(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The story of the uniform lessons [microform]"

of Chicago 
libraries 




GIFT OF 



m* 




.. --,.*** 

rf&riii Less oil's 



Dr. John RJ"Sampey 

and 
Dr. Ira M. Price 

With Chapters on the Uniform Lessons 
in the Present-day Sunday-school 



BY 



David R. Piper 




DAVID C. COOK PUBLISHING COMPANY, 
Elgin, Illinois. 



,; 
' .'.*? i 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

John R. Sampey 9 

Robert Raikes 13 

John H. Vincent 1 21 

B. F. Jacobs 25 

Warren Randolph 29 

John Potts 33 

Albert E. Dunning 37 

A. F. Schauffler 41 

Ira M. Price 49 



r , i,L 



COPYRIGHT, 1930. 

BY 
DAVID C. COOK PUBLISHING Co. 



926882 

CONTENTS. 

Chapter I, Beginnings of the Modern Sunday School. 
By John R. Sampey page 7 

Robert Raikes and His Associates. 
Rapid Growth of Sunday Schools. 
The Sunday School Teaching Religion. 
Early Lesson Courses. 

Chapter II, The Story of the Uniform Lessons. 

By John R. Sampey ,. page 19 

Influence of Bishop John H. Vincent. 

Mr. B. F. Jacobs Champions the Uniform System. 

Uniform Lessons Adopted. 

The First Lesson Committee. 

Rapid Growth of the Uniform Lessons. 

Some Improvements in the Lesson System. 

The Advent of Graded Lessons. 

The Uniform Lessons Under Fire. 

Contributions of the Uniform Lessons to Bible 

Study. 
The Future of the Uniform Lessons. 



Chapter III, Principles Governing the Selection of the 
Uniform Lessons. 

By Ira M. Price page 48 

Lesson Courses Cover Bible by Cycles. 

Topical Adaptations to Different Age-groups. 

The Length of the Lesson Texts. 

The " Hop, Skip, and Jump " Outcry. 

The Use of Topical Courses. 

Introduction of Temperance Lessons. 

The Easter and Christmas Lessons. 

Lessons for Other Special Days. 

How the Lesson Committee Works. 

The Home Daily Bible Readings. 

The Committee's Illustrious Chairman. 

(3) 



Chapter IV, The Uniform Lessons in the Light of 
Modern Educational Theory. 

By David R. Piper.... page 58 

Bible-centered versus Life-centered Lessons. 

We Must Teach Both the Bible and Life. 

The Bible and Life Are at the Heart of Every 
Uniform Lesson. 

Uniform Lessons Have Group-graded Treatment. 

Uniform Lessons Teach Whole Bible During Ev- 
ery Major Period of Life. 

Concerning Difficult Passages. 

Chapter V, Practical Advantages of the Uniform 
Lessons. 

By David R. Piper '. page 65 

Uniform Lessons Best Adapted to Small Schools. 

The Teacher Problem Solved. 

Uniform Lessons Promote Family Religion. 

Uniform Lessons Suit Needs of the Masses. 

In a Time of Experimentation, Uniform Lessons 
Are Safest. 

Uniform Lessons Have Met the Test of Time. 

Uniform Lessons Bring the Bible to the Un- 
churched. 

A Word in Conclusion. 

Chapter VI, The Lessons for 1931 and Future Years. 

By David R. Piper : page 73 

Appendix page 76 



(4) 



FOREWORD. 

THIS little book is the result of a widespread 
demand for a brief, popularly written, and reliable 
account of the Uniform Lesson System and the 
part it has played in the great world-wide Sunday- 
school movement. 

The authoritativeness of this study is vouched for 
by the authorship of the various chapters. Two chap- 
ters are contributed by Dr. John R. Sampey, who for 
thirty-five years has been a member of the Interna- 
tional Lesson Committee, and for many years past has 
been, as he still is, the chairman of the Uniform Les- 
son sub-committee. Another chapter is by Dr. Ira M. 
Price who was for more than twenty years a member 
of the International Lesson Committee, and for many 
years its secretary. David R. Piper, who writes the 
chapters explaining the pedagogical and practical ad- 
vantages of the Uniform Lessons, is qualified by his 
experience as a practical lesson writer and editor of 
lesson materials. 

The story of Sunday-school progress in the past is 
so completely identified with the story of the Uniform 
Lessons that the two cannot be separated. To know 
one is to know the other. The Uniform Lessons have 
had more to do with shaping Sunday-school history 
than any other one factor. Those who are not using 
the Uniform Lessons now will want this little volume 
for the information it contains and as a means of un- 
derstanding the Sunday-school as an institution com- 
ing down to us out of a glorious past and entering 
upon a still brighter future. 

Those who are using the Uniform Lessons will find 
these pages especially interesting. It will be a great 
satisfaction to know, from inside sources, how these 
lessons are selected, the principles on which the Les- 
son Committee works, the safe-guards by which it 
seeks to prepare only that which will meet the needs 
of the greatest possible number of teachers and pupils 
in the great Sunday-school army. 

Those who may contemplate a change in lesson ma- 

(5) 



terials for their class or school should read this book 
as a basis for determining the strong or weak points of 
the Uniform Lessons, as compared with other types of 
lesson materials now available. 

Pastors will want the book in their libraries for ref- 
erence when advising with their Sunday-school offi- 
cers and teachers. 

Workers who are already familiar with the history 
of the Sunday-school movement, and of the Uniform 
Lessons, will find that the facts are here presented in 
such condensed, concise, and yet comprehensive form, 
as to make this a valuable addition to their libraries. 

A great many teachers' and workers' conferences 
could not do better than to spend a number of month- 
ly sessions on the Uniform Lesson System, using the 
various chapters of this little treatise as a basis for 
study and discussion. To know the inside facts about 
the making of the lesson courses, alone, would add 
greatly to the personal efficiency of any teacher or 
officer. 




President and Editor-in-chief of the David C. Cook 
Publishing Company. 



(6) 



CHAPTER I. 

Beginnings of the Modern Sunday School. 

BY DR. JOHN R. SAMPEY. 

Chairman of the International Uniform Lesson 

Committee. 

Robert Raikes and His Associates. 

The modern Sunday-school can be traced back to 
Robert Raikes, Editor of the Gloucester Journal, who 
opened his first school for .poor and ragged boys from 
the streets and alleys of his native town in Sooty Alley, 
Gloucester, England, in July 1780. Mr. Raikes, writing 
on June 5, 1784, gives the following " account of the 
Sunday Charity Schools, lately begun in various parts 
of England: 

"I have not had leisure to give the public an 
earlier account of my plan for a reform of the ris- 
ing generation, by establishing schools, where 
poor children may be received upon the Sunday, 
and there engaged in learning to read, and to re- 
peat the Catechism, or anything else that may be 
deemed proper to open their minds to a knowl- 
edge of their duty to God, their neighbors and 
themselves. 

"The utility of an establishment of this sort 
was first suggested by a group of little miserable 
wretches, whom I observed one day in the street, 
where many people employed in the pin manufac- 
tory, reside. I was expressing my concern to one, 
at their forlorn and neglected state: and was 
told, that if I were to pass through that street 
upon Sundays, it would shock me indeed, to see 
the crowds of children who were spending that 
sacred day in noise and riot; to the extreme an- 
noyance of all decent people. 

" I immediately determined to make some little 
effort to remedy the evil. Having found four per- 
sons who had been accustomed to instruct chil- 

(7) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

dren in reading, I engaged to pay the sum they 
required for receiving and instructing such chil- 
dren as I should send to them every Sunday. The 
children were to come soon after ten in the morn- 
ing, and stay till twelve: they were then to go 
home and return at one; and after reading a les- 
son they were to be conducted to church. After 
church they were to be employed in repeating the 
Catechism till half after five, and then to be dis- 
missed, with an injunction to go home without 
making a noise; and by no means to play in the 
street. This was the general outline of the regula- 
tion. With regard to the parents, I went round 
to remonstrate with them on the melancholy con- 
sequences that must ensue from so fatal a neglect 
of their children's morals. They alleged, that 
their poverty rendered them incapable of cleaning 
and clothing their children fit to appear either at 
school or at church; but this objection was obvi- 
ated by a remark, that if they were clad in a garb 
lit to appear in the streets, I should not think it 
improper for a school calculated to admit the 
poorest and most neglected; all that I required, 
were clean faces, clean hands, and their hair 
combed. In other respects they were to come as 
their circumstances would permit. 

" In a little time the people perceived the ad- 
vantage. Many children began to show talents for 
learning, and a desire to be taught. Little rewards 
were distributed among the most diligent. This 
excited an emulation. One or two Clergymen 
gave their assistance, by going round to the 
schools on the Sunday afternoon, to hear the chil- 
dren their Catechism. This was of great conse- 
quence. 

" Another Clergyman hears them their Cate- 
chism once a quarter publicly in the church, and 
rewards their good behaviour with some little 
gratuity. 

" They are frequently admonished to refrain 
from swearing; and certain boys, who are distin- 
guished by their decent behaviour, are appointed 
to superintend the conduct of the rest, and make 
report of all that swear, call names, etc. When 
quarrels have arisen, the aggressor is compelled 

(8) 



BEGINNINGS OF THE MODERN SUNDAY SCHOOL. 

to ask pardon, and the offended is enjoined to for- 
give. The happiness that must arise to all, from 
a kind, good-natured behaviour, is often incul- 
cated. 

" This mode of treatment has produced a won- 
derful change in the manners of these little sav- 
ages. I cannot give a more striking instance than 
I received the other day from Mr. Church, a manu- 
facturer of hemp and flax, who employs numbers 
of these children I asked him whether he per- 
ceived any alteration in them, since they had been 
restrained from their former prostitution of the 
Lord's day. ' Sir/ said he, ' the change could not 
have been more extraordinary, had they been 
transformed from the shape of wolves and tigers 
to that of men. In temper, disposition, and man- 
ners, they could hardly be said to differ from the 
Brute Creation. But since the establishment of 
the Sunday-schools, they have shown that they are 
not the ignorant creatures that they were before. 
When they have seen a superior come, and kindly 
instruct and admonish them, and sometimes re- 
ward their good behaviour, they are anxious to 
gain his friendship and good opinion. They are 
also more tractable and obedient, and less quar- 
relsome and revengeful.' 

"From this little sketch of the reformation 
which has taken place, there is reason to hope, 
that a general establishment of Sunday-schools, 
would in time make some change in the morals 
of the lower class. At least it might in some 
measure prevent them from growing worse, which 
at present seems too apparent. 

" P. S. . . . The parish of St. Nicholas has lately 
established two schools; and some gentlemen of 
this city have also set up others. To some of the 
school-mistresses I give two shillings a week extra 
to take the children when they come from work, 
during the week days." 



Rapid Growth of Sunday Schools. 

Robert Raikes was a reformer and philanthropist. 
He gave himself heartily to the work of elevating the 

(11) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

moral and religious condition of the children of the 
poor. By 1787 Mr. Raikes estimated the number of 
children in Sunday-schools at 250,000. Evidently the 
Sunday-schools ministered to a great need and ap- 
pealed to the benevolence of Christian men and wom- 
en. The immediate objective of Robert Raikes and 
those \vho associated themselves with his movement 
was to teach children to read in order that they might 
study the Scriptures for themselves. The catechism 
formed part of the course of study in these early 
schools, and Bibles and Testaments were placed in the 
hands of pupils as soon as they could read them. Of 
course there were many by-products of the movement. 
Children were taught neatness, politeness, kindness, 
and the habit of attending public worship. The wom- 
en who were engaged to teach in the schools were 
paid a shilling or more for giving instruction from 
five to seven hours per Sunday. Of course only poor 
children attended these early charity schools, and 
boys and girls were taught in separate houses by dif- 
ferent teachers. 

