“I Would Not Have You Ignorant Brethren”

By John McCort

Recently a test was given to a group of Bible class teachers who were taking a teacher training class. The test covered some basic fundamentals of Christianity such as the plan of salvation. The results of the test were very revealing.

The test was given with closed Bibles to test the true knowledge of the teachers. (Very few tests in school are open book tests.) The average score on the test was 58%. One man scored 98% and one woman scored 92%. The rest of the class scored below 80%.

Here are some of the questions and the results. Fourteen teachers took the test. Only four of them could find verses on the five steps in the plan of salvation. They were asked to supply two passages which imply that baptism is immersion. Only four of them could supply those passages. One teacher could not even write the plan of salvation in its five steps. They were asked to match up the cases of conversion with the corresponding chapters in Acts. Only two could do that. Only four could list a passage which stated that the Bible is inspired. Two of the teachers could not tell who preached the first sermon on Pentecost in Acts 2.

Five of the teachers did not know how many men wrote the Bible and three did not know how many books were in the Bible. Two did not know that Luke wrote the book of Acts and only eight of the teachers knew that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Only five could supply a verse that says there is only one church. Only three could supply a passage which states that Jesus is the head of the church. Only two teachers could supply two verses which state it is wrong to add to God’s word. Four of the teachers were unable to tell that Job came before Psalms. Only six of the teachers knew the passage that says that salvation is by faith only. One of the teachers stated that a pastor was an evangelist.

The results of this test point up some very fundamental weaknesses in our teaching program. We are not requiring enough recall from our adult classes. Many of our adult classes require nothing at all but a very few general comments from the class. The students are not required to learn anything or to remember anything. Thus, our Bible class teachers are very ill equipped to teach because very little intensive training is done. We never test our teachers to test their competency to teach. It is little wonder that our younger classes learn as little as they do at times.

These test results probably reflect a widespread and fundamental problem in the church. Our teachers need to be given some concentrated classes on Bible fundamentals and should not be allowed to teach until they know these fundamentals. We also need some special classes on teaching techniques.

I do not believe that our teachers need to be scholars. I do believe; though, that all teachers need to know the fundamentals of Christianity. We all need to know the plan of salvation and be able to supply verses which will substantiate what we claim. How can we teach the little children the books of the Bible if we do not even know them ourselves.

Students ask a lot of questions it. class. We do not always have the luxury of hunting through our Bibles for 15 minutes and using our concordance to find the answers. We need to know some of these fundamental answers by heart. We ought to be able to supply a passage which says that baptism is immersion and that sin is not inherited and yet most of our teachers are unable to do so.

If you think that your teachers are more knowledgeable than that, then write and ask for a copy of the test and give it to your teachers. I will venture to say that the percentages will be about the same. I am not trying to paint a negative picture of our Bible class teachers. I am, though, trying to point out the need for special intensive classes on Bible fundamentals for our teachers.

Truth Magazine XXIV: 43, p. 690October 30, 1980


The October 30, 1980 issue of Truth Magazine, Vol. 24, no. 43, page 2 (690), article entitled “I Would Not Have You Ignorant Brethren” had the following error. The fourth paragraph has the sentence, “Only six of the teachers knew the passage that says that salvation is by faith only. It should read, “Only six of the teachers knew the passage that says that salvation is not by faith only.”

Note appeared in Truth Magazine XXIV: 48, p. 776
December 4, 1980