By Peter McPherson
Know Your Bible
Brother Gene Tope (whom I have never met but have heard a lot about and corresponded with once) has written a correspondence course. This course is published by the Cogdill Foundation (they did not ask me to write this article) and can be ordered by writing to Box 403, Marion, Indiana 46952. These lessons can be an invaluable aid in sowing the seed of the kingdom, in helping people to learn of the Way and in getting them to become disciples of the Lord. I am personally thankful to Brother Tope for his efforts made public and to the Cogdill Foundation for printing these great six lesson course.
The lessons in this course are: (1) Understanding The Bible, (2) Sin And The Blood Of Christ, (3) What Must I Do To Be Saved?, (4) Denominationalism, (5) The New Testament Church, and (6) Baptism. The lessons are simple, sound and scriptural. They are attractive, clear and brief. What better way could there be of teaching people in mass than by intensive efforts along the line of a mail Bible Course? I have been using Bible courses to teach people in the areas where I have been located over the years and will continue to do so. And though I have used other correspondence courses I have found that the Know Your Bible lessons are as good as any and better than-many. They are reasonably priced at about 75″ a set. They need to be used and used widely. There is no need for you to go to the work to make up your “own” Bible correspondence course when such a fine set is available. What few things you would change in Brother Tope’s course are very minor. The work and cost involved would not be worth it. Again I say, let us make use of this fine Bible Course.
Bible Course Suggestions
Order a set of 100 of these Bible lessons (order 150 of No. 1’s as you always use more No. 1 lessons than the others). Post a display of the Bible lessons on the church bulletin board. Give every family in the local church a complete set to look over and to keep for themselves so that they can see how good they actually are. This way no one is in the dark as to the material being used and, besides that, this should encourage the members to enroll someone on the lessons, perhaps a relative, even a son or a daughter, a father or a mother (at least it is a wonderful wish and a few will fulfill your dreams).
Offer your Bible Course free to all who would like to learn more of God’s word. Run a 4 inch by 4 inch ad in the local newspaper and/ or place a small ad in the personal section. Do not give the church address or even mention the church of Christ (will someone jump me on this?). Most people look upon the church of Christ as simply another denomination and, therefore, they would not take the lessons if they knew that they are connected with “that church”! By not giving them this pre-mature information you will be able to get some, in time (patience good friend and tact old buddy), to know about the true church.
Some More Advice
Some areas are more receptive to one form of teaching than others. Some areas have more outlets for this kind of teaching. Let me tell you what has been working well for us here in Lethbridge, Alberta the past couple of months. Undoubtedly the following has helped in our success: We have been making up little pouches from poster-board (cut a piece 7 inches by 5 inches and fold up the bottom 1 inch and staple). Into these little pouches we have been placing about ten 3 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ “no postage necessary” business reply cards (get a number from the Post Office and use a box number or a non-church address). On the one side of this card have the address printed where you want the cards sent. On the other side something like the following
Know Your Bible Program
A Special FREE home Bible Study Course is now being organized. This Course is:
Absolutely free of charge
Conducted entirely by mail
Based directly on the Bible
Contains 6 lesson booklets which you keep
To enroll, simply print your name and address on this card and mail as you would any postcard. Your first lesson will be mailed to you immediately.
Why Not Do It Now Before You Forget?
Here at Lethbridge we have been tacking up these cardholders containing the above cards all over town: on the bulletin boards in the cities, in laundromats, in the university (which has some 10 bulletin boards), in the community college (which has a dozen bulletin boards) and in other public places where there are bulletin boards. Then we have just sat back and waited! In less than two months we have had over 50 cards returned. And already some have finished their lessons and we have started having home Bible studies with them. We are confident that others will be developed. We keep complete records on each student. This is important.
After the student has completed all six lessons that person should be called on immediately. At the first contact, be friendly, congratulate the person for completing the lessons, introduce yourself as the one grading, or overseeing the Bible lessons, talk about things concerning their family, work, weather, etc. Finally, after you have made friends, suggest that you would like to come into his or her home and continue in Bible study. I have found that the Jule Miller Bible Film Strips make a good next step in teaching most families. Usually people are favorable to this approach. You might play it by ear as to whether or not you invite them “to church” just yet.
Keep At It
Any program must be worked at and kept up. The bulletin boards should be visited at least once every two weeks. (Most bulletin boards are for public usage and unless they are marked for some specific thing just go ahead and use them.) Do not offer any gimmicks, rewards or prizes for completing the lessons. This way you will get mostly sincere and genuine Bible students. This helps to weed out the “loaves and fishes” seekers. Preachers, grade the lessons yourself of” get a knowledgeable Christian to help you. Talk up the Bible Course to the members regularly. Get them to work for you. Be enthused about it and others will get the idea. Expect,.some results. Be positive and optimistic. It is a super way to teach people but we will have to sell ourselves on the idea and push it at the members for it to work profitably. Do not become discouraged. Understand that quite likely only about 10 percent or less will complete the lessons. And, of course, less than that will obey the gospel. This is just the way it is. But you are trying. You are sowing. God cannot expect more of us than this for it is He that “giveth the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6; Mt. 13:8). Make It Easy and Encouraging
Pay all postage for the Bible Course enrollees. Use a stamped and self-addressed return envelope for their finished lesson. Write their name on each lesson sent as they sometimes forget to do this. Give them a grade on each lesson with an added “Perfect,” “great,” or “Very Good” and then sign by using your initials. This is only polite, gives it a personal touch applies tact and help in the long run. Answer each question kindly and try to defer them for later (especially if the other lessons will cover that point).
A Scriptural Plan
What could be more scriptural than the Bible Correspondence Course program? Whenever it is said in the scriptures that the people came back to hear the word of God or whenever people were asked a question, there is a type of Bible correspondence course being employed (well, use your imagination just a little!). Anyway “teach” is generic and any arrangement used by individuals and churches that does not violate any scriptural principle is scriptural. Use the Know Your Bible Correspondence Course. Be Sowers; Get Learners; Make Disciples. Enroll Them in a Bible course!
Truth Magazine XXII: 24, pp. 390-391
June 15, 1978