Do you know that there are many Churches of Christ who do not have Sunday school?
Do you know that there were no Sunday schools in any churches until about two hundred years ago?
Do you know that Sunday school is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible?
Are you surprised? Most people are. Yet all three of these statements are true.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Sunday school basically had its beginning in 1780 (Ready Reference, Vol. 9, page 672). A thorough search of the Bible will find no mention of Sunday school or bible classes or any practice similar to it. So churches today, who believe they should use the Bible as their guide, do not have Sunday schools.
How did the church of the Bible do it s teaching? They taught in two ways: (1) individually, where ever they had opportunity and (2) collectively in the assembly.
Individually: Paul taught from house to house Acts 20:20. Older women were to teach younger women Titus 2:3-5. Fathers were to teach their children Ephesians 6:4. A husband and wife taught a preacher Acts 18:24-26. And Peter teaches a crowd that gathers when he heals a lame man Acts 3:11-26. In individual teaching, there seems to be little limitation given except to speak the truth in love Ephesians 4:15, and other regulations along these lines.
But the church, collectively, was given very specific instructions on its teaching. They were to assemble together: Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is,..." See also: Acts 20:7; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:30; 1 Corinthians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 11:17-20; 1 Corinthians 14:23, 26. The together assembly is also referred to in Acts 11:26 and James 2:2.
Some very specific instructions are given in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 to govern the teaching assemblies of the church.
Verses 3, 12, 19, 26 - The goal of the teacher is to edify the assembly.
Verses 7-11 - The teachers are to speak so they can be understood.
Verses 23, 26 - The arrangement of the assembly is "TOGETHER".
Verses 23-25 - Conversions can take place in the assembly.
Verses 27-29 - Tongue speakers are to be silent unless the tongues can be interpreted.
Verses 29, 31 - Qualified men are allowed to speak in the assembly.
Verse 29 - While one speaks, the others are to judge what is being taught.
Verse 31 - The teachers are to speak to the assembly one by one.
Verses 33, 40 - All things are to be done decently and in order.
Verses 34, 35 - Women are to be silent in the assemblies, not even asking questions. Also see 1 Timothy 2:11-14.
Verse 36 - These instructions are given to all churches everywhere. Also see chapter 4:17.
Verse 37 - These instructions are commandments of the Lord.
Verse 38 - If anyone does not acknowledge these commandments, he is not to be acknowledged in the assembly.
Verse 31 - This verse says that if these commandments are followed in the assemblies, all can learn and all can be comforted.
When God gives us commandments this specific for the teaching assemblies of the church, we cannot improve on them. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." Also see 2 Peter 1:3; Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27; Isaiah 55:8-9.
We cannot improve on God s commandments, and we should not even try to improve them. Proverbs 30:5-6 says, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Also see Galations 1:6-9 and Revelations 22:18-19.
Man has invented Sunday school in an attempt to improve on the church which God has designed and built. When God does something, man cannot improve on it. He will just mess it up. God s church does not need man s Sunday school.