When Elder Mark Finley returned from his April 2008 evangelistic meeting in Sao Paulo he related the story of a person who had shared his experience with him. “I knew nothing about the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But when I visited my friend’s house I saw a Sabbath School Bible study entitled ‘Discipleship.’ I was interested to have it, and so my friend gave it to me. I began to study these Sabbath School lessons. Then I started taking Bible studies. I was baptized during the campaign of Elder Mark Finley in April 2008.”
Sabbath School is still an effective instrument for soul-winning activities. Long ago Mrs. White told us that “the Sabbath school, if rightly conducted, is one of God’s great instrumentalities to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth” (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 115). That is still valid today!
However, the findings of the Barna Research Study dated June 2001 should concern us.
Comparing seven religious practices of 12 major denominations, the Barna study concluded that:
- Seventh-day Adventists ranked seventh in frequency of Bible reading, and only twelfth in prayer activities.
- The Barna study correlates with one coordinated by the General Conference that shows a low percentage of our members having a consistent devotional life.
Sadly, these studies indicate that Seventh-day Adventists are no longer “People of the Book.” The studies also indicate that many people do not make use of the materials and resources available in our church. We can change this picture.
Why Sabbath School Lessons?
Counsels on Sabbath School Work assures us of the following benefits:
- “Not only because it gives to young and old a knowledge of God’s word, but because it awakens in them a love for its sacred truths, and a desire to study them for themselves” (pp. 10, 11).
- “It teaches them to regulate their lives by its holy teachings” (p. 11).
- “Enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the archdeceiver” (p. 19).
- “The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures” (p. 22).
- Study the Bible, “our guide to a higher, holier life” (p. 24).
- “To understand the foundation principles of the faith of Christ” (p. 25).
- “That you may know what is truth” (ibid.).
- “Find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God” (p. 34).
- “Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God” (ibid.).
- “Great truths, which have been neglected and unappreciated for ages, will be revealed by the Spirit of God, and new meaning will flash out of familiar texts” (p. 35).
- “The most precious truths are revealed; the living oracles are heard by wondering ears, and the consciences of men are aroused into action” (ibid.).
- “The precious knowledge thus gained will build a barrier about the soul” (p. 36).
- “God will flash the knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures, into their memory at the very time when it is needed” (p. 41).
- “This sustains the nourishment, to keep the soul in health” (p. 44).
- “As a means of intellectual training, the opportunities of the Sabbath are invaluable. Let the Sabbath school lesson be learned, not by a hasty glance at the lesson scripture on Sabbath morning, but by careful study for the next week on Sabbath afternoon, with daily review or illustration during the week. Thus the lesson will become fixed in the memory, a treasure never to be wholly lost” (Education, pp. 251, 252).
It is clear that studying The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide is vitally important for our members for their spiritual growth, and also to equip them to share the good news of salvation with others. Let us encourage one another to spend more time studying The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists