20 ¶ My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck.
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
For several years of my career as a Mississippi public schoolteacher, I taught a Bible class as part of the high school curriculum. The specific name of the class was “Biblical History of the Middle East”, but pretty much I was free just to teach the whole Bible as history.
It’s kind of amazing in this pluralistic age in which we live, but during the whole time that I was teaching Bible, I never got one phone call of complaint from any parent or administrator. I always pictured that this was because the students’ grandmothers were telling them, “Now you don’t complain about Mr. Cash. He is a preacher. And you kids could use some Bible.”
So, whatever the reason, I never had any complaints. And I look back on those years as a very special and profitable time in my life. I met some really neat, neat, kids in the process.
As you might imagine, I had students from every background and every denomination. All of my students went to church somewhere. But, as time passed, I made an amazing discovery. Some of my high school students knew a great deal about the Bible, and some of my students knew hardly anything.
So, I set out to find out why this was. Whenever I had a chance to have a conversation with a student one-on-one, I would say something like, “Hey, where do you go to church?” And I would follow up that first question with, “How do you learn the Bible at your church?”
The conclusion I reached was so simple it was shocking. The kids who knew a great deal about the Bible studied through books of the Bible at Sunday School, Wednesday Night Bible Study or Youth Meeting. Their teachers took a book of the Bible, and they worked their way through the whole thing a verse at a time. Among those kids who knew a great deal of Scripture, their standard answer was, “We study through whole books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse.”
In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top), King Solomon speaks of children wearing the commandments of God (that their parents teach them) like a necklace around their necks. The way I imagine it, each verse of the Bible is a single pearl. It doesn’t seem like much when you look at it by itself, but as the beads are collected and joined together, they become a thing of beauty.
So teach your little ones the Holy Scriptures. Now I don’t want you to feel like I’ve handed you an impossible task. The emphasis here is not on “whole books of the Bible” but instead on “a verse at a time”. Teach your babies about just ONE verse of Scripture today. It doesn’t sound like much–but every beautiful pearl necklace starts when you string the first bead!
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the congregation has studied through a lot of books of the Bible, verse-by-verse). You should write him at email@example.com.