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THE COMPLETELY GRADED SERIES
The Story of Our Bible
HAROLD B. HUNTING
CHARLES F. KENT, PH.D.
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
5399.14.465 NEWTON FREE LIBRARY
GIFT OF THE
7e6, 18, 1937
INTRODUCTION. 1. THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF THIS COURSE. “Thy Word,” says the Psalmist, “is a lamp unto my feet." In modern terms we may compare the Bible to a great search. light illuminating the dark problems of human life. There is one place, however, on which the direct rays of the searchlight never fall: namely, the spot behind it where the operator stands. In a similar way, the Bible has little to say regarding the men who wrote its various bocks. In this very fact it shows itself the product of true prophets of God. "We preach not ourselves," says Paul, “but Christ Jesus as Lord.” This is the attitude of every true prophet-preacher. Yet when the great preacher is dead, we are eager to read his biography, and we find that the story of his life reveals God as truly as any sermon he ever preached. In this course we shall study the biography of the Bible, or rather of the men who gave us the Bible; those obscure men of God whose names for the most part have remained unknown in history simply because they did not choose to turn the searchlight of their message upon their own personalities. Even today, it is possible to tell their story only because there has been more than a century of patient and brilliantly successful investigation on the part of a veritable army of scholars in every civilized land. They have studied the different Biblical writings as the geologist studies the different strata of the rocks; and just as the geologist infers the early history of this planet from the general character and location of the strata and from an occasional fossil, here and there, so the Biblical scholar, from the general character and arrangement of the Biblical writings and from chance references here and there, has recovered the story of the Bible. The material for this story, as presented in these lessons, may be found in any modern textbook on Biblical Introduction. It should not be supposed, however, that this is a course on Biblical Introduction, simplified for boys and girls. Primarily it is not an introduction to anything except to real life. It is a story, or series of stories, of the moral and religious aspirations and triumphs of great souls. The stories are told for their own intrinsic interest and value.
The first quarter presents the story of the New Testament and of the men who wrote it; the second and third quarters,
the corresponding story of the Old Testament; while the fourth quarter tells how the Bible was handed down to us through the centuries. If a nine months' course is desired, the fourth quarter may be omitted.
2. THE PURPOSE OF THE COURSE. This course is intended for the third or fourth year of the Intermediate Department of the Sunday School; in other words, for pupils from fifteen to sixteen years of age. The lessons should "function," in the lives of these boys and girls, along two lines.
(1) The life-stories of the Biblical writers should be a direct inspiration to Christian living; for example, the story of Tertius the Christian stenographer, and the story of Mark, the author of the oldest gospel, show that persons possessing merely ordinary talents but loyal to God's cause may play roles of extraordinary significance in His plan. In each chapter, under the heading, “The Purpose of This Lesson," suggestions will be made regarding the most significant aspect of the story from the standpoint of fifteen-year-old pupils.
(2) These lessons should also lead to a renewed interest in Bible study. For example, when the pupil has learned the pathetic and heroic story of the nameless author of the book of Job, he can hardly help feeling at least a certain curiosity regarding that great masterpiece. This budding curiosity may sometime be developed into deep and genuine interest. The beginnings of this interest should be encouraged, and guided into actual Bible reading, as an important part of the expressional activity," in connection with each lesson. 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF BOYS AND GIRLS IN
THIS GRADE. Boys and girls of fifteen are not very different from those boys and girls of fourteen, who studied "Christian Life and Conduct,” or from those of sixteen, who will study the “Life of Jesus.” The teacher may refer to the introductory pages in the Teachers' Manuals of these courses, or to any of the recent books on Child Study, for discussions of the physical, mental and moral characteristics of the adolescent age. In this manual, the following summary may be sufficient. Boys and girls of fifteen are growing rapidly, in mind and body. The most prominent interest, in boys, is usually athletics. Girls are intensely interested in personal adornment, in parties, and similar social affairs, and in “the boys.” In normal boys and girls a number of other interests may become almost as strong as these; for example, carpentry, electrical work, or some other form of mechanical activity. If the individual is musical, the school or neighborhood orchestra, or glee club, or banjo club, may absorb a considerable part of his time and energy. Those who are fortunate enough to have had good teachers in the public schools are likely to be genuinely interested in some school subject, such as history, or chemistry, or English literature. Very few pupils of this age, however, know how to study a lesson, otherwise than by committing to memory the facts narrated. This is in part the fault of our imperfect educational methods.
Among the most important moral lessons which boys and girls at this age need to learn are the following: sexual selfcontrol; subordination of personal ambition for the sake of good teamwork, whether in games, or in more serious matters; courtesy in social relations; charity and tolerance toward all; persistence in work involving drudgery; enthusiasm for personal honesty, for fair play, and for thorough-going accuracy. Emotionally, these boys and girls are very susceptible. Their enthusiasm for their athletic team is likely to be exuberant. In solitude they will weep profusely over the sorrows of a favorite hero or heroine in a story. There is no reason why a deep and vital interest in the Bible cannot be awakened in them. In all matters of tender personal sentiment, however, they are as reticent as Indians. Religiously, they are approaching the most susceptible period in life. Under favorable influences they will commit themselves to the Christian cause with that same whole-hearted abandon which characterizes all their activities.
4. PLAN OF THE COURSE. The plan here outlined, was followed when this course was taught in manuscript. Each lesson is first told orally, as a story told by the teacher. A few of the salient points should be presented as interestingly as possible. Never read the story to the pupils, however. During the ensuing week the lesson is read by the pupils. Below the lesson text are from five to eight"Questions and Topics." The answers cannot be found by merely turning back a few pages in the quarterly. The