BIBLE COLLEGE

Is It in the Bible?

Question: (Laurie asks) I was wondering if there is Scripture background and basis for attending Bible School? If so could you please share the book, chapter and verse. Thanks.

Answer: Bible college and the Bible! What an interesting question! And since the Bible doesn't speak specifically of Bible schools, or Bible institutes, as we know them, we have to look at other factors and precedents. Basically, what we find in scanning the Word of God is that a Bible education and spritual training have always been given a priority. Believers in every era availed themselves of the best opportunities possible to study the Scriptures and receive training to serve the Lord.

1) Since ancient times, the home has been recgnized as the first place where spiritual training is to be given. Moses told the Israelites, "These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children" (Deut. 6:6-7; cf. Ps. 78:1-8). That is where Timothy got his early spiritual training (I Tim. 1:5; 3:14-15).

2) There were traveling teachers in Israel in Old Testament times (II Chron. 17:9). And on some occasions the people gathered together to receive instruction from men such as Ezra (Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:1-8). In addition, apparently there were local schools in towns such as Bethel and Jericho, where "the sons of the prophets" were trained (II Kgs. 2:3, 5). We know these were residential institutions where the young men lived together, because one group constructed a building to accommodate themselves (II Kgs. 6:1-2).

3) There is a wonderful Bible college presented to us in the New Testament–though it is never called that. The Lord Jesus, the master Teacher, spent about three years with twelve men, teaching and training them to evangelize, and build His church, after He ascended back into heaven. These men, in the power of the Holy Spirit, turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). (And there was only one drop-out in Christ's school, Judas Iscariot!)

4) Saul (who would later become the Apostle Paul) was trained in the Old Testament Scriptures under a renowned teacher named Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

5) Paul taught the Christians at Ephesus a comprehensive course in the Scriptures ("the whole counsel of God," Acts 20:27), which took him three years to complete (vs. 31). While in Ephesus, he also taught in "the school of Tyrannus" for two years (Acts 19:9-10).

6) Paul commended continuing education to Timothy. "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (I Tim. 4:13). And "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing [accurately handling] the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). Paul himself seems to have continued studying, even in prison near the end of his life, since he asked for books to be sent to him (cf. II Tim. 4:13).

7) The Lord has given gifted teachers to the church, "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying [the building up] of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12). And it is logical to assert that if there are teachers, there must be students! Whether these gather in a local church building, or somewhere else, they are learning from those that God has specially equipped to teach them.

8) The alternative to receiving proper training is dangerous ignorance. We are to study God's Word "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14).

Sadly, "The Spirit expressly says that in latter times, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (I Tim. 4:1). And "Everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe [spiritually immature]. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:13-14).

Bottom line: Though Bible colleges are not specifically mentioned in the Bible, there is ample evidence that we should avail ourselves of the best training possible. This is even more vital today, as there are so many voices proclaiming error using powerful media tools, and leading people astray.

Not every young person will end up attending Bible school, but each one should seriously consider that option. It is a blessing to attend a good Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. But even involvement there for several hours a week falls far short of what is possible in a concentrated Bible college program.

We need a good grounding in the Scriptures. This is important for each person, and it is especially helpful if the individual plans on going to university. Bible college first, for at least a year; university after. Bible colleges not only impart knowledge, they build Christian character, and help students discover and develop gifts.

Members who have Bible college training can be a great help to the local church, even if they never go on to a vocational ministry (such as being a pastor or missionary). Each church needs well equipped laymen and women, committed to serving the Lord.