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The Purpose and Message of the Sabbath School

Davi P. Silva
February 8, 2022
A message to all involved in the Sabbath School Ministry.

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;” Romans 12:6, 7.


We address all our brothers and sisters involved in the Sabbath School mission—teachers, superintendents, ministers, elders, Bible workers, adult students, parents, youth, and children.


It has been proven that the Sabbath School is one of the most important instruments for educating the church in different topics, such as the plan of salvation, how to study the Bible, the importance of missionary work, and so on.


There is room for much improvement in the way we conduct our Sabbath School in different parts of the world, and it certainly seems like we are often just following a routine system.


Review Lessons

In many cases, too much time is spent on the review lesson, and the time for studying the lesson of the day is greatly reduced. The review should just be a link between the previous lesson and the lesson of the day. We shouldn't spend more than five minutes in review. In some places, they no longer review the previous week’s lesson.


The Responsibility of Teachers

Another important area that needs improvement is the way our teachers work.


Our teachers must study the lesson more deeply than the students. They need to have a much broader knowledge of the subjects presented in the lesson—utilizing the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, Biblical Geography, and other pertinent resources with information related to the topics considered. In other words, the teacher needs to be very familiar with the subject of the lesson.


“The student of the Sabbath school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes His name. Teachers in the Sabbath school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 18.


Above all, Christ and the Plan of Salvation must be at the center of every lesson. Students need to know Christ and His sacrifice for sinners—and much of that knowledge depends on the work of teachers. In addition, the teacher must relate to the students, as he has a shaping influence in the class to gain the students' trust.


At least once a month, it would be ideal for teachers to meet and discuss better methods for presenting the Word of God to their students by promoting more solid Bible study, focusing on deeper knowledge and personal reflection on the Word of God.


Welcoming Visitors

Our visitors need to be welcomed and made to feel at home in our Sabbath School classes. Physical and digital copies of our lessons should be readily available for visitors.


It is proven that religion is static and dynamic. Regarding biblical principles, these are immutable. However, our methods of teaching and presenting the truth must constantly be improved. In Ellen White's writings, there are many instructions that need to be known and applied by our teachers. Let's take advantage of these inspired instructions to make the Sabbath School more dynamic and engaging.


“Men are needed who pray to God for wisdom, and who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world.” Manuscript 117, 1907


The message

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4.


“The Sabbath school should be a place where the jewels of truth are searched for and rescued from their environment of error, and placed in their true setting in the framework of the gospel. Precious gems of truth, long lost sight of, are now to be restored to the children of God. The themes of justification by faith, the righteousness of Christ, should be presented in our schools, that the youth and children may understand these important subjects, and teachers and scholars may know the way of salvation. Sacred and eternal principles connected with the plan of salvation have long been lost from sight, but they must be restored to their proper place in the plan of salvation, and made to appear in their heavenly light, and penetrate the moral darkness in which the world is enshrouded.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p 12.


During the last quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, we are studying Paul's letters to the believers in Galatia and Rome.


The central theme of these two letters is summarized in Romans 1:16, 17:


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”


In the text quoted above, Ellen White states that these themes “must be presented in our schools, in order that the youth and children understand these subjects.” Before children and youth can have a clear understanding of the Gospel, it stands to reason that all ministers, elders, Sabbath School teachers, and all church officers must have a much deeper understanding of this "most precious message." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91.


We urge all our brethren throughout the world to study carefully and with much prayer the subjects mentioned and implore the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that these essential truths to our salvation may be well understood and taught to Sabbath School students, members of the church and visitors.


“This is the message that God commands to proclaim to the world. It is the third angel's message that must be proclaimed with a loud cry and watered with the outpouring of His Holy Spirit in great measure.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 92.


We pray that God will richly bless His people with the knowledge of these essential truths.


Sincerely, in Jesus Christ,

Your brother in the Blessed Hope

Davi P. Silva