I hope I have improved. I certainly have age and experience now, but the wisdom is an open question—always. One thing about the age factor: I have heard every excuse there is for not attending the women’s Bible study. Are there truly valid reasons? Yes, of course there are. But there are far more of the other kind. Let’s examine a few.
“It’s so difficult to pay attention with the little ones in tow, and it’s so embarrassing when they cause distractions.” Yes, it is difficult, but there is no need to be embarrassed. Nearly thirty years ago when my current Tuesday morning class started up, we all had children still at home. We made comments over the heads of playing toddlers and it was not uncommon that a few mothers would occasionally have to throw down their books and Bibles and run comfort a crying baby or settle a small-fry squabble. We were all in the same boat and understood, but we never let our children be the excuse we gave the Lord for not finding time to get together and study.
“But these lessons are so hard and take so long to do.” I am afraid my lessons do tend to be this way. But really now, what kind of hours would you expect to put in if you went back to school either to improve your job (vocation) or to get a promotion? This is your spiritual education we’re talking about, and what you know will make a difference in how you conduct yourself in your spiritual vocation (Eph 4:1; 2 Pet 1:10)
A long time ago a brother went to the elders about one of Keith’s classes. “It’s too deep,” he complained. Those good shepherds were wise enough and strong enough to tell that brother what he needed to hear instead of what he wanted to hear. “If I had been a Christian for forty years like you have,” they said, “I would be ashamed to say something in the Bible was too deep for me.” Are you aware of Jesus’ statement when the apostles asked him why he spoke in parables, making it harder for people to understand? Because the ones who care enough will work hard enough to understand it, he told them. Do you care that much?
I don’t make my lessons hard on purpose. They seem difficult because the material is new to you. I am trying to teach things you do not know, not rehash the things you do know. That really would be superfluous and not worth a busy woman’s time. Isn’t gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Word of God worth rearranging your schedule, both in time to study and time to attend? Can’t you give up something in order to study—like a TV show in the evenings?
“Well they are so hard I don’t even know what to write down in the blanks.” Ask anyone in the class how I run it. Despite the reputation I must surely have for being a mean old lady who likes to mortify people, I never put anyone on the spot. If you don’t know the answer, leave it blank. But how will you ever find the answer if you don’t come and listen for it? A good percentage of the class does exactly that, and one even laughs about how much erasing she has to do. Now that’s a great attitude. Can’t you follow her example?
“My schedule is just so full.” So is mine. So is everyone’s. The difference between those women and the ones who do not come (but could) is priorities. They decided to make the time in their schedules for a Bible class. They schedule things around it instead of the other way around. They have trained their families to know, “Oh! It’s Tuesday,” or “the third Sunday,” and it really wasn’t that hard to do when they insisted on it. And let’s just put this out there in black and white, plain and simple: if you are too busy to study the Bible, you are too busy, and yes, maybe even sinfully busy if it causes you to neglect your Lord and His Word.
“Once I get older and have less to do, then I will start attending ladies’ Bible class.” Wait a minute! Who are the older women told to teach? Not the older ones who “have less to do” but the younger ones, that’s who! The things we older teachers have to tell you will actually help you during your younger years. If you listen and use these things, you might just avoid the problems that so many of your friends have. What good will it do you when you finally come to class and all you have to offer are the things you have learned not to do from hard experience instead of wise teaching? All my “old faithfuls” began young. The vast majority have stayed with it—that’s why the class looks like a bunch of older women, not because they are the only ones who have time.
Many of the ones we have lost have moved to other areas. I regularly hear from them how much they miss a class where they actually learn something new. “We don’t have deep classes like this,” a visitor to our class once told me. But here it is free for the taking to anyone who cares enough—and so few do.
I know I am not some popular, funny, good-looking teacher. I know my lessons stomp on toes because I make applications that are real to life instead of feel good fluff. The truly good teachers I know do the same. We want to help you. We want to share with you what we have worked hard to obtain, what means the world to us and should mean the world to you.
We also want to find young women who can take our places someday. You simply must start early if you ever hope to do that. I was 21 when I began serious, deep Bible study, and there is still so much left for me to learn and to share. You could carry it on if you prepare yourself, but I can only give it if you are there to take it.
Older women likewise…are to teach what is good and to train the young women…Titus 2:3,4
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful [women] who will be able to teach others also. 2Tim 2:2