Thursday, September 20, 2012

What is a Bible Class Worth? by Craig Hill

What is a Bible Class Worth?
In 1984, I started going to the Alvin Church of Christ in Alvin, Texas.  My wife Regina invited me.  I went to Sunday morning assembly and Bible class, evening assembly, and Wednesday night Bible class.  At first, I was a little taken aback at “going to church” that much.  (I don’t really like that phrase, because we are the church. We don’t go to it.)  But I was going to the church building and I was being taught by very smart, often highly educated people.  Sermons and classes were about the Bible, about relationships, about how to live a good and faithful life.  Classes were about how to act, how to be more self-controlled, how to be more pure in my thinking, etc.

This continued when we moved to the Indianapolis area and placed our membership at Southeastern church of Christ.  And I learned practical skills like how to manage money, how to raise children, and how to be better husband.  I learned about the Bible, how to deal with difficult people, and so many topics that there is no way I can remember them all.

This year I’ve spent a lot of time trying to convince certain people to attend certain classes that I thought would help them in their daily lives, such as how to manage your money.  And I was very unsuccessful in persuading these people to come to these classes.  I kept thinking about how valuable these classes are to people.  And yet I watch them struggle through their week and make mistakes that are really very avoidable if they were to take the class and do half of what was taught there.

And I thought: How does this compare to the hours that go into a college education?  Not the “credit hours”, but the actual classroom hours in a 4 year bachelor’s degree.   So follow me on this:

Most colleges offer a class that is about 3 hours of classroom time per week.  Most people carry a load of about 5 classes per semester.  So the hours are something like this:

3 hours per class  x  5 classes per week = 15 hours per week

15 hours per week  x  4 weeks per month  x  4 months per semester = 240 hours per semester

240 hours per semester  x  2 semesters per year = 480 hours per year

480 hours per year  x  4 years  = 1920 hours

So there is about 1920 hours in a 4 year college degree.

Then I calculated how many hours I’ve probably spent in classes or in sermons since 1984.  Now I must admit that traveling out of town and living in Carmel, we don’t make it to Wednesday night class all the time.  I will spare you all the math on this one, but since 1984 I’ve received about 4386 hours of sermons and classroom time.  And if I was teaching a class, I was still learning by teaching.

We pay about $5000 per semester for Rachel’s tuition at Purdue.   That’s $40,000 for 4 years at Purdue, not counting books, room, and board.

So I’ve received about 2 college degrees worth of education, or about $80,000 of education, encouragement and downright Godly edification since 1984.

My point?  Go to Bible class on Sunday mornings, go to the assembly on Sunday morning, go to Small Group Bible Study, and go to Wednesday night Bible classes.  Learn what is being taught.  It adds up over the years.

Proverbs 2: 1 to 6

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Hmmm.  Maybe that Wednesday night traffic to get from Carmel to Bible class isn’t so bad after all.

1 comment:

  1. For those trying to grow in "all wisdom" what good is the average Bible class? It seems most are tuned to the lowest common denominator and maybe understandably so but they're consequential superficial and spawned from an anti-intellectual ethos to boot. Mightn't it be a matter of stewardship to spend o 's time and involvement in something- better? Where do Wednesday leaders go for instruction?