Updated: Jun 29
Well that did not work out as planned! My women's Bible study group had just finished Jen Wilkin's study called God of Deliverance. We had spent months studying the first 18 chapters of Exodus verse by verse in great depth. Jen's study is excellent and we learned an incredible amount!
Most of the women have been in this group for five years. There is serious Bible study going on! The women have grown by leaps and bounds in their knowledge and faith. We have done studies on theology, discipleship, Bible study skills, apologetics, another world religion, and we have alternated between the New Testament and the Old Testament. They are passionate about learning - always doing their homework, always participating. We have become extremely close. The very best of friends.
Each study I try to do something to make the study be memorable. We had love glasses one time when we studied having a heart for God. Another study a big concept was the fear of God and I had the rather scary portrait of my great grandmother Sarah Minerva hanging up. She was a God fearing woman; something we wanted to be. I hadn't really done anything for this study up until last night.
Jen ended her study with a wrap-up and that is what we were going to discuss last night. What we will remember about this study. I wrote down several things I will remember from this study. I was thinking the women have learned so much and I want to show them how much they have learned! So I typed up a quiz and ran out and got the cutest little prize for whoever did the best on the quiz.
We discussed our take-aways from this long study. Then we watched Jen's tenth video. And then I gave them the quiz. Long groans. 'This is so hard!'
The quiz was not received well at all. The ladies grumbled just like the Israelites did in the wilderness. Ha! We went over the answers and I let them grade their own quizzes and we didn't talk about scores. We determined the winner by did anyone get more than 40 points? No? Did anyone get more than 30 points? Yes, and I gave the woman her cute little succulent.
I honestly thought it would be pretty easy for them except for questions 5 and 21. Question 5 Jen went over the introduction week in her video. It would be hard to remember back that far. Question 21 is just hard to remember all the plagues. Those two questions I knew would be difficult but were designed to give us a winner. The rest of the questions they should have known because either Jen taught them or we have gone over them (like question 7) many times.
I thought they would take it and go 'Look how much we learned!' and be proud of themselves. Nope. It was tortuous. They knew we had studied it, but they just couldn't remember the answers.
How well do we know the biblical accounts? Do we give the biblical accounts as much effort as we do other things in our lives? We expect our children to master algebra and chemistry, or piano, or soccer skills, but have they been taught the basics of our faith with the same expectations? We ourselves take exercise classes and nutrition classes, but how much effort do we put into learning about the tenants of our religion? These women who go to church week in and week out were mostly learning this stuff for the first time. While we have come a long way in 5 years, the reality is we have not mastered all that much relative to how long we have been Christians.
Before the women came last night I asked my adult son a few of the questions. For the most part he did not know the answers. However, my husband was listening and he did know most of the answers! He grew up in the church and apparently was very well trained. At one point I said to my son, "Dude, in the movie The Ten Commandments, what does Moses say to Pharaoh?" And he responded he never saw the movie. What? Honestly I was shocked! How'd that happen? I thought everyone had seen the movie. I told him we were watching it this Easter and he chuckled.
Again I felt like a mom failure for not teaching my kids more about the Christian faith. We just didn't talk about this stuff much in our home. I guess I assumed they were getting "enough" training at church. Jen Wilkin ended this study by saying we must know our stories well so we can share them with future generations. The vast majority of us have failed at this.
I am reminded of the pastor who said to me if I broke my Connecting the Dots of the Bible class into 5 minute teaching videos, he would show the videos to the middle and high school students. Is that really the bar we want to set for ourselves and the next generation? Five minute videos? Is that the best we can do? Do we think that pleases God to get a teeny portion of our effort? You can’t learn anything worthwhile in 5 minute segments. The concepts in the Bible build on each other taking us into deeper understanding. After five years together, the women in this group realize that.
Where should the bar be set for basic Christian training?
We expect our kids to master their school subjects. We expect them to practice their instrument or their sport to get better at it. We will pay for them to have tutors when they are struggling in a subject. We will pay trainers to hone their skills. Perhaps when it comes to the Bible we should expect the same standards. Perhaps we should hold ourselves to those standards. Is it really enough to hand them a Bible and say have a quiet time for five minutes and make sure you pray before bed? Do we even do that?
Not training up a child in the way they should go leads to generations of people with weak faith. And what happens when people have little faith? The first big storm that hits they get swept away. And the storms will come. We need deep roots to make it through the tsunamis of life. There is a real benefit to learning this information. Huge benefits!
Scripture commands us to repeat and remember, repeat and remember, repeat and remember. Our memories are so short. We forget most of what we learn as time goes on. We must repeat it - over and over. But we need to know the accounts ourselves to be able to do this. We need to be purposeful to learn them well and talk about them. Passing our faith on to the next generation is a command from the LORD. Will we be obedient?
I told the ladies to think about what grade they would have got if that quiz was for a real class. Would they have got an A or an F? Are they happy with their grade?
I told the women to look on the bright side. We know more than we did months ago. I guarantee they know more about Exodus 1-18 than most people reading this. I couldn't be more proud of them! We continue to be purposeful on our faith journey and to plug along.
Let's ponder though if we put the same effort into Bible study with which we do other things in our lives. Anything you want to master takes training and effort on your part.
Let’s all strive to make God’s Honor Roll.
Knowledge is never wasted.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
PS The woman who won the succulent named it "Manna" because what is it? Ha ha! Cracked me up.