Dr. Allen Domelle
Getting a Bible college education after one graduates from high school is certainly stressed to our young people. By listening to the news media, one would think that a person without a college education will never amount to anything. Pastors and spiritual leaders often stress to their youth to go to college after they graduate. Bible college representatives visit churches every summer, and some throughout the year in search of young people who are prospective students for their college.
There are certainly many good things a college can give a young person. Many people will meet their spouse at college. Many people will meet friends of a lifetime at Bible college. Bible college definitely gives people tools to help them in their attempt to serve the LORD with their lives. These are just some of the benefits to Bible college.
However, Bible college isn’t the end all to everything. Just because a person doesn’t attend a Bible college doesn’t mean they won’t do anything for God. Some of the men who have been used by God in the greatest of ways have no Bible college degree. D.L. Moody shook two continents for Christ without a Bible college degree. Curtis Hutson pastored a large church and then successfully led the Sword of the Lord paper for many years. My good friend, Dr. Darrell Cox, is not shy in telling you that he has no college education. These men weren’t against it, they just found out that God can still use you without a Bible college education.
This article is not an attempt to lessen the importance of a Bible college education, but it is a reminder that a college degree doesn’t give you some of the most important elements for Christian success. God does say in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I believe it is highly important that Christians study the Word of God and life so they can better reach the lost for Christ.
As I’ve traveled this country from one end to another, I have found many people who have a college education yet they are still lacking. There are reasons for the lack, because a Bible college education is not meant to give you everything you need, instead it is to whet your appetite so that you will continue to learn the things you need to help you get closer to reaching the potential God has for you. There are ten definite things Bible college can’t do for you.
1. Bible college can’t give you drive.
One of the things that separates the successful from the unsuccessful is their drive. Jude shows us we are to have a drive when he says in Jude 1:3 to “earnestly contend for the faith.” It takes drive for someone to continually contend for the faith. Paul reminded us in Corinthians about some people who had drive when he said, “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” (1 Corinthians 16:15) Even the drive of our Saviour was evident when it says, “And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:53) These and many more successfully reached many simply because they had drive.
Bible college cannot put drive, ambition or willpower inside of you. There must be something in you that causes you to get up early and stay up late. There must be a drive within you to cause you keep going in the midst of attack. One of the reasons ministries flounder is because their leader has no drive. I’m not saying that those who have a struggling ministry have no drive, but I am saying that one of the reasons some have struggling ministries is because they have no drive to do something great for God. There must be something inside of you to desire to do something great for God. Bible college can’t place this inside you. You must see the need of the world and make it personal if you are going to have drive.
2. Bible college can’t make you strive for excellence.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” This is a command for the Christian to strive for excellence. God expects no less than excellence from His children. If God’s work is the greatest work in the world, and it is, then we should never settle for second best.
One of the saddest things I see as I travel is how God’s work is done in a second-rate manner. When bulletins are filled with misspellings and special days and conferences are put on at the last minute, it is a slap in the face to God. Bible college cannot make you strive for excellence, but you should expect no less than excellence. I’m very thankful that God didn’t plan salvation the same way many Christians do His work. If He did, Jesus would have never made it to the cross. Though Bible college can have requirements of excellence for their students when writing essays and papers, they can’t expand that excellence into all other areas of life. It is up to the individual to understand that if it is worth doing, then do it right, and do it right the first time. Excellence is the standard for which every Christian should strive.
3. Bible college can’t make you study when you leave.
God commands us in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He again shows us the importance of study when He says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13)
Studying should be a lifelong work. Just because you have a college degree in hand does not mean that you know everything. In fact, I have found many people who have no college degree that have more education than those with a degree because they have not rested upon a piece of paper to carry them through the rest of life. The day you stop learning is the day you spiritually begin to lose influence. Every day you should strive to learn something from someone so that you can be a better servant of Christ. Whether it is through books, asking people questions or applying yourself to personal study, always continue the learning process in your life.
4. Bible college can’t keep you faithful.
Proverbs 20:6 asks, “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” Bible college may give you information, but it can’t place faithfulness to the Word of God in your heart. Being faithful to truth and not to personalities and institutions is of paramount importance if you are going to die serving the LORD. We are commanded in Revelation 2:10, to be “faithful unto death.” This will only happen if you place your eyes on God and not let man become the focus or who you try to please.