One of the leading promoters of Sunday-schools in 
Great Britain was William Fox, a London merchant 
who had a longing that every poor person might be 
able to read the Bible. He sought to enlist Parliament 
in the effort to promote popular education, and when 
this plan failed, he founded the Sunday School Society 
September 7, 1785. Within twenty years the Sunday 
School Society had established and assisted 2,542 
schools, containing 226,945 pupils. They had donated 
many spelling books and Bibles. In his " History of 
the English People, 5 ' John Richard Green says: "The 
Sunday-schools established by Mr. Raikes, of Glouces- 
ter, at the close of the century were the beginnings of 
popular education." It is difficult for us in these days 
of universal popular education to conceive of the il- 
literacy in England in the latter part of the Eighteenth 
Century. Until 1870, free public education of the type 
with which we in America are familiar was unknown 
in England. 

(12) 



BEGINNINGS OF THE MODERN SUNDAY SCHOOL. 

It was only a few years after 1780 before teachers 
volunteered their services without pay in many Sun- 
day-schools. The movement in favor of unpaid teach- 
ers was promoted by Mr. Wesley and his co-laborers, 
but William Brodie Gurney, a consecrated Baptist lay- 
man, became the apostle of the movement. 

The demand for the Scriptures for the use of pupils 
in the Sunday-schools was the occasion of the forma- 
tion of the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804. 
The Sunday-school movement has greatly promoted 
the dissemination of the Bible throughout its history. 

Through the influence of Rev. Thomas Charles of 
Bala, North Wales, schools were set up for teaching 
adults how to read. Writing on January 4, 1814, Mr. 
Charles says : " In one country, after a public ad- 
dress had been delivered to them on that subject, the 
adult poor, even the aged, flocked to Sunday-schools 
in crowds; and the shopkeepers could not immediate- 
ly supply them with an adequate number of spectacles. 
Our schools, in general, are kept in our chapels; in 
some districts, where there are no chapels, farmers, 
in the summer time, lend their barns. The adults and 
children are sometimes in the same room, but placed 
in a different part of it. When their attention is gained 
and fixed, they soon learn; their age makes no differ- 
ence, if they are able by the help of glasses to see the 
letters. As the adults have no time to lose, we en- 
deavor before they can read to instruct them without 
delay in the first principles of Christianity." A pa- 
thetic story is recorded by Mr. Power in " The Rise 
and Progress of Sunday Schools ": " At Glancavie on 
one of the islands of Scotland, it is said the people 
flocked in crowds to the schools. An old soldier 
named Iverich, one hundred and seventeen years old, 
says he entered the army in 1715, and the Sunday- 
school in 1815. After learning the alphabet, and to 
connect monosyllables, his sight failed, and he could 
go no further." 

Sunday-schools began to be organized in America 
shortly after Mr. Raikes started the movement in Eng- 

(15) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

land. From about 1786 onward Sunday-schools began 
to appear in different parts of our country. The 
First-day or Sunday School Society was founded in 
Philadelphia on January 11, 1791. Its purpose was 
the education of poor children and their moral im- 
provement. Teachers were paid for their services in 
the schools under the care of the Society. 

The Sunday School Teaching Religion. 

During the first quarter of the nineteenth century 
in America religious instruction became the chief ob- 
jective in the Sunday-school. While in many places 
the spelling book was still employed, the chief em- 
phasis came to be placed on the study of the Bible. 
Teachers began to make it their aim to lead their schol- 
ars to acceptance of Christ as their Saviour. Revivals 
of religion sojtnetimes broke out in the Sunday-schools. 

In many of these schools the chief task was the repe- 
tition of Scripture verses by the pupils. The recita- 
tion period was largely given up to memoriter work, 
and children would sometimes repeat whole chapters 
at one time. Of course catechisms were employed in 
many schools, but there was no study of carefully 
selected portions of Scripture in these early schools. 

Early Lesson Courses. 

About 1823 there began a movement in favor of 
selected lessons. Early in 1824 a scheme of limited 
and uniform lessons was adopted by two schools in 
the city of New York. The lessons consisted of selec- 
tions from the Gospels in chronological order. The 
New York Association of Sunday School Teachers on 
January 1, 1825, commenced a series of selected les- 
sons for the four following months. In March, 1825, 
the American Sunday School Union published a list of 
forty-nine lessons for one year. This list was careful- 
ly revised and was widely used from May, 1826 to 
May, 1827. The promoters of this new lesson system 
evidently intended that it should be a uniform series 
to be used by pupils of every age. The New York 

(16) 



BEGINNINGS OF THE MODERN SUNDAY SCHOOL. 

Sunday School Unio.n Society expressed the hope " that 
this plan will very soon be so systematized that every 
school may be furnished with the same lesson that 
thus every teacher and every scholar may be occupied 
upon the same subject at the very same time." 

In 1827 a more ambitious scheme of selected lessons, 
covering five years, was announced by the American 
Sunday School Union. These lessons included the life 
and miracles of Jesus for the first year, the teaching 
of Jesus for the second year, selections from the Epis- 
tles and Revelation for the . third year, interesting 
biographies from the Old Testament for the fourth 
year, while the fifth year was to be devoted to a study 
of the prophecies. The new type of Sunday-school 
lesson became exceedingly popular. There was now 
more real study for the Bible in the Sunday-school. 
Helps for teachers were also prepared, but there was 
no adequate provision for the needs of the pupils. 
Quarterlies for pupils, explaining and illustrating the 
lessons, had not yet arrived. Notwithstanding the fail- 
ure to provide suitable helps for the pupils, new inter- 
est in the Sunday-school was kindled by this more 
systematic method of Bible study. 

About. 1831 the " Verse-a-Day Scheme" was pro- 
jected and soon made great inroads upon the " selected 
lesson " series. On this plan the pupil would require 
eighty-five years for the completion of his first survey 
of the Bible. If a pupil should enter the school and 
begin with the first verse of Genesis he would be an 
old man before he would come to the story of the life 
of Jesus. The popularity of this scheme for a while 
was perhaps due to the fact that on January 17, 1831 
the scheme began with the first verse of the eleventh 
chapter of John. Naturally there was abundance of 
rich material for both teacher and pupil in the Gospel 
of John and in the Acts of the Apostles. The undue 
extension of the " Selected Lesson " system to nine or 
more years for the completion of its cycle of Bible 
study also tended to reduce the popularity of the 
selected lessons. Thus this early uniform system grad- 

(17) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

ually lost its hold upon American Sunday-schools. 

For about forty years the so-called " Babel Series " 
prevailed. Denominational publishers began to issue 
separate series, so that it was impossible for the visitor 
in passing from one school to another to know what 
Scripture lesson he would encounter. There was lit- 
tle concert of action among the Sunday-school work- 
ers of that period. Wise leadership in the First Na- 
tional Sunday School Convention in 1832 might have 
brought the Sunday-school forces to the early adop- 
tion of a common lesson for all denominations through- 
out America. It was a serious mistake to attempt a 
second convention within seven months from the ad- 
journment of the first. The comparative failure of 
the Second National Convention in 1833 so discouraged 
Sunday-school leaders that a period of twenty-six 
years passed by before the advent of the Third Na- 
tional Convention. 

In Great Britain, about 1838 to 1840, lesson lists 
were issued which led to connected study of the life of 
Christ, the Acts of the Apostles and the Old Testament 
history. Helps for teachers were prepared, but there 
were no helps for the pupils. From 1842 on, the lists 
of the Sunday School Union were uniform in the In- 
termediate, Senior, and Adult departments of the 
schools which followed the series issued by the Union. 
Uniformity was extended downward to the elemen- 
tary classes in the year 1855. It is well for us to bear 
in mind that a lesson quite similiar to the Uniform 
Lessons authorized in 1872 by the Indianapolis Con- 
vention was already in use in England as early as 
1855. There was, however, no common uniform sys- 
tem in Great Britain at that time. Rival lesson lists 
were issued by other societies and by denominational 
publishers. The Christian world had to wait a long 
time for the advent of selected lessons on which the 
various denominations of evangelical Christians could 
unite. 



(18) 



CHAPTER II. 
The Story of the Uniform Lessons. 

BY DR. JOHN R. SAMPEY. 

Influence of Bishop John H. Vincent. 

If we seek the founders of the Uniform Lesson Sys- 
tem, we shall discover that two men had more to do 
with the genesis and the development of the Uniform 
Lessons than all other persons combined. These men 
were John H. Vincent and B. F. Jacobs. There is 
space for only a brief study of these great leaders. 

John Heyl Vincent, born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 
February 23, 1832, was brought up in Pennsylvania. 
His parents were of Huguenot stock, as were the an- 
cestors of his colleague, Benjamin Franklin Jacobs. 
Mr. Vincent's father trained his boy in correct speech. 
Young Vincent was led into Christian work early in 
life, and so did not have the advantage of a college 
education. To compensate for this lack, he read wide- 
ly, studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and sought to 
make himself familiar with all that college men stud- 
ied, and thus put himself in possession of all that 
could be obtained by self-education. Later on, as the 
founder of the Chautauqua movement, he induced 
many men and women to read in English translations 
the great works of ancient and of modern literature, 
thus enlarging their horizon and putting them into 
intellectual sympathy with persons trained in the best 
colleges and universities. 

When he was about sixteen years of age young 
Vincent attended a school in which the teacher taught 
geography by singing it. Later on as a young pastor 
at Irvington, New Jersey, he organized his first Pales- 
tine party and invented a plan for singing and chant- 
ing Biblical geography. He admitted to his class per- 
sons of all ages and under his magnetic leadership lit- 

(19) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

tie girls and their grandmothers united in singing and 
chanting the sacred geography. It would be a mis- 
take to infer that the young preacher was doing su- 
perficial work; for he devised a system of lessons 
which required minute and accurate acquaintance 
with the facts and teachings of the Scriptures. These 
early years of enthusiastic teaching served as an ap- 
prenticeship in pedagogy and the study of the Bible 
which prepared Mr. \ 7 incent for the great tasks of his 
mature years. In 1857 Mr. Vincent organized in his 
church at Joliet, Illinois, the first Sunday School Nor- 
mal Class, and he seems to have been the first to 
suggest Teachers' Institutes for Sunday-school work- 
ers. These training schools for Sunday-school teach- 
ers did much to prepare the way for the acceptance 
of a common uniform lesson on the part of Sunday- 
school leaders a dozen years later. 

In 1865 Mr. Yincent became the founder and editor 
of The Sunday School Teachers' Quarterly, which 
became a monthly magazine in 1866 and was called 
The Sunday School Teacher. In the fall of 1865 
Mr. Vincent, in an institute conducted by the Chicago 
Sunday School Union, discussed the following signifi- 
cant question: "Is it practicable to introduce a uni- 
form system of lessons into all our schools?" Mr. 

Vincent prepared in 1866 a course of uniform lessons 
entitled, " Two Years with Jesus : A New System of 
Sunday School Study." Having been elected as head 
of the Sunday School Department of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, with headquarters in New York, Mr. 
Vincent resigned as editor of The Sunday School 
Teacher after only four months' service. Rev. Ed- 
ward Eggleston succeeded to the work in Chicago and 
made The National Sunday School Teacher im- 
mensely popular, with a circulation of 35,000 copies, 
the Scholar's Lesson Paper attaining a circulation of 
more than 350,000. Mr. Vincent soon founded in New 
York the Berean Series, which became the chief com- 
petitor of the National Series edited by Mr. Eggleston. 
Mr. Vincent, in his Berean Series, kept on issuing 
courses of lessons that were well selected for use by 

(20) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

pupils of all ages. Here was a type of lesson which 
might be used in Sunday-schools everywhere. 

