“It is a notable fact that popular education to-day is due to a movement originating in the need of Bible study. It was a fundamental principle of the Protestant reformation of the sixteenth century that the Scriptures are the only rule of religious faith and life. This principle brought with it the obligation to place every one in a position to read the Bible; and thus, by a logical necessity from its principles, Protestantism became the mother of popular education. Luther and the other great Protestant reformers became earnest and successful advocates of public schools.
The relation of Bible study to public schools is that of cause and effect. This fact is clearly brought out in the remarkable action of the General Court of Massachusetts in 1647:
In promulgating an order for the establishment of primary schools, the Court explained its action as follows: “It being one chief project of the old deluder Satan to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading from the use of tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded by false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; that learning may not be buried in the grave of our fathers in the church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.”
“It is therefore ordered, that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, etc.” This was the beginning of popular education in our country.” Source; Introduction to Bible Study; Franklin V. N. Painter; DD., LITT. D., 1911.
Where Did America First Assemble?
The Christian Churches of this nation have always provided the most important support of our communities. The earliest churches were not only places of worship–they were places where people assembled for schooling, town meetings and even the weddings and funerals of their loved ones. Today, these churches still provide for those necessities. Our government often reminds us of the extensive cost related to providing food and clothing to the poor—if all the support provided by the majority of Christians were to cease, what would happen to America?
Bible Study: “What you read–you are liable to forget. What you study–you are likely to remember.” From an 1800s advertisement.
- Harvard University: “Rules and Precepts that are observed in the College,” of which the following are two of the four, namely: 1: Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life (John 17:3); and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all such knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him. (Prov. 2:3.)” 2: “Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in theoretical observations of the language and logic, and in practical and spiritual truths, as his tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119: 130)–Joseph Sylvester Clark, DD.,1858. The College was founded in 1636.
- Yale University: “All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life, according to the Rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that Fountain of Divine Light and Truth, and constantly attending all the Duties of Religion.”–Extracts From The Laws Of Yale College, (1 of 7) Published A.D. 1787. The College was founded in 1701.
- Princeton University: “Like all American colleges and universities founded before the Revolution, and the great majority of them since that time, Princeton College was founded by men of Christian faith in order to promote a culture of unmistakably Christian character“; Princeton University Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee; 1896. The College was founded in 1746.
“Every thinking man, when he realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life …that it would be literally—I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally— impossible for us to figure what life would be—if these teachings were removed.”–President Theodore Roosevelt.
“The Constitution was not intended for a people that had no religion, or that needed any legislation on the subject from the proposed General or National Government; it was to be for a people already Christian.”–Robert Baird, Clergyman; 1844.
“The verdict of history is unmistakable. Nations perish from causes that are within; No nation ever died from causes that lay outside its borders. Every nation has died as its faith died. The people that has lost its religion has lost its life; Nations are not destroyed; they commit suicide.”–Samuel Zane Batten; 1922.