The Purpose of Sunday School

The purpose of Sunday School is not to teach the Bible, but the Bible is taught to accomplish the purpose of Sunday School. This statement elicits lots of responses. Many people feel like the purpose of Sunday School is to teach the Bible. I was taught that teaching the Bible is one of the tasks of Sunday School. When I occasionally perform the task of taking the trash out, the purpose is to keep the house clean and smelling good. On the golf course, hitting the ball is not the purpose of golf … getting the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes is why the game is played. Seeing the purpose of Sunday School as teaching the Bible is one of the biggest barriers facing Sunday School.

What is the purpose of Sunday School? To see lives changed. The Bible is the textbook of Sunday School because Jesus is the answer to all of lives questions. Great commission teaching is “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Is this kind of teaching that is getting done in Sunday School?

By seeing teaching as the purpose of Sunday School, we have failed to focus on the stated outcome. The Bible is taught because God’ Word declares, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Lives Changed that is the GOAL.


About drmarkmiller

I serve as the Sunday School, Discipleship, Small Groups Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention
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One Response to The Purpose of Sunday School

  1. Steve says:

    My response to that first sentence… is a fist clenching, face tightening, slightly Incredible Hulkish – low growl.

    I used to be your typical nearly dead Southern Baptist still on the milk at the age of 34 riding the Pew in the deadest church in the Tennessee Baptist Convention… (I’ll let you guess which one that is… sounds like you’ve been to a few who could tie it) UNTIL…

    Until 2 things happened.

    9/11 … and a Jewish Rabbi taught me the bible.

    My Bi-Voc Pastor at the time didn’t know squat about Islam (so I went and researched for myself — we should all gather our own manna) … And I asked God to send somebody to teach me the Bible.

    That Jewish Rabbi took me down what could only be described as… “The Emmaus Road” and taught me about Jesus using the Old Testament.

    That was the beginning of an insatiable desire to know the book… to learn it… and I have… or at least as much as you can with 10 – 20 hours of study time per week for the last 9 years.

    It has been a revelation to my sleepy scaled over eyes… It has transformed me into a champion of Grace… it has delivered me from the legalism of every Paranoid Pastor & Sneaking Deacon that crept into our houses of Worship and brought their slithering Doctrine of Works to keep control of the masses.

    It’s deceptive… it’s diabolical and it has stolen the joy and Victory from our Denomination… I DO NOT ATTEND Church of Christ “Lite”.

    The Sunday School Materials that Lifeway has produced, (if I remember my Barna stats right)… has led to losing over 80% of our youth … and THEY NEVER COME BACK.

    According to YOUR way (and the majority of SBC)… you want me to teach these kids a nice dose of legalism… to get them to be good boys and girls… and then you want me to justify that legalism by selecting passages out of the bible (if you can call the HSCB that) to back up your Sunday School Lesson…

    Dude… that’s putting the cart before the horse… AND its also the exact tactic of Satan (see Matt. 4:3-10).

    You teach the WORD first… you let the Holy Spirit guide and transform… and you’ll get that cart where you want it to go…

    In fact… I challenge you brother. You and me… Find the 2ND DEADEST church in the TBC (the first one won’t let me come back) we take two classes… teach them the same Lifeway Lesson… you teach YOUR way… I’ll teach MY way… then we see which bears more fruit.

    As far as which particular Lesson we teach… we can take a quarterly at random… and select from the offerings until we agree upon one.

    What have you got to lose? A dead church can’t get any deader than DEAD.


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