In the early 1990s, a local church with a school suddenly lost its Pastor. The church asked me if I would teach the Pastor’s Bible study class for the remainder of the school year. I was happy to oblige. The class contained about twenty-five students from seventh grade through high school seniors.
Having no idea what they were learning, I compiled a list of one hundred topics. Roughly half of the list was what we will call “Bible topics,” such as baptism, salvation, sanctification, etc. The second half of the list pertained more to life issues: abortion, the death penalty, and cheating in school, among other things.
During my first class, I handed out the lists to the student. I explained to them to check any topic they are interested in studying in class. They could mark as many or as few as they wanted. They were to return the list at the next class, and I would tally up the checkmarks. I would then address each topic in order of the most interest. We would take as long as necessary with each issue, then move on to the next.
Every student returned their list. When I tallied up the results, I was surprised. Not one “Bible topic” was checked on any paper. It’s not that the “Bible topics” were low on the totem pole; they were not even in the camp.
I asked the class about this, and one boy stood up and explained, “Most everyone in here has gone to church since they were born. We are all in a Christian school. We hear about these things all the time, but the one thing we are never told is how the Bible pertains to everyday life.”
What that young man said was unexpected, but what happened when we started our first topic surprised me the most.
I explained to the students that we would have an essay test at the end of each topic (they loved that!). The essays would be their opinion of said topic. I explained that they did not have to agree with me. Still, they needed to Biblically express their opinion (after all, it is Bible class). Grades would depend on how well the student presented their view. My goal was not necessarily for them to agree with me but to learn how to form an opinion using the Scriptures.
Abortion was the most chosen topic; therefore, we did that first. The very first thing I did was ask for a show of hands. How many think abortion is wrong? It appeared that every hand in the room went up. Then I asked the opposite question, how many think abortion is okay? One girl, a senior, raised her hand.
If this happened today, I would talk to the girl in private, but being young and stupid, I asked her there in front of everyone, “Why is that?”
She replied, “I wish I had been.”
These two high school seniors changed the way I teach forever.
I was going to teach the Biblical view of abortion by showing that abortion is murder, but what she said changed my mind. I decided to show the value of human life.
God spoke all creation into existence except humankind which He formed with His own hands. He also created us in His image. These two facts alone place a value on human life more significant than all creation (Genesis 1:1-31, 2:7, 18-25).