Mr. B. F. Jacobs Champions the Uniform System. 

Benjamin Franklin Jacobs was born at Paterson, 
New Jersey, September 18, 1834. In his twentieth year 
he moved to Chicago, and was soon very active in 
Sunday-school work. For more than forty-five years 
he served as superintendent of various Sunday-schools. 
In 1868 he was made president of the Illinois Sunday 
School Convention, and in 1869 was one of the three 
secretaries of the Fourth National Sunday School 
Convention. He was intensely earnest as a personal 
worker and won many to accept Christ as their Sav- 
iour. In 1881 he became chairman of the Interna- 
tional Sunday School Executive Committee, an office 
which he filled with signal ability until his death in 
1902. He was one of the leading figures of the World's 
first Sunday School Convention, in London, in 1889, 
and he was made President of the World's Second 
Sunday School Convention, in St. Louis, in 1893. He 
was the moving spirit in every session of the Inter- 
national Sunday School Convention from 1872 to 1899. 
He served on the International Lesson Committee for 
thirty years. Mr. Jacobs moved men profoundly by 
his tender and inspiring addresses, whether in the 
committee room or before great popular audiences. 

It was this virile young man, engaged in practical 
Sunday-school work, who caught the vision of a uni- 
form lesson for all the schools of the continent. Rev. 
Simeon Gilbert, who knew Mr. Jacobs well and saw 
him in action frequently, regarded the adoption of the 
Uniform Lesson System at the Indianapolis Convention 
as very largely Mr. Jacobs' "personal achievement 
brought about, under God, as the result of a conviction 
felt in the bones, burning in the heart, tense as a bow- 
string on every fiber of the brain : carried out by dint 
of a determination dead in earnest, in insistence and in 
persistence as resolute as the centripetal law of grav- 
ity; a tact and skill that knew when to push and when 

(23) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

to strike; how to poise the hand and withhold the 
blow that might fail by being premature or untimely; 
how to state, argue, plead, in private and in public, at 
home and away from home." 

From 1867 to 1872 Mr. Jacobs seized every oppor- 
tunity to present the advantages of a system of uni- 
form lessons. He advocated one lesson for the whole 
school, and insisted that this lesson would be good for 
all the schools of the country. He promoted the adop- 
tion of the lessons put forth by Edward Eggleston in 
The National Sunday School Teacher. He spoke in 
favor of uniform lessons before various state conven- 
tions of Sunday-school workers. In every way possi- 
ble he promoted the view that a uniform lesson would 
be best for every school, and that it would be prac- 
ticable to unite all the schools of our whole country 
upon one and the same series. 

Edward Eggletson, who did not really believe in the 
principle of uniformity, characterized the scheme of 
Mr. Jacobs as a dream of his enthusiastic friend. As 
time went on, Dr. Eggleston began to hope that all 
Sunday-school publishers might accept the lesson lists 
of The National Sunday School Teacher. He de- 
clined to seek union by calling in the services of a 
committee. He insisted that his list should be accepted 
by all. It was the refusal of the publishers of The 
National Sunday School Teacher to unite on any 
other condition than the acceptance of the " National 
Series " of lessons, that retarded the adoption of a 
common uniform lesson for two or three years. 

Uniform Lessons Adopted. 

In 1871 Mr. Jacobs presented to the Executive Com- 
mittee, in session to arrange for the Indianapolis Con- 
vention of 1872, the subject of uniform lessons, and 
finding that .most of the committee favored it, a meet- 
ing of publishers was called for August 8. At this 
meeting it was decided, by a vote of twenty-six to 
three, to appoint a committee to select a list of lessons 
for 1872. Drs. Eggleston, Vincent and Newton, Rev. 

(24) 



=".-- " ~I'"*HJI 




THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

H. C. McCook, and Mr. Jacobs constituted the commit- 
tee. We allow Mr. Gilbert to describe what took place 
after the adjournment of the publishers and their rep- 
resentatives : " It was then past three o'clock, and Dr. 
Vincent insisted that the outline of the scheme must 
be formed that day. Dr. Newton said he was obliged 
to leave the city that afternoon. Mr. Jacobs was also 
obliged to leave, but said he would return the next 
morning. But as the other members of the committee 
insisted that the lessons must be selected that day, if 
at all, these two brethren agreed that the other mem- 
bers of the committee might begin the work of select- 
ing the lessons. The three members of the committee 
held a meeting, and, after a brief consultation, agreed 
to disagree and publish the following card, which 
was printed that afternoon: 

" Uniform Lessons the Failure. The under- 
signed, having been appointed at the conference 
held at the call of the National Executive Commit- 
tee, a committee to select a course of lessons for 
the whole Sunday-school public, find it impossi- 
ble at this late day to select a list of subjects ac- 
ceptable to all, or creditable enough to put the 
experiment on a fair basis. The compromise 
necessary to effect a union at this moment renders 
it out of the question to get a good list, and with 
the most entire unanimity we agree that it is best 
to defer action until the matter shall have been 
discussed in the National Convention." 

Six copies of this card were mailed at once to dif- 
ferent papers for publication, with the signatures of 
Edward Eggleston, J. H. Vincent and Henry C. McCook. 
Mr. Jacobs received a telegram that night that the' com- 
mittee had decided not to select a list of lessons, and 
that Dr. Vincent had gone home to Plainfield. He at 
once telegraphed Dr. Vincent to meet him in New 
York the next morning. Mr. Jacobs succeeded in con- 
vincing Dr. Vincent that the committee ought to do the 
work for which it was appointed. The committee de- 
cided to take two quarters lessons from the National 
Series, one quarter from the Berean Series and to make 

(27) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

up themselves one quarter of new lessons. This list 
of lessons was widely adopted throughout the United 
States, and had been in actual use more than, three 
months prior to the meeting of the Indianapolis Con- 
vention. At this Convention Mr. Jacobs made an elo- 
quent address in favor of the Uniform System, and at 
the close of his address submitted the following reso- 
lution : 

" Resolved, That this Convention appoint a com- 
mittee to consist of five clergymen and five lay- 
men, to select a course of Bible Lessons for a series 
of years not exceeding seven, which shall, as far 
as they may decide possible, embrace a general 
study of the whole Bible, alternating between the 
Old and New Testaments semi-annually or quar- 
terly, as they shall deem best, and to publish a list 
of such lessons as fully as possible, and at least 
for the two years next ensuing, as early as the 
1st of August, 1872; and that this Convention rec- 
ommend their adoption by the Sunday-schools of 
the whole country; and that this committee have 
full power to fill any vacancies that may occur 
in their number by reason of the inability of any 
member to serve." 

This resolution was adopted by an overwhelming 
vote, only ten delegates voting in the negative. The 
method of Bible study thus adopted on Thursday, April 
18, 1872, won the approval of the overwhelming ma- 
jority of Protestant Sunday-schools through the world, 
and has maintained its place in thousands of schools 
to the present hour. 

The First Lesson Committee. 

The first International Lesson Committee was com- 
posed of five clergymen and five laymen, as follows: 
Ministers Drs. J. H. Vincent, John Hall, "Warren Ran- 
dolph, Richard Newton, and A. L. Chapin; laymen 
Philip G. Gillett, George H. Stuart, B. F. Jacobs, Alex. 
G. Tyng, and Henry P. Haven. Dr. Vincent was elect- 
ed chairman and Rev. Warren Randolph was chosen as 
secretary. These gentlemen remained in office for 
twenty-four years. 

(28) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

The members of the First Lesson Committee were 
under the necessity of paying their own traveling ex- 
penses and hotel bills. The amount thus contributed 
during six years was not less than $3,000. In their 
report to the International Convention of 1878, they 
said: " The money we have thus given, together with 
our work, is our cheerful contribution to the cause." 
The traveling expenses and hotel bills of members of 
the Lesson Committee from 1878 to the present time 
have been provided by others; but they have given 
their services without any financial compensation. It 
has been the writer's privilege to serve on the Inter- 
national Lesson Committee for almost thirty-five years, 
and the service has been throughout a labor of love. 
There have been rich rewards in the personal friend- 
ships formed and in the rich spiritual fellowship of 
the meetings of the Committee. 



Rapid Growth of the Uniform Lessons. 

On concluding its first three years of work, the Les- 
son Committee reported : " The extent to which our 
work is already carried, far surpasses the most san- 
guine expectations. These lessons are largely in use 
throughout our own land by Methodists, Presbyterians, 
Baptists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Lutherans, 
Moravians, Friends, members of the Reformed 
Churches, Adventists, and many others, a mighty 
host, to be enumerated only by millions. Each of 
these denominations has established Sunday-school 
periodicals, large parts of which are devoted to the 
exposition of the lessons. In addition to these, private 
enterprise has established many more. The weekly 
religious press, of almost all denominations, in every 
issue expounds the same, and in some instances secu- 
lar papers are doing it, while the teaching of the les- 
son for the following day has become the Saturday 
feature of the noon-day prayer-meetings all over the 
land. Thus our lessons have found their way to the 
Sunday-schools along the shores of the Atlantic, down 
the slopes of the Pacific, and through all the region 

(31) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

which lies between. East and West and North and 
South have come to love and use them. 

"But this is not all. Our work will help to unify 
the nations. The tidal wave is already rolling along 
the shores of Continental Europe. The ground swell 
is felt in Asia, and even in the regions that are beyond. 
Our lessons are today in use in France and Germany, 
in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switz- 
erland, Turkey, Italy and Greece; in Syria, Hindustan, 
India, Burmah, and China. Old Mexico is sitting down 
with us to the study of these Scriptures. The isles, too, 
wait for God's Law. Australia, New Zealand, and the 
Sandwich Islands have clasped hands with us across 
the intervening waters, and it is literally true, that 
one set of Sabbath studies is going with the sun 
around the globe." 

The number of persons using the Uniform Lessons 
grew from year to year until by 1890 they numbered 
at least ten million souls. By 1902 the number had 
increased to more than fifteen million, and by 1905 to 
seventeen million. There has been no other coopera- 
tive movement for the study of the Bible equal to this. 

Some Improvements in the Lesson System. 

The lesson selections were at first very brief, and 
the titles were also simple and brief. Golden Texts 
were first introduced in 1874. The Sunday School 
Union of London decided to use in their afternoon 
schools the lessons issued by the American Commit- 
tee. From 1874 until 1914 the lesson lists for each 
year were submitted to the British Committee for 
criticism and improvement. 

The work of the Second Lesson Committee, which 
was appointed in Atlanta in 1878, shows a marked im- 
provement over that of the First Committee. The 
members who were retained from the First Commit- 
tee had learned much by experience, and some of the 
new members were exceptionally strong men. Per- 
haps the two who made the largest contribution to the 
work of the Lesson Committee were Dr. John A. 

(32) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Broadus and Rev. John Potts. Dr. Broadus was at once 
recognized by his colleagues as a great scholar and a 
wise man. Bishop Vincent says of him : " He was a 
ripe scholar, perfect in his familiarity with the Bible; 
amiable, cordial. He gave his whole personality to 
the work in hand at the time." Bishop Vincent de- 
scribes Dr. Potts as " a man robust and royal in bear- 
ing, well educated, a practical man who knew folks, 
having had large experience in preaching among the 
people." Dr. Potts was chairman of the. Lesson Com- 
mittee from 1896 until his death in 1907. In addition 
to selecting a passage for study, with a title for the 
lesson, and a Golden Text, the Second Lesson Commit- 
tee also indicated memory verses. The Committee 
took a step forward in 1882 by devoting the entire 
year to the study of the Gospel of Mark. 

