Plagued by a lack of discussion in their young people’s society, the members of the program committee of First Church’s Senior Society decided to give an after-recess program that would encourage more active participation in Bible discussion. On these lines, the committee distributed an outline of Bible texts and a few appropriate questions under the topic “Speaking Up.” The society was then divided into several smaller groups of four and five members in an attempt to eliminate the problem of the bashful talker. The following is a brief summary, conclusion, and a few comments of my own concerning the topic of “Speaking Up.”
One question of primary importance is the question of where and when we should speak up. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (chapter 6:9), we read, “Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Here Paul exhorts the Church to be holy, and in so doing, to speak to one another in the home and in the assemblies of the saints, in Mark 5:19, Jesus suffered the healed stranger to “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee.” This again is an encouragement to the Church to speak in the home and in the company of the saints.
In our churches it is customary that only the minister is to speak during the services. This was decided because the minister has a train of thought that leads him from one idea into another. If he were continuously interrupted by approving voices from his congregation, it was believed that his train of thought would be broken, thus making it difficult for him to proceed with his sermon. The question can still be raised however, “Would an occasional ‘Amen’ in agreement with the minister or a question asking him to stipulate more deeply what he means be wrong?” The answer to this question cannot be a definite yes or no, but Scripture does not seem to be against this and even Christ Himself was interrupted often during His preaching so that a question could be answered.
The words of Ephesians 6:16 and Mark 5:19 apply particularly to societies also, as
they alone with catechism and Sunday School are assemblies of the saints. One should not be bashful because he is in the company of those who should share his interests, and also because he is the member of a group of those who are one in Christ, and who share the gift of Salvation. It is the very exhortation of God and the duty of every Christian saint to speak of the great things God has done for His people.
But how should we speak up? In II Timothy 1:8, Paul tells Timothy, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of thy testimony of our Lord . . .”, or in other words, speak without shame or fear. Many members of societies use the excuse, “I’m afraid I’m not going to say the right thing,” or “They might laugh at me.” This, Paul says, should not be. Often the “quiet, bashful” type of people are the very talkative type when they are with a friend. If these people would join in the discussion, the duty would no longer rest on the few people willing to participate.
In Isaiah 62:6, Isaiah states, “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,” or in other words, speak unceasingly. This, though it is in reality impossible, still clearly gives the idea that one should be so bursting and bubbling over with happiness for the salvation given him of God that he constantly wills to praise Him by telling others. This we in many ways fail to do in our churches, and we as members of them should ask God in our prayers for this Christian knowledge and happiness.
In conclusion, we know that we must speak in the home and in the assemblies of the saints without shame and without fear, and above all, we must speak unceasingly.
As a result of their discussion of this topic, the members of the Senior Society of First Church decided that each member would encourage himself to speak at least one time during Bible discussion and would increase the number of times that he spoke until a society meeting would be a meeting in which all the members were actively participating, and the value of the society would increase as it became a means of spiritual edification.
*Dave is presently a Senior at Covenant Christian High.