The Examinations Of The American Institute Of Sacred Literature -- By: W. G. Ballantine
BSac 47:186 (April 1890) p. 366
The Examinations Of The American Institute Of Sacred Literature
We are indebted to the fertile invention of the Principal of Schools of the American Institute of Sacred Literature, who has already done so much for the promotion of biblical studies, whether learned or popular, for another plan full of the promise and potency of general usefulness. This is the offer of examinations at the close of the year upon the portion of Scripture covered by the International Sunday-School Lessons— this year the Gospel of Luke. The papers set are to be of four grades, termed respectively elementary, intermediate, progressive, and advanced, thus providing for the wants of students of every class from the youngest to the most mature. The examinations will be held simultaneously in all parts of the world on the thirtieth of December. Those who pass will receive certificates, which will be of two grades, A and B, according to proficiency.
The plan, as will be seen, while modest in statement, is simple and practical in operation, and, if vigorously pushed, as of course it will be, just what is needed to double the value of the Bible work of the year to thousands. It is in the line of the Chautauqua idea, bringing to small and remote communities, and even individuals, direct contact and communication with the centre. It supplies what people most need — suggestion and encouragement and definite directions for work. Noth-
BSac 47:186 (April 1890) p. 367
ing could be farther from sectarianism than the plan of setting people to studying the Bible for themselves, and then merely asking them questions about what they have discovered. Yet nothing could command more hearty approval from Christians of every school of doctrine. This is one of those steps in the direction of practical Christian union which are so hopeful because they demand no concessions and raise no divisive questions.
The honest, prayerful study of God’s Word is the hope of the future: It is through the truth that the individual and the community are to be sanctified. A superficial topical study of Scripture promises little; since disconnected texts may always be found to confirm views already formulated. But the deliberate purpose and effort on the part of many to read consecutively whole books taking everything in its connection and attending to the precise thought of the sacred writer, cannot fail to lead to a general enlargement and correction of religious opinions. Many truths seldom heard from the pulpit will start into prominence and new duties will press upon the conscience. Let the young people of America engage largely for years in preparing for these examinations, and we shall have developed at countless centres such fruitfulness in Christian ...
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