Among the able men added to the Third Lesson 
Committee, one of the most useful was Rev. A. E. 
Dunning, D.D., who served on the Lesson Committee 
for eighteen years, and was promoted to the office of 
Secretary from 1896 to 1902. Bishop Vincent thus 
pictures Dr. Dunning: "A Yankee in his aggressive- 
ness; a genial, cordial spirit; bright, well educated, 
vivacious, keen, clear-headed." The third cycle of 
lessons (1887 to 1893) was a distinct improvement 
over those which had preceded it. It included a year 
of consecutive study in Matthew and a similar period 
of consecutive study in Luke. 

From January, 1873, to December, 1893, the Uni- 
form Lesson System covered the entire Bible three 
times, in cycles of seven years each. From 1894 to 
1917 there were four cycles of six years each, followed 
by a cycle of eight years (1918-1925), when the Com- 
mittee returned to a six-year cycle (1926-1931). The 
Educational Commission has tentatively adopted a 
five-year cycle for 1932 to 1936. 

The Fourth Lesson Committee indicated connected 
and parallel readings, along with Scripture passages, 
titles, Golden Texts and memory verses, hoping in this 
way to show the historical connection between lessons 

(35) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

and to obtain a more complete view of the book or 
period under consideration. Consecutive Bible study 
made great progress under the direction of the Fourth 
Lesson Committee. 

Among the outstanding men added to the Committee 
in 1896 were Principal E. I. Rexford and Rev. A. F. 
Schauffler, D.D. The writer of this historical sketch 
had been appointed by the Lesson Committee in Octo- 
ber, 1895, as the successor of Dr. John A. Broadus. Un- 
der the leadership of Dr. A. F. Schauffler the Fifth 
Lesson Committee emphasized the biographical feature 
in Bible study. It was voted to give a year and a 
half to the continuous study of the life of Christ after 
the fashion of a harmony of the Gospels. 

On April 17, 1901, in New York, a group of Sunday- 
school editors, publishers and lesson writers came to- 
gether and formed the Editorial Association, a body of 
experts and leaders who influenced profoundly the 
work of the Lesson Committee from that time for- 
ward. At their suggestion, a committee was appoint- 
ed to prepare a Beginners Course for one year and 
another committee to prepare an Advanced Course of 
two years. At the Denver Convention, in 1902, the 
Lesson Committee was authorized to issue an optional 
Beginners Course, but was forbidden to issue Ad- 
vanced Lessons. 

Professor Ira M. Price, Ph.D., was a notable addi- 
tion to the personnel of the Sixth Lesson Committee. 
Dr. Price is an able Semitic scholar and an expert 
teacher. Methodical, diligent, courteous and affable, 
he at once took a place of leadership in the work of 
the Committee. In 1908 he became Secretary of the 
Lesson Committee, an office which he filled with emi- 
nent satisfaction to his colleagues for more than twen- 
ty years. It would be difficult to exaggerate the value 
of his services to the Sunday-school world. 

The cycle of Uniform Lessons from 1906 to 1911 
was noted for long consecutive courses, each year with 
the exception of 1908 being devoted to consecutive 
study in either the Old or New Testament. A high 

(36) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

standard of scholarship is evident in the formation of 
the cycle and its development, but some of the courses 
perhaps grew rather tedious to the average pupil and 
teacher. 

In the summer of 1907 an important conference be- 
tween the British and American Sections of the Les- 
son Committee was held in the city of London. It 
was voted at this conference that the British Section 
be requested to prepare a general scheme for the les- 
sons for 1912 to 1917, and a detailed list of the lessons 
for 1912. It was also agreed that the Uniform Lessons 
should be selected with special 'reference to the needs 
of pupils from nine to fifteen years of age. It was 
understood that Primary and Advanced Lessons could 
be prepared by the American and British Sections act- 
ing jointly or independently. If this agreement had 
been carried out fully, uniformity for the whole school 
would have been given up. 

The Advent of Graded Lessons. 

At this .same period the agitation in favor of a 
closely graded series was at its height in America. The 
advocates of Graded Lessons in the United States pre- 
ferred to make no use of Uniform Lessons for pupils 
other than adults. It was decided to let the two series 
of lessons be issued without any effort to fit one into 
the other. 

The way was prepared for the issuance of two wide- 
ly different types of lessons for American Sunday- 
schools by the Boston Conference, held in the home of 
Mr. W. N. Hartshorn, Chairman of the Executive Com- 
mittee of the International Association, on January 2, 
1908. After earnest discussion for two days, the fol- 
lowing resolution was unanimously passed: " (1) That 
the system of a general lesson for the whole school, 
which has been in successful use for thirty-five years, 
is still the most practicable and effective system for 
the great majority of the Sunday-schools of North 
America. Because of its past accomplishments, its 
present usefulness, and its future possibilities, we rec- 
ommend its continuance and its fullest development. 

(39) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

(2) That the need for a graded system of lessons is 
expressed by so many Sunday-schools and workers 
that it should be adequately met by the International 
Sunday School Association, and that the Lesson Com- 
mittee should be instructed by the next International 
Convention, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, June 
18-23, 1908, to continue the preparation of a thorough- 
ly graded course covering the entire range of the 
Sunday-school." 

Each series could then stand on its own merits. At 
the Louisville Convention, in 1908, it was voted that 
a closely graded series be prepared for pupils from 
four to twenty-one years of age. During the years 
from 1908 to 1914 the Lesson Committee, with the in- 
valuable assistance of the Graded Lesson Conference, 
prepared and issued courses for sixteen years of con- 
secutive study. 

Since the completion of the Closely Graded Series in 
1916, the Lesson Committee has made no further re- 
vision of these lessons, but voted to give them over to 
the various denominations for such revision as they 
might be pleased to make. These lessons are used by 
many schools in all parts of the United States. 

The Uniform Lessons Under Fire. 

The friends of Uniform Lessons were disturbed in 
1914, by the strong effort to displace Uniform Lessons 
by a series graded by departments. In order to make 
the situation clear, we must recount briefly the story 
of the enlargement of the Lesson Committee in 1914. 
Prior to that year the Lesson Committee had long con- 
sisted of sixteen members, most of whom were minis- 
ters of the gospel or professors in theological schools. 
It was an unwritten law that no man who drew his 
financial support from editorial work for the Sunday- 
school could be a member of the International Lesson 
Committee. With the great development in religious 
education and the election of expert Sunday-school 
workers to positions in the denominational publishing 
houses, the former Editorial Association had been dis- 
placed by a Sunday School Council of Evangelical De- 

(40) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

nominations. This Council contained many men of 
large vision and wide experience, who saw no. reason 
why they should not have a hand in the selection of 
lesson courses. Thus it came about that the leaders 
of the International Sunday School Association were 
confronted, in 1914, with the demand that the Inter- 
national Lesson Committee should be reconstructed 
and enlarged. An agreement was made whereby the 
Lesson Committee should include eight members 
chosen by the International Association, eight mem- 
bers elected by the Sunday School Council of Evan- 
gelical Denominations, and one; member from each 
denomination holding membership in the Council. 
The membership of the Lesson Committee suddenly 
rose to forty or more. As soon as the new and larger 
Lesson Committee was organized, an effort was made 
to displace the historic Uniform Lessons. The present 
Group Graded Lessons represent the type of lesson 
with which it was hoped by many to displace the 
Uniform Series. After much earnest debate, it was 
voted, in 1915, to issue Uniform Lessons with special 
adaptations to pupils in the various departments. 
From 1918 to the present time these lessons have been 
known as " The Improved Uniform Lessons." 

The writer of this sketch has been Chairman of the 
Improved Uniform Lesson Committee from 1915 to 
the present, and he takes pleasure in recording the 
opinion that the series has been made better by the 
changes introduced in 1915 and the years that have 
followed. Among the leading members of the Com- 
mittee are some of the chief editors of denominational 
publishing houses. These gentlemen not only give 
their personal attention to the work of the Commit- 
tee, but also call upon the members of their staff to 
assist with expert advice. The Improved Uniform 
Lessons have had extensive use even among the re- 
ligious bodies which were most definitely committed 
to the use of Graded Lessons. 

The International Lesson Committee, at its meeting 
December 29, 1920, voted that all its lesson schemes 

(43) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

should be constructed upon the principle of gradua- 
tion, and that at the earliest possible moment two 
basic types of Sunday-school lessons be issued, name- 
ly, lessons graded by years and lessons graded by age- 
groups. It was voted that when the new system of 
Group Lessons should be prepared and approved, the 
Committee would then proceed to determine the status 
of the Improved Uniform Lesson System. All this 
sounded rather ominous for Uniform Lessons; but 
some who were present kept quiet, in view of the fact 
that the wide demand for Uniform Lessons would 
guarantee that such lessons would still be kept in the 
field. 

April 20, 1922, in Pittsburgh, the Lesson Committee 
released the outline for Primary Group Lessons and 
Junior Group Lessons for the year 1924. At the same 
meeting the following action was taken concerning 
Uniform Lessons: 

" (1) That a six-year cycle of Improved Uni- 
form Lessons be authorized, beginning with 1926, 
with adaptations to Intermediate, Senior, Young 
People's and Adult departments. 

" (2) That the Subcommittee on Improved Uni- 
form Lessons be unrestricted by instructions as 
to the range and character of material to be se- 
lected, in view of the probable desirability that 
the Uniform Lessons, for some years to come, 
should be adaptable to the use of Primary and 
Junior pupils, even though specific adaptations of 
title and material to these grades are not provided 
by the Committee. 

" (3) That in addition to the separate publica- 
tion of the Improved Uniform Lessons and the 
various Group Lessons, the Primary and Junior 
Group Lessons for 1924, together with the Im- 
proved Uniform Lessons for the same year, be 
published in parallel columns upon one page, un- 
der the heading: 

" The International Sunday School Lessons 
Group-Uniform Series: Courses for 1924." 

For some time publishers of the Group Lessons pre- 
ferred to keep them in close association with the Uni- 

(44) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

form Series. Perhaps this close association disarmed 
a good deal of criticism of the Group Lessons. There 
is no longer any occasion for trying to make oil and 
water mix. The Group Graded Series can stand on 
its own merits, and the Uniform Series will do like- 
wise. During his long connection with the Lesson 
Committee the writer has always contended for the 
principle of freedom. He has insisted that any rea- 
sonable demand from a considerable body of the con- 
stituency to which the Lesson Committee ministers, 
should be met and properly cared for. The attempt to 
force one's preferences upon others is unwise and 
leads to inevitable conflict. 



Contributions of the Uniform Lessons to Bible Study. ' 

Although the Sunday-school movement in America 
had made great progress frjm its origin about 1786, 
it had in it potentialities scarcely dreamed of prior to 
the adoption of the Uniform Lesson System on April 
18, 1872, at the Indianapolis Convention. Mr. Jacobs 
and a few other forward-looking men with rare vision 
foresaw the advantages of uniting all Christian work- 
ers in the weekly study of a single brief passage of 
Scripture, selected because it would appeal to all ages 
and offer valuable teaching material for winning the 
pupils to Christ and building them up in the Christian 
life. With the Bible as the one textbook, and well 
chosen passages of moderate compass for each lesson, 
it was evident that it would be possible to bring 
Christians of the various denominational groups to co- 
operate in the various phases of Sunday-school work. 
This would offer opportunity for a delightful form 
of Christian union, without embarrassment to anyone 
possessing strong religious convictions. 

