Word of God in Geneva and Bethlehem

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Four-hundred-thirty years ago in Geneva, Switzerland, John Calvin preached twice on Sunday and twice every day on alternate weeks! Those were the days when the Reformation was in high gear. The Bible had been dammed up in Latin for a thousand years. But now it had broken loose onto the spiritual desert of Europe and people thronged to drink from the new reservoirs of teaching in Calvin’s Geneva and Luther’s Wittenberg. On Sunday, August 25, 1549, Calvin began to preach on Acts and continued weekly with that book until March, 1554. On week-days during that time he had preached on eight of the minor prophets and on Daniel, Lamentations and Ezekiel. From 1554 to 1558 he preached through 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Galatians and Ephesians. Then after several months of illness he began to preach from the Gospels in harmony, and died in the midst in 1564. He looked upon his life work as proclaiming the Word of God and instructing believers in wholesome doctrine.

I believe the life and vigor and power and stability of the church rises and falls with clear, careful, comprehensive teaching of the Word of God. A healthy church will be hungry for sound teaching. And a healthy church will feed that hunger. Therefore, the future of Bethlehem’s Sunday School is very bright. The potential of this hour is tremendous. There is no way that all the shafts of God’s gold-mine can be explored in the pulpit twice a week. If the body is to be instructed in the whole counsel of God there must be solid classes for young people and adults that rigorously mine the riches of God’s Word. Sunday School is one of the places where this happens. And I look forward to an increasingly exciting curriculum in our adult education with the coming of Tom Steller in September.

This summer Tim Olson and Clarence Ohman have planned five elective classes for adults during the Sunday School hour. There are three 12-week courses being taught from June 6 - August 22:

  • “Basics of the Bible” taught by Dana Olson in the Sewing Room
  • “Words of Life from the Upper Room” taught by Tom Steller in the Chapel
  • “Patterns for Living with God” (O.T. Character Studies) taught by Glenn Ogren in the Overflow Room

There are two 6-week courses back to back June 6 - July 11 and July 18 - August 22 which will meet in the Conference Room:

  • “Daniel” taught by Steve Roy (June 6 - July 11)
  • “Loving our Neighbor: The City” taught by Paul Goddard (July 18 - August 22)

If Sunday School has not been a part of your custom, make a summer foray into the unknown. I hope many of you who usually come will visit a new class and meet new people. Go hard after God’s truth with God’s people and you will find it gloriously addicting.

Under the Word,

Pastor John