Teach the Facts

Leslie Diestelkamp
Rochelle, Illinois

Quite frequently we tell the world that the gospel consists of facts to be believed, commands to be obeyed and promises to be received. Yet, across that land, many, many Christians don't know the facts. They remember the commands they obeyed and they have some idea of the promised reward. And actually they may know those fundamental facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Yet, very often they cannot give a significant portrayal of the chronological and factual stories of the Bible.

To begin with, too many Christians have been weaned from the facts of the Old Testament. Because it is not our law today, it is often neglected even though it is really a very fundamental foundation for New Testament faith (see I Cor. 10:11). Children do not learn the Old Testament stories of faith and of failure, of obedience and of rebellion by drawing pictures and playing with crayons and crafts in the class period. And modern parents are too busy to take a few minutes each day to tell or read a Bible story. Likewise, adults often fail to learn and relearn the Bible facts, for their class material is prepared with the assumption that they already know those things.

If you think I am mistaken, the next time your class meets put away the books and lesson sheets and engage in a brief review of the chronological and geographical account from Adam to Christ - and be prepared for a shock! Ask about Seth. "Well, let's see, was he one of the twelve patriarchs or was he a butcher in the house of Pharaoh?" Ask, "Who was Deborah?" Some may think she was a beauty queen in Babylon while others may suppose she was a shepherd girl in the plains of Moab. Ask about Joseph. They may declare that he was the father of the twelve, and that the oldest of the twelve was Methuselah while the youngest was surely Abednego - or else John Mark!

You may say, "Oh, it isn't that bad." Well, almost. It is a very well known fact that many Christians don't know much about the actual characters and events of the Bible. Of course, if God should change his mind, his plan, his will and his word, and if he would send Jesus Christ to your town, to walk your streets, everyone would know him because they have seen his picture (?) ten thousand times! They know (?) that he is a tall, handsome man with a weak, pallid expression and long hair just like any woman wore in that day!

No, I am not opposing the use of some aids in teaching children, but I do believe much, much more time and emphasis needs to be put upon Bible stories and Bible facts both by teachers of children and of the adults. There is no substitute for a real working knowledge of the very words of the Bible, and too often this has been replaced by a very superficial understanding of little more than the first principles of salvation. An excellent aid to teaching and learning Bible stories is Hurlbut's Story of the Bible - good for young and old. Order from Truth Magazine Book Store.

May 1969