Why are we having special topical and thematic studies in Sunday School?

StudyOn February 15, we’ll begin having special topical and thematic study classes during the Sunday School hour that will work very much like MIT did on Sunday evenings. After 10 weeks of special studies, we’ll switch back to the expositional model of Sunday School. Later in the year, we’ll introduce another 10 weeks of special studies, and then we’ll switch back again. So, why are we doing this? What are the reasons for the change? Consider these four reasons.

1. To study the Bible biblically. The Bible teaches us how to study itself. It tells us that we need to study the Bible historically (Acts 7), systematically (Lk 24:27; Acts 17:11), and practically (Heb 4:12). We need to grasp the whole of Scripture and how it works out in our personal thoughts and lives. The Bible tells us, “the sum of your Word is truth” (Ps 119:160), which means when we understand the sum of the Bible, according to its own themes and teachings, we arrive at its truth. We’re to be people who know “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). See here for more information on the Bible’s teaching about how we’re to study the Bible in many different ways.

2. To learn the Bible’s theological and practical themes. Though we will offer one expositional class that studies a single book of the Bible during the Sunday School hour, we would encourage you to consider taking advantage of the classes that explore the theological and practical themes of Scripture. What does the whole Bible say about marriage, parenting, salvation, Christ, the Bible, suffering, God’s sovereignty, the doctrine of justification, missions, etc.? Most of the classes during MIT in Sunday School will be designed to answer questions like that. In order to answer those kinds of questions, we have to be like the Bereans who eagerly search the Scriptures as a whole (Acts 17:11).

3. To grow in fellowship with one another. Though we’re thankful for the many strong relationships that exist in our current Sunday School classes, it is possible to miss out on many other possible strong relationships in the church. We hope mixing people up a little bit during Sunday School will help us to grow in our knowledge of and love for one another. Fellowship is one of God’s means of grace to us in the church (Acts 2:42). It is vital for us to know one another, love one another, and serve one another so that the whole church is built up in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. To grow in cross-generational friendships. We would also really like to see these special studies on Sunday morning help us to get to know one another in a cross-generational way. We’d be delighted if the younger generations got to know and benefit from the graces of the older generations in our church. Part of the richness of church-life is that we’re not in covenant with people who are just like us. Rather, we’re with people in the church who are very different from us, people who we may not naturally include in our circle of friends, except for the common bond we have in Christ. This God-designed diversity in the church is a great resource that helps us to grow in Christ, to learn to love and be loved by people who are very different from us.