It may well be questioned whether any other type 
of lesson would have brought together so many mil- 
lions of American Christians. Nor was this delightful 
fellowship of Christians of various names and creeds 
to be limited to North America. It was just as work- 
able in Europe and on the mission fields of the world. 

(45) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

No other single influence has done more to promote 
cooperation on the part of all evangelical Christians 
than the adoption and use of a common uniform les- 
son in the Sunday-schools of this continent. Fears 
and prejudices were disarmed in the presence of the 
admirable lessons selected by a group of ministers and 
laymen representing the leading evangelical denomi- 
nations. If this same group of ministers and laymen 
had attempted to construct graded lessons for the vari- 
ous ages, they could not have caught the imagination 
nor enlisted the sympathy of so many millions of peo- 
ple. The uniform lesson devised by Rev. John H. Vin- 
cent and championed by Mr. B. F. Jacobs has made 
a great contribution to the Christian life of the world. 

A lesson prepared for only one age-group could not 
hope to command space in secular newspapers; in 
fact, it would probably receive little attention in the 
weekly religious newspapers. It was reserved for a 
lesson uniform in all departments and for all ages to 
catch the attention of newspaper publishers and edi- 
tors. It would be difficult to estimate the good done 
by the publication of notes on the Uniform Lessons 
in hundreds of secular papers, ranging from metro- 
politan dailies down to the small weekly county pa- 
per. The Christian message thus reaches many thou- 
sands not yet affiliated with any church or Sunday- 
school. 

Helps for the study of the Bible were demanded by 
the millions of persons using the common uniform 
lesson. Authors and publishers could anticipate the 
lessons a year or two in advance and prepare litera- 
ture that would meet the needs of both teachers and 
pupils. As a direct result, many volumes of Bible ex- 
position have been produced as aids to the Sunday- 
school teachers. 

The Uniform Lessons have promoted Bible reading 
in the home and the community. Some persons have 
been encouraged to maintain family worship by rea- 
son of the fact that well-chosen Bible readings for 
every day are provided in connection with the Uni- 

(46) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

form Lessons. Bible reading and Bible study have 
been greatly promoted in connection with the Uniform 
Lesson System. 

Expository preaching received great impetus when 
the Uniform Lessons were first put forth. Many pas- 
tors learned how to make expository sermons by rea- 
son of their experience in teaching the Uniform Les- 
sons to large Bible classes. Finding that their church 
members often received more help from the exposi- 
tion of the Sunday-school lesson than they did from 
the Sunday morning sermon, many pastors began to 
select passages of Scripture of greater length as the 
basis for their preaching. 

A common uniform lesson in use in all the Sunday- 
schools of a community gave an opportunity for Chris- 
tian teachers to come together for the study of the les- 
son for the week under the guidance of the most 
skilled teacher in the community. The progress of the 
Sunday-school movement, and the large place the 
Sunday-school now holds in the thought of church 
leaders, owe much to the long use of a common uni- 
form lesson by all the ages in all the Sunday-schools. 
The Uniform Lesson furnished the topic of conversa- 
tion and a point of common interest in the life of the 
community. 

The Future of the Uniform Lessons. 

While no man, apart from the divine inspiration, 
can safely predict the future, one may venture the 
opinion that for years to come Uniform Lessons will 
be widely used in American Sunday-schools. If we 
had in our Sunday-schools only ideal pupils and ideal 
teachers, working under ideal conditions, some other 
type of lesson might take the field; but with conditions 
as they are, the Uniform Lesson System bids fair to 
continue to make a large contribution to the spread 
of Christianity and the upbuilding of the kingdom of 
God. 



(47) 



CHAPTER III. 

Principles Governing the Selection of the Uniform 

Lessons. 

BY IRA M. PRICE. 

Member of the International Sunday School Lesson 

Committee, 1902-1928; Secretary of the Lesson 

Committee, 1908-1928. 

The project of Uniform Lessons was the first-born 
study plan of the International Sunday School Associ- 
ation, organized in 1872. Its first appearance and use 
began with 1873. It was adopted as the one set of 
lessons for all the members of the Sunday-school. Each 
lesson consisted of a title, a passage of about ten to 
twenty verses from the Bible, either from the Old or 
the New Testament, and a Golden Text for committal 
to memory usually emphasizing one of the main 
points of the lesson. This was the order for each of 
forty-eight lessons of the year, broken into four quar- 
ters of twelve lessons each, the thirteenth lesson of 
each quarter being a review of the twelve just studied. 

Lesson Courses Cover Bible by Cycles. 

The Lesson Committee, in order to cover the Bible 
within a reasonable period, at first adopted a cycle 
of seven years, during which lessons were selected 
from Genesis to Revelation, alternately from the Old 
Testament and the New Testament for periods of from 
three months to one year, and in the proportions of 
about three parts from the Old to five from the New 
Testament. These were not hard and fast rules but 
were the general principles on which selections were 
made from the two sections of the Bible. Another 
policy was adopted of not allowing a year to pass by 
without some study of the New Testament, and prefer- 
ably during the first quarter or half of any given year. 

(48) 



PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SELECTION OF 
THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Topical Adaptations to Different Age-groups. 

The reorganization of the Lesson Committee in 1914, 
the introduction of new courses of Graded Lessons, 
and the completion of the seventh cycle of lessons in 
1917, opened the door for new modifications. The 
new features inserted in the lessons for 1918 and 
thereafter gave to the Uniform course a new name 
which it still carries : " The Improved Uniform Les- 
sons." The improvements which appeared in the Uni- 
form series of that year were such as specialized 
progress in lesson construction seemed to demand. In 
the first place, rigorous uniformity of lesson material 
for the whole school was not everywhere required. 
In five cases in 1918 where it seemed necessary to pro- 
vide more satisfactory lessons for the primary depart- 
ment than those used in the whole school besides, de- 
parture from uniformity was introduced and sanc- 
tioned. Again, the outlines of the Improved Uniform 
series provided a list of " Additional Material for 
Teachers," quite outside the compass of the lesson of 
the week. 

Another entirely new departure of the Committee, 
designed especially to help the lesson writers, was the 
printing in the yearly outlines of (1) a Primary Topic, 
with designation of the Lesson Material, and a Mem- 
ory Verse; (2) a Junior Topic with a Memory Verse; 
(3) an Intermediate-Senior Topic; and (4) a Young 
People's and Adult Topic, sometimes with Additional 
Material for study. This was in general the character 
of the brand-new assistance, more or less fully de- 
tailed, set before the hard-working lesson-writers of 
that course of study. And it has prevailed from 1918 
down to the present time, except that Primary and 
Junior topics have been omitted for several years past, 
these being supplied by the various publishers who 
issue Uniform Lessons for the Primary and Junior 
departments. 

(51) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

The Length of the Lesson Texts. 

May we now look at some of the modifications that 
have been made in the length of the lessons in all 
these years. Originally the specified lessons embraced 
about ten to twenty verses a complete paragraph or 
event. In 1901 an editorial committee of lesson-writ- 
ers and publishers waited upon the Lesson Commit- 
tee and earnestly requested that body to cut the lesson 
assignments to as near twelve verses as possible, in 
order to fit the size of page of their lesson leaflets. 
While attempting to do that service the Committee 
soon found that such a restriction greatly handicapped 
its work, and that plan was abandoned. 

The desire of the Lesson Committee to select lessons 
with a specific story in full, or a connected line of 
thought to the end of a paragraph, gradually tempted 
it to stretch out the lesson assigned beyond the tradi- 
tional limits of earlier days. Publishers again pro- 
tested against the physical length of the lessons, and 
so persistently that the Committee devised another aid 
to help the cause. Out of a somewhat lengthy passage 
named as the lesson for the day the verses essential 
to the title of the lesson were specified as, "print 
verses so and so," that is, in the lesson helps; but it 
was understood that the whole passage would be stud- 
ied for that day's lesson. This method is followed to 
the present time. 

The " Hop, Skip, and Jump " Outcry. 

The most persistent cry against the old Uniform 
series of studying the Bible, was its so-called " hop, 
skip, and jump " method of going through the whole 
book in seven years. Of course, the defects of the 
scheme were instantly conceded, but it was countered 
in reply that seven years was all too short a time to 
take up and study in any other way in Sunday-school 
the sixty-six books of the whole Bible in 336 lessons. 
Again, there is far too much Bible narrative, taking 
only one lesson a week, to be covered in any six or 
seven years' studies. 

(52) 



PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SELECTION OF 
THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

The Lesson Committee very early tackled this prob- 
lem. As far back as 1882, instead of splitting up that 
year between the Old and New Testament it took up 
the Gospel of Mark and split it into forty-eight lessons, 
and the entire year was devoted to its rich contents. 
The year 1890 was devoted to the Gospel of Luke, and 
1897 to the Acts and the Epistles. In this very year 
1930, we find the entire Gospel of Matthew studied in 
the first six months, and in 1931 the Gospel of Luke 
is to be covered in the same period of time. Such 
book studies are a direct challenge to the best talent 
in the schools to get out of those books the choicest 
results of concentrated effort. The " hop, skip, and 
jump " outcry has now about died away in the dis- 
tance. 

The Use of Topical Courses. 

Let us not think that the adjustments of new courses 
of lessons already mentioned settled all the problems 
before the Lesson Committee, nor that the forty-eight 
Biblical lessons per year and the reviews satisfied the 
hungry workers. Appeals were made early in the 
'Nineties for a series of topical lessons, with Scrip- 
ture texts collected from various parts of the Bible. 
Beginning with 1893, the Lesson Committee has in- 
serted at intervals in almost every cycle a three or 
six months' course of topical studies. These have in- 
cluded such themes as " Old Testament Teachings " 
(1893); "Studies in the Christian Life" (1918); 
" Some Great Teachings of the Bible " (1919) ; " Social 
Teachings of the Bible " (1921) ; " Missionary Messages 
of the Bible " (1923) ; and similar themes. The topical 
courses give teachers and pupils a free-air range that 
tempts them to browse about in adjoining fields and to 
do some constructional thinking for themselves. The 
plan of introducing such topical lay-outs at profitable 
intervals is a fixed policy of the Committee. 

Introduction of Temperance Lessons. 
The next difficult and sometimes embarrassing situ- 
ation was a kind of serious attack on the fixity of the 

(53) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

forty-eight Biblical lessons per year for the school. 
Very early in the years of the Lesson Committee, in 
fact, in September, 1875, the first appeal came for a 
frequent presentation of temperance in the lesson 
scheme. This was really the opening gun of a bom- 
bardment which lasted fifteen years, indeed, until 
1890, when an armistice was declared and a treaty 
agreed upon between B. F. Jacobs of the Lesson Com- 
mittee and Miss Frances E. Willard of the W. C. T. U. 
on the floor of the International Sunday School Con- 
vention at Pittsburgh in that year. The outcome of 
the peace negotiations was an agreement practically 
binding the Lesson Committee henceforth to present 
at least four temperance lessons within each year. It 
was not specified that they should be given on any 
fixed Sundays nor be distributed exactly one in each 
quarter. But the lesson plan of each calendar year 
should carry four assignments whose interpretations 
with some latitude present temperance teachings. 
Although all the principal parties to the 1890 treaty 
have gone to their reward, the Lesson Committee still 
stands by the terms of that agreement. One of those 
lessons is now, as a result of a pact with the British 
Lessons Council, the so-called " World's Temperance 
Sunday," the last Sunday before our November elec- 
tion. 

The Easter and Christmas Lessons. 

