank you for taking the time to research all of this and respond.
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H.Roberson
H.Roberson

June 18th, 2004, 2:57 am #4

I apologize in advance if this is not the place to post this question. This post is actually the result of days of searching the internet trying to find the answer. Right now, my family is trying to decide if Sunday School is Biblical and if that is the road we need to take.

I was raised Baptist while my husband was raised Church of Christ. He has always gone to a church that did NOT have Sunday School. Since we have children now, we feel a conviction to teach our children and to become closer to God ourselves. I see that Sunday School is fine but that is based on the way I was raised. I don't have scripture to back me up. He sees that Sunday School is wrong as it is never mentioned in the Bible, is a pretty new thing being less than 200 years old, and seperates the family. He sees that it is a parents job to teach the child, not the church.

He feels that Sunday School would be fine, like a Bible Study, if it were not a part of the worship service. He has agreed to pray on it as have I. Both of us are willing to go in the direction the Bible teaches. The church that we attend now does not have Sunday school and for various reasons is just not united. I have not felt at home there in a few years. I would like to switch churches so we are exploring the next step. Any ideas or scripture you all could find would be most appreciated.
Mindy,

Sunday school is not Biblical, but it isn't anti-scriptural either. Being unBiblical simply means it isn't mentioned in the Bible. As such, many of our brethren believe that a congregation can't support such a thing (buy curriculum, pay for classrooms, divide the assembly, etc.).

This belief, to my mind, is rather unreasoned, despite that there are many good students of scripture that would disagree with me. The non-Sunday School wing of Churches of Christ are a rather small group and do not represent the 'mainstream' (as though that means anything).

Sunday school is, in reality simply an opportunity to study the Word, which is mandated by Scripture. The argument against it pays more attention to what a congregation may or may not be able to do rather than recognizing that Christians are expected to study Scripture either singly or in groups.

However, you and your husband need to discuss this between yourselves and this response is not intended to cause any division in your family. You all pray about it, and then decide what to do.

H.Roberson
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Mindy
Mindy

June 19th, 2004, 4:52 am #5

Your post was not only informative, it was kind and considerate. For that, we both thank you!!

I think when it all comes down to it, this is an issue where we have to pray to follow where we are led. Sometimes that is the hardest part.

Thanks again and God Bless you and yours
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Anonymous
Anonymous

September 13th, 2012, 4:08 am #6

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. My husbands take on things has to do with women teaching, family being seperate where you put faith in others as to what your children are learning, and the fact that it is a study called by Elders which makes it a part of the worship.

I wholeheartedly agree with what you have to say. I love the Church of Christ and feel that I have learned more truth than ever before since attending church. What bothers me is that, at least the church we go to, seems to be ver legalistic ON SOME THINGS while throwing caution to the wind on others.

There is some splitting of hairs on this issue I believe. Women are allowed to teach a Bible study but not allowed to teach in a worship service. So we go through the eternal debate over what constitutes a worship service and such. I say that I want to feel alive in my walk while he says that your walk isn't about feelings. I say that God wants us to have joy. He sees joy as very different from happiness.

A bit of background to explain why his views are as such. He comes from a devout Church of Christ family who believe that Sunday School is wrong, celebrating Christmas is wrong, everything has to be done a certain way, etc. There have been endless debates with his family over them holding on to scripture that isn't even scripture. He went to a very small church where there was little emotion and a large sense of duty. Because of this, you don't go to church because of the feeling it gives you or anything like that. You go because you are not supposed to forsake the assembly.

I am in the process of trying to figure all of this out too so once again, I thank you for taking the time to research all of this and respond.
Mindy email me at seedsofhopeonline.com@gmail.com. I would like to discuss this issue with you free of the moderators diversion to the truth.
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Joined: July 29th, 2010, 2:32 pm

September 13th, 2012, 3:27 pm #7

Your post was not only informative, it was kind and considerate. For that, we both thank you!!

I think when it all comes down to it, this is an issue where we have to pray to follow where we are led. Sometimes that is the hardest part.

