LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR
May 24, 2014 by William H. Scarle. Jr. 813-835-0129
My stepson called me this past week from South Carolina. He had been asked to substitute teach a Sunday School class at his church, which would normally be no problem at all since he is an excellent teacher and knows the Bible well. The problem was that the scheduled lesson was to be from the Song of Solomon, which is the only book of the Bible focused on romantic love. The study material that had been provided took an allegorical approach to the text, which was the way the early church handled a very earthy approach to the attraction of a lover to the one destined to be his bride. We conversed for about a half hour. I hope I was of some help.
This will not be an article about the Song of Songs. I simply want to observe that the material provided for Sunday School teachers often leaves much to be desired. It is too often written to satisfy a wide range of dedicated teachers who are not interested or equipped to do thorough and detailed study of the biblical text. In other words it is “dumbed down.” Instead of trying to lift the level biblical study it seeks to satisfy only a basic and often unsatisfactory level of understanding.
I have tried through the years to teach in such a way as to lift the student to higher ground. It seems to me this was what was going on in the congregation at Berea where Luke notes, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” I have also made available extensive notes for my students so they would have the possibility of recalling accurately the matters we discussed in class.
Just this past week additions were made to the already existing list of biblical studies available on the website of the congregation I am attending in Tampa. We put this library on the site to be a resource to the teachers in our own congregation. However it is available to anyone who logs on to <old.bayshorebaptistchurch.com> and clicks on “resources” at the top of the page. The Bible study menu item will appear and another click will bring the full list of studies available.
Just in case you are wondering, Song of Solomon is not among the choices. However, there is a complete commentary on Genesis, Deuteronomy and Exodus. There is also a full exegetical study of Acts, and Revelation. Some of the more difficult books are included, such as Daniel and Hebrews. There are twenty-seven choices in all. There is also a study of the pilgrimage festivals of Israel and their significance for Christians. Pentecost is coming on the third of June and this may be of interest.
Some in our congregation have already found this resource helpful, and my intention is only to be of as much help as I can be to those interested in biblical study, especially those who are teaching. Paul instructed Timothy to teach in such a way as your students will be able to teach others. There are good commentaries available on the web without cost. By in large they are classic. I have tried to present studies that are more in touch with our time.
If this information is of value to anyone, I will grateful to God who is always the giver.
(Bill Scarle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org). END-whs