The victory of the temperance "workers, widely her- 
alded over the land, encouraged other causes to make 
similar requests. The fact that the forty-eight yearly 
Biblical lessons were now cut down to forty-four seems 
never to have touched their consciences.. Among the 
first appeals was a request from those denominations 
who observe church days, to recognize in the lessons 
Easter and Christmas. This reasonable petition was 
granted by the preparation and issuance in 1892 and 
since, of optional lessons for Easter and Christmas in 
addition to the regular course, for the use of those 
religious bodies who desire to use them. In 1900, 
on request, another optional lesson was provided for 
Whitsuntide. 

(54) 



PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SELECTION OF 
THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Lessons for Other Special Days. 

The concession of the four temperance lessons, and 
optional lessons for three church days, opened the 
flood gates for special appeals from numerous good 
and worthy causes in all the realms of religious, so- 
cial, and philanthropic reforms. And some went so 
far as to ask not simply for one, but even for four 
special lessons in each year. Some of these requests 
were for lessons on patriotism, peace, international 
good-will, stewardship, tithes, foreign missions, home 
missions, mother's day, father's day, children's day, 
care of the aged, care of orphans, cruelty to animals, 
and scores of other objects which swept through the 
whole gamut of the philanthropies. 

The Lesson Committee was now driven to be the 
guardian of the study of the Bible in the Sunday- 
school as against an army of causes, generally worthy, 
which would soon have displaced and occupied all the 
remaining forty-four hours per year left for the study 
of the Bible. The Committee's predicament and posi- 
tion was presented to the appellants and, as a rule, 
was accepted with good grace. Concessions were 
made in the case of a few requests. If in the regular 
course of lessons selected for the year one was found 
that could be used, for example, to teach peace, the 
Committee agreed to insert after the title: " (may be 
used as a lesson on peace)." This plan did not reduce 
our full quota of lessons, and partially, at least, satis- 
fied the requests. 

How the Lesson Committee Works. 

In the earlier years of the Lesson Committee, few 
outside problems complicated the situation. But as 
the years went by and the tasks increased, the methods 
and principles of work had to be readjusted. For 
some years (and always two years before the lessons 
were needed), one, two, or three members were ap- 
pointed to make a preliminary survey, to block out 
the lessons for a given quarter, half, or whole year, 

(55) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

and to present the results to the full Committee as a 
definite and specific task. As soon as the Uniform Les- 
sons, the Graded Lessons, and Daily Bible Readings 
were in the offing, the Lesson Committee was split up 
into specific subcommittees whose duties were plain 
and clear. Now, in order to speed up the work, these 
subcommittees selected a man or men to lay out the 
lessons or assignments for a given period, and to 
present such plan to the subcommittee at its next 
meeting. Upon the reorganization of the International 
Lesson Committee in 1914, such detailed division of the 
members of the subcommittees, especially of the Uni- 
form Lessons Committee, was really the only method 
by which such large subcommittees could have pre- 
pared their assignment. When these results were laid 
before the full subcommittee, the draft was examined 
in every detail, passed upon by majority vote, and 
embodied in a formal report made at a later hour to a 
plenary meeting of the entire Lesson Committee. For 
the first thirty-five years of the Lesson Committee's 
work these reports received critical treatment by the 
whole Lesson Committee. But of late years, the stu- 
pendous amount of work on hand at every meeting, 
and the size and competence of the subcommittees, 
have rather left the perfecting of details to these sub- 
committees. 

Every lesson plan, after first approval by the plenary 
Committee, has been printed in proofs and distributed 
to Sunday-school workers, editors, and publishers who 
desired them, in this and foreign countries. Upon the 
return of the proofs with corrections and suggestions, 
the subcommittee again meets, and carefully goes over 
the entire year's scheme, perfects it, and receives final 
approval thereof by the full Lesson Committee. In 
short, these lessons first selected, worked out in detail, 
submitted to the public, are again worked over and 
approved by the entire Committee, before being of- 
fered for study in the Sunday-school. These princi- 
ples of lesson selection, increasingly efficient as the 
years go by, guarantee to the schools who use the re- 
sults, as best wisdom of a group of expert Sunday- 

(56) 



PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SELECTION OF 
THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

school workers both on the Lesson Committee and in 
practical Sunday-school teaching. 

The Home Daily Bible Readings. 

Since 1911 a special subcommittee of the Lesson 
Committee has selected the Home Daily Bible Read- 
ings. These may be regarded as a by-product of the 
Uniform Lessons. These readings, based on the lesson 
of the following Sunday, and selected from all parts of 
Holy Writ, are designed to be expositional, illumina- 
tive, and devotional. Their popularity and service has 
led to their adoption as a valuable series of Bible 
readings, not only in churches, but by societies, by in- 
dividuals, and by Sunday-school bodies in several for- 
eign countries. 

The Committee's Illustrious Chairman. 

This survey of the principles of selection of the 
Uniform Lessons would be defective without mention 
of the most complete embodiment of them in all the 
Sunday-school world. The oldest member of the Les- 
son Committee in point of service (from 1895) is Dr. 
John R. Sampey, a member of the special Uniform 
Lesson Committee from and ever since its first ap- 
pointment, and its chairman for more than twenty 
years. He has travelled all the stony, rough road 
through the complex and intricate problems of the 
last thirty-five years. His unruffled Christian charac- 
ter, his well-balanced tact and judgment, his compre- 
hensive knowledge of the Bible, have been the power 
behind the throne in preserving the spiritual essen- 
tials in the Uniform Lessons as studied in this advanc- 
ing age. 



(57) 



CHAPTER IV. 

The Uniform Lessons in the Light of Modern 
Educational Theory. 

BY DAVID R. PIPER. 

Bible-centered vs. Life-centered Lessons. 

The Uniform Lessons have been frequently criti- 
cized in the past few years as being Bible-centered 
lessons, as contrasted with the present-day theory that 
teaching should be life-centered. We have here, then, 
two supposedly conflicting pedagogical theories. These 
two types of teaching, however, ought not to be in con- 
flict, but should supplement each other. 

Life-centered teaching was supposedly taken over 
into religious education from the public school. But 
no school would attempt to make boys and girls good 
citizens, or. would expect them to face intelligently 
their present-day problems of citizenship, without 
teaching them the main facts of American history. 
Only so could they understand present-day American 
ideals and tendencies. No one would attempt to make 
an electrician out of a boy without teaching him what 
has already been discovered about electricity. The 
wisdom acquired in the past in any field of knowl- 
edge must be mastered by the pupil as a background 
for further progress. On the other hand, the school 
must not stop there. It must show the pupils how to 
use and apply their knowledge. 

We Must Teach Both the Bible and Life. 

This is all the more true in religion, because in our 
textbook, the Bible, we have the inspired record of 
God's past revelations to the human race. This record 
culminates in the life story of Jesus, the world's Sav- 
ior. Religious education, if it is to be Christian, must 
achieve two great aims: It must teach the Bible, so 

(58) 



UNIFORM LESSONS IN THE LIGHT OF 
MODERN EDUCATIONAL THEORY. 

that pupils will re-discover the inspired teachings of 
the Word of God; and it must help the pupils to grow 
spiritually and to become wholehearted, consistent fol- 
lowers of Jesus, capable of living a life of the greatest 
possible Christian usefulness. 

We do not believe, therefore, that Sunday-school les- 
sons should be made either completely life-centered or 
completely Bible-centered; but that both these ele- 
ments should enter equally into religious training and 
that they should be carried along side by side. The 
Bible should be taught with direct reference to life. 
The life and conduct of the pupil should be developed 
in harmony with Bible teaching. Unless these two 
great factors in religious training are interwoven we 
shall fall far short of our duty. 

The Bible and Life Are at the Heart of Every Uniform 

Lesson. 

We believe that the Uniform Series of lessons lends 
itself better than any other International series to both 
these aims. In the first place, every single lesson is 
based upon a Bible passage, which is not true of some 
of the Graded Lesson Series. The use of a Bible text 
in a great many individual lessons of the Graded Series 
is optional with the publisher, and the present tend- 
ency, in some of the Graded Lesson series, is to base 
more and more lessons upon non-Biblical material, 
using the Bible merely as a reference book. This meth- 
od in itself tends to give the impression that the Bible 
is not authoritative at least not any more authorita- 
tive than some other sources of lesson material. If the 
Bible is to have the unique place in the pupil's think- 
ing which it ought to have, and if we are to be certain 
of giving Bible teaching its proper place, we should 
have a Bible passage as the basis for every lesson. 
To leave the Bible out, or give it a place subordinate 
to other lesson material even in twenty per cent of 
the lessons, is to fall short, by at least twenty per cent, 
in our duty of transmitting to our boys and girls the 
revelation that has been handed down to vn. 

(59) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

We must keep in mind, too, that the pupil's life is 
not simply intellectual, social, physical; every boy and 
girl has a spiritual life. Running through all of his 
other activities are his spiritual attitudes, his spir- 
itual faith, his moral habits built upon that faith. There- 
fore any lesson material which develops the spiritual 
life of the pupil is certainly " life-centered " in as 
good a sense of the word as if it were helping him 
solve his more external problems of conduct. This 
fact seems to be largely overlooked in much of the 
talk about life-centered teaching. 

It is clear then that where the Uniform Lessons are 
used, the Bible teaching can be given its proper em- 
phasis every Sunday in every lesson; it is also true 
that these lessons can be applied to the life needs of 
pupils of all ages. 

As indicated by Dr. Ira M. Price, in Chapter 3 of 
this book, the Uniform Lessons have always aimed at 
covering all the principal teachings of the Bible every 
seven years or oftener. Bible passages are selected 
with this end in view, and since every lesson has a 
printed Bible text, this conserves one of the two great 
aims of religious education that of transmitting the 
Word of God from generation to generation. It then 
remains for the lesson helps and all lesson materials 
to be so prepared that the class members, with the 
aid of the teacher, can apply the Bible teachings to 
the needs of their lives. The newer lesson material 
now furnished on the Uniform Lessons is prepared in 
this manner, making special application of the Bible 
teaching to the questions, problems, and experiences 
of the pupils at each age-period of life. 

After all, if our lessons are to minister to the life 
needs of the pupils and at the same time are to faith- 
fully transmit to them the teachings of the Bible, the 
place to begin in achieving these two aims is with the 
selection of Bible texts. For then we can prepare our 
approach to these Bible texts through the life experi- 
ence of the pupil. But if we try to build a course of 
study primarily on the varied interests of the pupil, 

.(60) 



THE UNIFORM LESSONS IN THE LIGHT OF 
MODERN EDUCATIONAL THEORY. 

it will necessarily be a fragmentary affair, and there 
can be no guarantee that we can weave into such a 
course of lessons all the vital elements of the Bible 
revelation. 

Uniform Lessons Have Group-graded Treatment. 

With this method of taking the great teachings 'of 
the Bible as a basis for a series of lessons, and then 
applying these teachings to the needs of the growing 
pupil and to the special experiences and life situa- 
tions which he faces at each period in his growth, 
what we really have is a graded lesson treatment. 
This is not a closely graded treatment, to be sure; that 
is, we do not attempt, as the Closely Graded Lessons 
do, to find particular tendencies, interests, and life 
problems for each year of the child's life. In fact, 
we do not believe that any such sharply marked dif- 
ference occurs between six-year-olds and seven-year- 
olds, or between twelve-year-olds and thirteen-year- 
olds, as to require entirely different lesson treatment. 
We recognize that growth goes forward by periods. 
This is both a physiological and a psychological fact. 
There are periods of rapid physical growth followed 
by periods of predominant mental development dur- 
ing which the physical body does not enlarge much 
in size. These alternating periods are well recognized 
in physiology, and they form the basis for age-group- 
ings in our Sunday-schools, according to departments. 
In the earlier years growth takes place in approxi- 
mately three-year cycles. All of the best helps on the 
Uniform Lessons, therefore, give a graded treatment 
according to age-groups Primary (6 to 8), Junior 
(9 to 11), Intermediate (12 to 14), Senior (15 to 17), 
Young People (18 to 24), and finally Adults. The 
Intermediate and Senior lesson material is often the 
same, because here we have a longer period of time 
in which certain marked processes are taking place in 
growth, but no marked changes are completed. 

