Christian education is from start to finish Bible education. Now more than ever Christians need to study God’s Word. Today the world needs the Bible unlike any generation we have seen. The challenges are great and many, but so are the opportunities. That is where schools dedicated to teaching the Scriptures come in.
The word “higher” Christian education can leave the wrong impression. This word intimidates some people. They think of schools that are only for the super smart. But this refers to the age level of the students and the focus of the studies, not the intelligence level of those who enroll. If Christian higher education is what it should be, it will welcome people of average intelligence and those who are either below or above “average.”
Others are afraid of Christian higher education because they have not been in school for years. But this is usually not the barrier they think it is. Once they get started back their mind becomes sharper and they find a way to fit study and class times into their schedule. I have helped numerous people in their 60s and 70s take college classes. Almost every time they say, “I’m not sure I can do this. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I really would like to learn.” I assure them they can and within just a few weeks they are enjoying their studies more than they had imagined.
Young people are encouraged to go to college so that they can get a job. They usually are pressured by society and parents to get a college degree. This works for some but not for others. College is not for everyone. But Bible education is. Everyone needs to learn more about the Bible. It is true that young people have to choose a way to make a living and prepare themselves for it. But they can pursue a good Bible education at the same time. The choice does not have to be between either studying how to make a living or learning how to live according to God’s Word. Young people can do both. But they need encouragement and direction from godly older people. Parents, preachers, elders, and Bible class teachers should constantly remind them of what life and eternity are all about.
Someone may ask, “But aren’t local congregations supposed to give the kind of education you are talking about?” Congregations that are true to God do teach the Bible to all. They have regular Bible classes that delve into the meat of God’s Word. In fact, some sermons and Bible classes in local churches are more in-depth biblically than certain so-called institutions of higher learning where professors are more interested in criticizing how the Bible was written than in believing and teaching what it says. May God bless these churches and give us many more. Some of these churches go forward and establish Bible institutes and schools of preaching. But many congregations are not that well organized and developed. Some lack the knowledge, personnel, and experience; others do not have enough interest. It would be ideal if congregations could and would provide the level of biblical education we are talking about, but the reality is that many do not. In situations where opportunities to study the Bible more than just on Sundays and Wednesday nights are few, Christians who yearn to grow in knowledge find a home in Christian higher education. A Bible college should never replace or compete with local congregations; it should assist them by teaching the Scriptures as an organized group of Christians.
True higher Christian education is based on Paul’s words, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). No kind of education is better, and no form of learning is higher, than this.
-Kerry Duke, VP of Academics and Academic Affairs