5. Bible college can’t make you walk with God.
It is often said that one of the best places to backslide is in Bible college. This is sad, but true. Many Bible college students get so busy with their studies and ministries that they forget the most important thing to do is to daily walk with God. You will never have the blessings of God upon your life and ministry if you don’t walk with God. We are reminded of this in Psalm 91:1 when it says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” All the education in the world won’t substitute for a walk with God. Your walk with God is only as consistent as your character. You show me what your walk with God is like and I will show you how much God will use you today and in the future.
6. Bible college can’t force you to be honest.
Sadly, some of the most dishonest people I have met are Christians. Some of these people are Bible college graduates and others are leaders of ministries. Being honest is a command. God says, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” (2 Corinthians 8:21) Christians should be the most honest people because they represent an honest God. College can’t make you honest, that is something you must decide to do. Honesty in the ministry is one of the greatest needs of our day. Being honest with what you say, how you treat the opposite gender and your dealings with each other are of the utmost importance to your testimony. A Christian or church that becomes dishonest will lose their good name and influence in their community and their world.
7. Bible college can’t make you faithful to your spouse.
Many people meet their spouse at Bible college, but that doesn’t mean they will be faithful to them their entire life. Many Bible college students have destroyed their name because of infidelity. Let me remind you that adultery is still sin. Exodus 20:14 is still true when it says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Being faithful to your spouse is simply staying true to your word when you promised them you would “forsake all others.” If there is ever a time we need to be reminded of this, it is now!
8. Bible college can’t give you a good work ethic.
A person’s work ethic will highly dictate the scope of their ministry. You show me someone with a poor work ethic and I will show you someone who will not do much in life. On the other hand, you show me someone who may not be the smartest, but they outwork everyone else, and I will show you someone who will build the greatest works. Great works are not built on talent. You will always find hard work is behind the scenes of every great work and life. Bible college can’t wake you up early every morning and make you work late at night for the rest of your life. Bible college can’t make you get up and go to work when you are tired or sick. That is totally dependent upon your work ethic. Ephesians 4:12 reminds us that the ministry takes work. How far you go in life will be highly dependent upon your work ethic.
9. Bible college can’t organize you.
The Bible is filled with organization. God says in 1 Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Many churches struggle, or at best are hindered, not because of a lack of manpower, but because of a lack of organization. Many Christians struggle in their life, not because of a lack of education, but they struggle because they are disorganized. If you truly want God to increase your potential, then you must learn to be organized. Organize your days by having a daily schedule by which you live. Organize your finances by having a budget to dictate how you spend your money. Some of the greatest works I have seen are not great because of the leaders personality or charisma, but the leader is highly organized and God was able to use them in a greater way because of their organization. God can work when things are disorganized, but the greatest works of God are always done when there is organization.
10. Bible college can’t make you care for people.
One of the saddest statements in the Scriptures is found in Psalm 142:4 when it says, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” A Bible college may make a person fill out an activity report and go soul winning, but they cannot place caring for individuals in the heart of their students. David didn’t say in the verse above that no man came to see him, but he said that no man cared for his soul. Bible colleges often give a graduate a judgmental heart instead of a caring heart. This is no inditement of the college, but rather an inditement of the individual. Caring for people is one of the greatest keys to the ministry. Bible college can’t make a person care for the hurting in the hospital, care for the homeless, meet the needs of someone financially struggling or care for the fallen.
Caring for people will only come by being among the people. When Jesus was among the multitudes, he had compassion for them and cared for their needs. Having a caring heart is what makes the difference in an individual’s life. Jude 1:22 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” When you care, you will have compassion. When you have compassion, you will make a difference.
Bible college is certainly a great tool to train young people for the ministry, but it cannot place these things in the heart of its students. These things are a choice every Christian must make if they want to have a great influence on their world. Whether or not you have a Bible college degree will not determine if God uses you, but the things mentioned in this article are most definitely are part of every person’s life whom God uses in a great way. Increase your usefulness to God by plugging these things into your life.
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.
THIS ARTICLE IS USED WITH THE EXPRESSED PERMISSION OF DR. DOMELLE
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