Now if we consider what has been said above, we 

(61) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

shall see how these pedagogical advantages of the 
Uniform Lessons combine to give them an exceeding- 
ly strong position. They conserve the place of the 
Bible and keep Bible teaching in the forefront in 
every Sunday's lesson. Then, grading our lesson ma- 
terial so as to make special applications to the experi- 
ences and life situations of the pupils in our various 
departments or age-groups, we teach the Bible so 
that it meets the needs of growing life at every period. 



Uniform Lessons Teach Whole Bible During Every 
Major Period of Life. 

In addition, we cover the main teachings of the Bi- 
ble every seven years or less. This means that prac- 
tically all the teachings of the Bible are taught to the 
growing child, first, with reference to his childhood 
needs. Then again they are taught with reference to 
his needs as a developing boy or girl in the adolescent 
period of life. Again he receives all the great messages 
of the Bible in their special relation to the problems, 
opportunities, and life decisions of young manhood 
and womanhood. And, finally, the Bible is again 
brought before him as an adult, and its teachings con- 
sidered with relation to the Christianizing of social, 
economic, and business life, as well as to the question 
of consistent, personal Christian living. 

Some have objected to this repetition of Bible teach- 
ing every few years, and have- claimed that it is better 
to grade Bible teaching more closely, selecting only 
certain parts for each age-period and spreading them 
out over a period of seventeen years or more. But if 
the Bible is the Book of Life, if it contains the life 
story of the Son of God, if the Christian religion is 
based upon the revelation of the Holy Scriptures and 
upon the life and work of Christ as there revealed; 
then certainly all of the great teachings of religion 
are needed at every period of growth and change. It 
is a very strong point in favor of the Uniform Lessons 
that we do go through the Bible and consider all its 
principal teachings every seven years or less. 

(62) 



THE UNIFORM LESSONS IN THE LIGHT OF 
MODERN EDUCATIONAL THEORY. 

Concerning Difficult Passages. 

Before closing this chapter we need to say a word 
about the claim that some of the Uniform Lesson texts 
are very difficult to teach young children. This is a 
fact which we readily admit; yet it all depends on 
how one attempts to teach the passage. Even some 
of those passages which are generally regarded as quite 
simple for the teaching of little children are in reality 
among the most difficult passages in the Bible. For 
instance, the greatest Bible scholars have argued and 
explained and disputed over the meaning of the first 
chapter of Genesis, and there are questions concern- 
ing this chapter on which rival schools of theologians 
will differ for years to come. Yet a six-year-old child 
can understand its essential spiritual meaning. In real- 
ity what the teacher of Graded Lessons does is to adapt 
this passage by selecting from it only those things 
which the child can readily understand, and teaching 
it in such a way that he can readily understand it. 
That is precisely what is done with every Uniform 
Lesson. 

When the Graded Lessons were first issued, and for 
several years thereafter, there was a great deal of ham- 
mering at this point. We were told that it was un- 
pedagogical all wrong to use any of the more diffi- 
cult Bible passages in the teaching of children. But 
the new Graded Lessons for children, as thus far is- 
sued, are making use of some of the more difficult 
Bible passages as referenceVmaterial. And this intro- 
duction of difficult passages is now being defended 
by some Graded Lesson advocates. For example, 
Jonathan B. Hawk, writing in The Elementary Maga- 
zine, February 1929 (page 53), says: "Teachers of 
children need to spurn the unpedagogical idea that 
children can learn only simple Bible narratives. The 
great truths of the Scriptures, the deep principles of 
Christian conduct, should be so tied up with the 
child's activities, the projects in which he will share, 

(63) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

the extra-Biblical stories "which he hears, that he will 
come to know them as problems of his daily life." 

If this principle applies to the more difficult passages 
now being used as reference material in the Graded 
Lessons, it certainly applies equally well to the more 
difficult passages chosen for use in the Uniform Les- 
sons. In other words, the use of a difficult Bible pas- 
sage is not unpedagogical, if by right methods of 
teaching we can apply it to the needs of the pupil. 



(64) 



CHAPTER V. 

Practical Advantages of the Uniform Lessons. 

BY DAVID R. PIPER. 

We have shown that the Uniform Lessons, when 
used with the right type of lesson helps, have many 
pedagogical advantages, both for the faithful teaching 
of the Bible and the faithful development of Christian 
character and conduct. In addition there are many 
practical considerations in their favor, which go far 
to account for their present popularity. 

Uniform Lessons Best Adapted to Small Schools. 

In the first place, it is generally recognized that no 
matter what the virtues of the Closely Graded Lessons 
may be, it is quite difficult to use them successfully 
in the small and average-size Sunday-schools; and the 
vast majority of Sunday-schools in the United States 
and Canada are schools of less than one hundred mem- 
bers. This is not said in criticism, but as a statement 
of a fact, acknowledged even by those who advocate 
Graded Lessons. For example, in a pamphlet entitled, 
"Lesson Courses for Sunday-schools," published by 
the General Sunday-school Board of the M. E. Church, 
South, in December, 1929, this statement appeared on 
page 11: 

A large majority of the Sunday-schools in our 
denomination are comparatively small, having an 
average enrollment of less than one hundred. 
Such schools do not have enough pupils to justify 
classes graded by single years. . . . When the 
Closely Graded Lessons were issued, many of the 
smaller schools tried to use them. However, these 
courses called for such a multiplicity of classes 
and such a large number of teachers that they 
were found largely unsuited for use in the small 
school. 

(65) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

As indicated in this same pamphlet, this particular 
difficulty of the number of classes may be met by the 
use of either the Uniform Lessons or the Group Graded 
Lessons; although the latter are not as yet issued for 
all departments of the Sunday-school. 



The Teacher Problem Solved. 

However, just as in the Closely Graded Lessons 
one must have seventeen or more different classes, all 
studying different lessons; so with the Group Graded 
Lessons (when they have been completed for all age- 
groups) one must have at least six different lessons be- 
ing taught in the school at the same time. This creates, 
though to a somewhat lesser degree, the same difficul- 
ties in regard to teachers which one meets in trying to 
use the Closely Graded Lessons. Each teacher must 
use a different set of lessons, since the lessons are dif- 
ferent for each age-group. There are few teachers 
who are not sometimes absent from their classes. If 
the Closely Graded Lessons are used there must not 
only be at least seventeen teachers using seventeen 
different sets of lessons, but each teacher must have an 
assistant teacher, who will be familiar with the par- 
ticular course being taught and be ready to step in as 
a substitute when the regular teacher is absent. Sim- 
ilarly, when the Group Graded Lessons are used, for 
every teacher there must be a substitute teacher, pre- 
pared to teach that particular set of lessons. 

This practical difficulty is not so likely to be felt in 
a large school where there are plenty of workers avail- 
able; but there are few small schools that can provide 
teachers and substitute teachers enough to properly 
man their classes; certainly for the use of the Closely 
Graded Lessons. This difficulty is overcome by the 
use of the Uniform Lessons, since all classes are 
studying the same lesson text each Sunday, the mate- 
rial being adapted by special lesson helps and teach- 
ing methods to the needs of the various classes. Thus 
it is possible to secure substitute teachers from among 
the classes of older young people and adults. 

(66) 



PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIFORM 

LESSONS. 

Uniform Lessons Promote Family Religion. 

While speaking of the family in its relation to re- 
ligious education, it may be well to emphasize here 
another point, which is that the Uniform Lessons have 
made possible in the past a high degree of family co- 
operation with the Sunday-school and of family unity 
in religious training. The use of the one lesson text 
makes it possible for all the members of the family to 
read the Bible lesson together and to discuss together 
its meanings for the family group as a whole, as well 
as for each member in the family individually. Not 
only so, but the Home Daily Bible Readings, provided 
in connection with the Uniform Lessons, have been a 
very vital factor in family religion. Pastors and edu- 
cators are waking up today to tlie fact that the Sun- 
day-school and church must do all within their power 
to preserve the family as a religious institution, and to 
increase the interest of the family as such in the re- 
ligious life. There can be no question that all the 
secular influences of modern life tend to take the vari- 
ous members of the family apart from each other, to 
develop strong interests outside the group, and so 
weaken family ties. The religious tie in family life 
is the most vital of all ties. It must be preserved at 
all cost; hence, the fact that the Uniform Lessons 
enable the Sunday-school to minister to the needs of 
family religion in a way that is possible by no other 
lesson system, is a strong point in favor of their use. 

Uniform Lessons Suit Needs of the Masses. 

In an article in the International Journal for Janu- 
ary, 1930 (page 15), Dr. Benjamin S. Winchester made 
some remarks about adults who use the Uniform Les- 
sons, which it may be well for us to consider here, 
since they lead us to another point in favor, of these 
lessons. He said that " there is a hint of standardiza- 
tion conveyed by the adjective uniform," and that the 
Uniform Lessons would seem to appeal chiefly to the 
kind of person who depends upon patent medicines 
and who wears ready-made clothing. * 

(67) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Apparently Dr. Winchester was trying to be slightly 
ironical. But we accept the irony because it stands for 
a practical consideration of the first importance. To 
be sure, very few people depend entirely upon patent 
medicines to cure all their illnesses; and, similarly, 
nobody depends entirely upon the Uniform Lessons 
for all of his religion. But probably ninety-five per 
cent of the people of the United States do make some 
use of high-grade standardized proprietary medicines. 
The doctors themselves nowadays use standardized 
products (proprietary medicines), to a large extent, 
instead of making up their own medicines as the old 
family doctors formerly did. The very fact that a good 
proprietary medicine is standardized constitutes the 
strongest reason for using it. The physician knows 
that the exact proportion of the various drugs is main- 
tained in the proprietary medicine, and that they are 
more dependable than those he might mix himself, 
without the accurate facilities of a large laboratory. 
And this is one essential reason, and a very good one, 
why the great majority of people find the Uniform Les- 
sons satisfactory in contrast to special elective courses 
of various kinds for adults, and comparatively new 
and untried lesson courses for younger pupils, the ma- 
terial for which is still undergoing change and experi- 
mentation. 

As for ready-made clothing, this is but a further il- 
lustration of the same principle. To be sure, there are 
some people who are physically so constructed that 
they cannot wear ready-made clothes. Likewise there 
are doubtless some people who are so unusual in their 
religious and spiritual lives that they need special at- 
tention. The Uniform Lessons, taking as they do the 
great truths of the Bible and faithfully presenting them 
from week to week, might not satisfy these people. 
There is undoubtedly justification in a good many 
Sunday-schools for special classes for certain groups 
which have specialized interests or needs. But the 
Uniform Lessons still remain the standard for the ma- 
jority, just because they do suit the requirements of 

(68) 



PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIFORM 

LESSONS. 

the majority for a downright study and application of 
the Word of God to the needs of the personal religious 
life. 

In a Time of Experimentation, Uniform Lessons Are 

Safest. 