Thanks again and God Bless you and yours
Moses was told how to conduct Sabbath School in Exodus 18. Sub-groups as small as 10 had a designated teacher of The Covenant of Grace. (Abrahamic). The later more organized synagogues were held where ten heads of families existed.

When the leaders led the people into idolatry (musical worship of the Egyptian trinity), God abandoned them to "worship the starry host" (Acts 7 etc.)

God sentenced them to captivity and death and ordained the Jacob-cursed Levi tribe to conduct their neo-Babylonian sacrifices behind closed gates.

Christ the ROCK ordained the Qahal (synagogue) or Church of Christ in the wilderness. The small sub-groups came to gather every REST day (rarely Saturday). "Work" excluded even "sending out ministers of God."

This was INCLUSIVE of Rest, Reading and Rehearsing the Word.
This was EXCLUSIVE of vocal or instrument rejoicing including elevated forms of rhetoric.

The synagogue always existed but under various names: Qahal is still used by many Synagogues. The Campbells tried to restore:

Church is A School of Christ
Worship is Reading and Musing the Word of God

What they were commanded to do in "synagogue" which never changed even when it was more codified after Babylon. Jesus rejected "alms" with attention-getting sounds and commanded that prayers be YOURS and in sected. The PRAY-ER was the READ-ER and they always affirmed that there is ONE GOD.



Both Jew and Gentile were "wise unto salvation" because the synagogue was the Gentile option to escape the pagan "worship services." That pattern never changed.

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Jesus PATTERNED what the Spirit OF Christ ordained in the wilderness.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Paul's practice and direct command continued the Church in the Wilderness by rejecting any of the performance roles (Romans 15) and commanded them to speak that which is written for our learning with one mind and one voice. Disciples go to Bible Class as the UNIQUE meaning of worship in the New Testament.

That was the historic practice of the church until both preaching (sermonizing) and singing were imposed after Constantine in 373. Even then only the Psalms were cantillated until well after John Calvin.

So your husband has Scripture and History on his side. Sunday School was rejected because the publishers gave the elders no authority.

What Jesus attended, commanded, what Paul attended and commanded and what history affirms has no role for either male or female to teach what the publishers "have written for their learning."

Children are NOT fools: They need to hear "that which was written for their learning" as a visual aid that the leaders honor the Words of Christ in the Prophets and Apostles as the ONLY educational foundation for building the church.






Last edited by Ken.Sublett on September 13th, 2012, 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

September 13th, 2012, 8:13 pm #8

I apologize in advance if this is not the place to post this question. This post is actually the result of days of searching the internet trying to find the answer. Right now, my family is trying to decide if Sunday School is Biblical and if that is the road we need to take.

I was raised Baptist while my husband was raised Church of Christ. He has always gone to a church that did NOT have Sunday School. Since we have children now, we feel a conviction to teach our children and to become closer to God ourselves. I see that Sunday School is fine but that is based on the way I was raised. I don't have scripture to back me up. He sees that Sunday School is wrong as it is never mentioned in the Bible, is a pretty new thing being less than 200 years old, and seperates the family. He sees that it is a parents job to teach the child, not the church.

He feels that Sunday School would be fine, like a Bible Study, if it were not a part of the worship service. He has agreed to pray on it as have I. Both of us are willing to go in the direction the Bible teaches. The church that we attend now does not have Sunday school and for various reasons is just not united. I have not felt at home there in a few years. I would like to switch churches so we are exploring the next step. Any ideas or scripture you all could find would be most appreciated.
Ken, 2004? Where in the world...?...nevermind....again.
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Joined: July 29th, 2010, 2:32 pm

September 13th, 2012, 8:45 pm #9

I didn't put it back on top: besides you didn't get the point 8 years ago.

maybe "seeds of hope" just woke up?

http://seedsofhopeonline.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi
Last edited by Ken.Sublett on September 13th, 2012, 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Racnor
Racnor

September 13th, 2012, 9:19 pm #10

"So your husband has Scripture and History on his side."

*******************

Ken, just trying to understand your position on Sunday School/Bible Study, are you saying we should not it have on Sunday?
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