Bible Study Attendance
We are all familiar with Jesus’ parable of the sower as recorded in the gospels (Matt. 13:18-23; Mk. 4:13-20; Lk. 8:11-15). In teaching that lesson, Jesus taught that although the seed – the word of God – was the same in each case, the soil on the other hand, He broke down into four different categories of acceptance and production. I would like to use His divinely-inspired model in reference to Bible Study attendance in this article.
First off, why is it that so many members, who actually have the health to do so and could come to Bible Study, so often and consistently choose not to? Are they really so naïve, uninformed, and/or self-deceived as to think that God will accept their excuses (Lk. 9:57-62; Matt. 7:21-23)? Excuses which they would never dare give their earthly bosses (Mal. 1:6-14) for being late or missing work on a regular basis – while still expecting to keep their position that is? Do they not understand that all of God’s children are commanded to diligently and incessantly study in order to present themselves approved to God (2 Tim. 2:15)? Do they not see the vital necessity of making consistent and in-depth Bible study the top priority for any and all who want to be guaranteed of entering heaven (2 Ptr. 1:2-11)?
The answers to some of these questions are quite obvious. Apparently some do think that their excuses – family ties, lack of time, being tired, and etc – will be the ones which God will somehow accept; this, despite what scripture says (Hebs. 10:19-38, 12:12-29). Others may choose to stay at home while the black and white truth of God’s word is being taught, simply because they disagree with and/or just don’t want to accept what it says (2 Tim. 4:1-5). They have made up their minds as to what they want to believe – and what they have to believe in order to seek to justify their own sinful pursuits or conclusions – and they just do not want to hear anything that is going to correct or cause them to have to put forth the effort to rethink or repent of their personally-held perspectives and biblically-contradictory errors (Rom. 3:4). Never forget the eternally-sound wisdom of the divinely-inspired truth which King Solomon penned and put forth for us in Proverbs 18:1-2: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment (*or sound wisdom). A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing His own opinion.”
A second category of people when it comes to Bible Study attendance would be those who actually do manage to attend with some semblance of consistency for at least a little while, but yet their heart is not truly in it. Being so very often distracted, and even at times consumed, with other, more worldly influences and events going on in their own lives, they never really allow the truth that is being taught to sink fully down into their troubled souls and produce the kind of life-changing repentance that would be obvious to all on the outside if they did. Hence, many, having no true root depth, will eventually, progressively, start missing more and more Bible study time with the church, until they just simply drift or slip away completely (Hebs. 2:1-4). This, while others of the same mindset might stay in attendance for years, but yet never really progress in their knowledge, understanding, and obedience, much beyond what most of those who allowed their bodies to follow where their hearts and minds had already gone did.
A third grouping of people when it comes to public Bible Study attendance, might be those who attend not necessarily to learn anything new or expand their own Bible knowledge, but to make sure that everyone else there – the teacher included – absolutely conforms to their previously-arrived at conclusions – whether correct or not. They certainly don’t appear to want to put in the hours and hours of time and effort it takes to study, prepare, and teach a Biblically-accurate Bible class, but on the other hand, they seem to have no problem seeking to correct or admonish anyone who has.
Fourthly and finally though, just like in the parable of the sower, we come to the faithful Bible students; the forward-thinking learners; the penitent fruit producers. These are those who can’t wait for, nor would they let much of anything else get in their way of getting to, the public Bible study of the church. These are some of the private, personal, and most consistent Bible students (Deut. 6:1-8). Bible study is a top priority to them. And it thus shines through brightly in their public Bible Study attendance as well. They know that it is just such studies of God’s word which brings them ever-closer to the Lord their God, as they become ever more like Him through the daily renewing of their mind (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:17-18; Col. 3:1-17). They understand, accept, and live and believe with all of their heart, that it is only those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” that will be filled according to His promise (Matt. 5:6). And they wouldn’t miss that for the world. …I mean, who would, right?