It is right that the mass of Sunday-school workers 
should have a natural conservatism about adopting 
new courses of lessons. They feel that the welfare of 
the pupils in their care demands that they should be, 
if necessary, a little behind the times, rather than jump 
too quickly into new material that may prove not to 
give the best spiritual and moral results. Experiments 
in new lesson courses are desirable for achieving cer- 
tain special purposes. Experiment, however, not only 
takes time, but new courses must be tested out over a 
period of years before anyone, however expert, can 
state with certainty what their flaws and good points 
may be. As most readers know, at the time this is 
being written and published (1930) the Closely Graded 
Lessons are undergoing a thorough rewriting. This is 
still in process, although some of the courses for chil- 
dren are now finished and off the press. These new 
lessons are still in the experimental stage. The ques- 
tion naturally arises why the Graded Lessons should 
need to be completely rewritten. We do not feel that 
we should attempt to answer this question ourselves; 
but it may be well here to quote from a frank and 
cautiously written article by Hazel A. Lewis, well- 
known Graded Lesson expert. This article appeared 
in The Front Rank for July 28, 1929 (page 585) under 
the title, " What Is Back of the New Graded .Lesson 
Courses?" Miss Lewis stated that " during the twen- 
ty years that the International Graded Lessons have 
been in use, the materials for teachers and pupils have 
been rewritten at least twice and have had frequent 
revision . . . But there comes a time when revision 
is not sufficient and it is necessary to face the question 
of changing the entire plan or outline." 

(69) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Uniform Lessons Have Met the Test of Time. 

It may be true that the Uniform Lesson texts se- 
lected are sometimes very difficult for certain age- 
groups, but over against this we have the fact that the 
Bible is at the heart of every Uniform Lesson; that 
all the great teachings of the Bible are presented 
through the Uniform Lessons to our pupils every seven 
years or oftener; and, above all, that the Uniform 
Lessons, through a long period of testing, have helped 
to produce some of the finest generations of Christian 
young people that the world has ever known. It was 
in the decade following the introduction of the Uni- 
form Lessons into the Sunday-schools of America that 
the Christian Endeavor Movement was launched, and 
in its wake many other world-wide movements of 
Christian young people sprang up. It was the Uniform 
Lesson System, with its quarterly temperance lessons 
and its faithful teaching of the Word of God Sunday 
after Sunday that produced the generation of Chris- 
tian young people of America, who later brought about 
the national prohibition of the liquor traffic. Home 
and foreign missions enjoyed their greatest expansion 
during the period when the Uniform Lessons were 
alone in the field. The Bible classes of America, study- 
ing the Uniform Lessons, have added tremendously to 
the power of the Christian church, and out of the 
men's Bible classes have grown the men's brotherhood 
movements and the " men and religion " movements 
of the past few decades. 

Uniform Lessons Bring the Bible to the Unchurched. 

Finally, it is possible by means of the Uniform Les- 
sons to keep the Bible and its teachings as a live issue 
before the great masses of the American people, 
churched and unchurched. For years the majority of 
newspapers in our smaller towns and cities, and in 
some of our large metropolitan centers, have published 
weekly expositions on the Uniform Sunday-school Les- 
sons. Our weekly church papers, almost without ex- 
ception, treat the Uniform Lessons, as do many other 

(70) 



PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIFORM 

LESSONS. 

weekly and monthly journals. By this means Bible 
reading and Bible study have been brought to the un- 
churched masses, and given a great impetus even 
among church people. No one can begin to compute 
the numbers of people who have been led to thought- 
ful consideration of the religious life and to definite 
acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Saviour through 
this widespread, popular use of the Uniform Lessons. 

This has also acted as an undergirding for all the 
work in the consciousness of the vast majority of the 
American people. The fact that editors of great pa- 
pers give serious consideration to the Uniform Sun- 
day-school Lessons has created an atmosphere of 
popular opinion favorable to the Sunday-school. All 
this has made it easier for the Sunday-schools to re- 
cruit new members, to enlist active workers, to keep 
up the morale of their workers, and in general to carry 
on successfully. 

If the time should ever come when the majority of 
Sunday-schools should cease using the Uniform Les- 
sons in most of their classes and departments, the 
newspapers and magazines would necessarily cease 
giving attention to the Uniform Lessons, because they 
would no longer have " news value." It would be im- 
possible for newspapers and periodicals to publish 
expositions of Bible passages on any other Interna- 
tional Series of lessons, since the only other Interna- 
tional Series are either Closely Graded or Group 
Graded and therefore lesson comments would have to 
be furnished on a great variety of lesson texts each 
week, if on any at all. Many thoughtful people see 
in this fact alone a practical reason why Sunday- 
schools should stand by the Uniform Lessons and con- 
tinue using them. 

A Word in Conclusion. 

There is no perfect lesson system. There never will 
be. It is a great deal like planning a house. One can- 
not have everything. Make the best plans you will 

(71) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Apparently Dr. Winchester was trying to be slightly 
ironical. But we accept the irony because it stands for 
a practical consideration of the first importance. To 
be sure, very few people depend entirely upon patent 
medicines to cure all their illnesses; and, similarly, 
nobody depends entirely upon the Uniform Lessons 
for all of his religion. But probably ninety-five per 
cent of the people of the United States do make some 
use of high-grade standardized proprietary medicines. 
The doctors themselves nowadays use standardized 
products (proprietary medicines), to a large extent, 
instead of making up their own medicines as the old 
family doctors formerly did. The very fact that a good 
proprietary medicine is standardized constitutes the 
strongest reason for using it. The physician knows 
that the exact proportion of the various drugs is main- 
tained in the proprietary medicine, and that they are 
more dependable than those he might mix himself, 
without the accurate facilities of a large laboratory. 
And this is one essential reason, and a very good one, 
why the great majority of people find the Uniform Les- 
sons satisfactory in contrast to special elective courses 
of various kinds for adults, and comparatively new 
and untried lesson courses for younger pupils, the ma- 
terial for which is still undergoing change and experi- 
mentation. 

As for ready-made clothing, this is but a further il- 
lustration of the same principle. To be sure, there are 
some people who are physically so constructed that 
they cannot wear ready-made clothes. Likewise there 
are doubtless some people who are so unusual in their 
religious and spiritual lives that they need special at- 
tention. The Uniform Lessons, taking as they do the 
great truths of the Bible and faithfully presenting them 
from week to week, might not satisfy these people. 
There is undoubtedly justification in a good many 
Sunday-schools for special classes for certain groups 
which have specialized interests or needs. But the 
Uniform Lessons still remain the standard for the ma- 
jority, just because they do suit the requirements of 

(68) 



PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIFORM 

LESSONS. 

the majority for a downright study and application of 
the Word of God to the needs of the personal religious 
life. 

In a Time of Experimentation, Uniform Lessons Are 

Safest. 

It is right that the mass of Sunday-school workers 
should have a natural conservatism about adopting 
new courses of lessons. They feel that the welfare of 
the pupils in their care demands that they should be, 
if necessary, a little behind the times, rather than jump 
too quickly into new material that may prove not to 
give the best spiritual and moral results. Experiments 
in new lesson courses are desirable for achieving cer- 
tain special purposes. Experiment, however, not only 
takes time, but new courses must be tested out over a 
period of years before anyone, however expert, can 
state with certainty what their flaws and good points 
may be. As most readers know, at the time this is 
being written and published (1930) the Closely Graded 
Lessons are undergoing a thorough rewriting. This is 
still in process, although some of the courses for chil- 
dren are now finished and off the press. These new 
lessons are still in the experimental stage. The ques- 
tion naturally arises why the Graded Lessons should 
need to be completely rewritten. We do not feel that 
we should attempt to answer this question ourselves; 
but it may be well here to quote from a frank and 
cautiously written article by Hazel A. Lewis, well- 
known Graded Lesson expert. This article appeared 
in The Front Rank for July 28, 1929 (page 585) under 
the title, " What Is Back of the New Graded .Lesson 
Courses?" Miss Lewis stated that " during the twen- 
ty years that the International Graded Lessons have 
been in use, the materials for teachers and pupils have 
been rewritten at least twice and have had frequent 
revision . . . But there comes a time when revision 
is not sufficient and it is necessary to face the question 
of changing the entire plan or outline." 

(69) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

Uniform Lessons Have Met the Test of Time. 

It may be true that the Uniform Lesson texts se- 
lected are sometimes very difficult for certain age- 
groups, but over against this we have the fact that the 
Bible is at the heart of every Uniform Lesson; that 
all the great teachings of the Bible are presented 
through the Uniform Lessons to our pupils every seven 
years or oftener; and, above all, that the Uniform 
Lessons, through a long period of testing, have helped 
to produce some of the finest generations of Christian 
young people that the world has ever known. It was 
in the decade following the introduction of the Uni- 
form Lessons into the Sunday-schools of America that 
the Christian Endeavor Movement was launched, and 
in its wake many other world-wide movements of 
Christian young people sprang up. It was the Uniform 
Lesson System, with its quarterly temperance lessons 
and its faithful teaching of the Word of God Sunday 
after Sunday that produced the generation of Chris- 
tian young people of America, who later brought about 
the national prohibition of the liquor traffic. Home 
and foreign missions enjoyed their greatest expansion 
during the period when the Uniform Lessons were 
alone in the field. The Bible classes of America, study- 
ing the Uniform Lessons, have added tremendously to 
the power of the Christian church, and out of the 
men's Bible classes have grown the men's brotherhood 
movements and the " men and religion " movements 
of the past few decades. 

Uniform Lessons Bring the Bible to the Unchurched. 

Finally, it is possible by means of the Uniform Les- 
sons to keep the Bible and its teachings as a live issue 
before the great masses of the American people, 
churched and unchurched. For years the majority of 
newspapers in our smaller towns and cities, and in 
some of our large metropolitan centers, have published 
weekly expositions on the Uniform Sunday-school Les- 
sons. Our weekly church papers, almost without ex- 
ception, treat the Uniform Lessons, as do many other, 

(70) 



PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES OF THE UNIFORM 

LESSONS. 

weekly and monthly journals. By this means Bible 
reading and Bible study have been brought to the un- 
churched masses, and given a great impetus even 
among church people. No one can begin to compute 
the numbers of people who have been led to thought- 
ful consideration of the religious life and to definite 
acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Saviour through 
this widespread, popular use of the Uniform Lessons. 

This has also acted as an undergirding for all the 
work in the consciousness of the vast majority of the 
American people. The fact that editors of great pa- 
pers give serious consideration to the Uniform Sun- 
day-school Lessons has created an atmosphere of 
popular opinion favorable to the Sunday-school. All 
this has made it easier for the Sunday-schools to re- 
cruit new members, to enlist active workers, to keep 
up the morale of their workers, and in general to carry 
on successfully. 

If the time should ever come when the majority of 
Sunday-schools should cease using the Uniform Les- 
sons in most of their classes and departments, the 
newspapers and magazines would necessarily cease 
giving attention to the Uniform Lessons, because they 
would no longer have " news value." It would be im- 
possible for newspapers and periodicals to publish 
expositions of Bible passages on any other Interna- 
tional Series of lessons, since the only other Interna- 
tional Series are either Closely Graded or Group 
Graded and therefore lesson comments would have to 
be furnished on a great variety of lesson texts each 
week, if on any at all. Many thoughtful people see 
in this fact alone a practical reason why Sunday- 
schools should stand by the Uniform Lessons and con- 
tinue using them. 

A Word in Conclusion. 

There is no perfect lesson system. There never will 
be. It is a great deal like planning a house. One can- 
not have everything. Make the best plans you will 

(71) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

and there is something you would like to have in 
your house that you have had to leave out. In plan- 
ning a house, therefore, one selects the plan that will 
give him the greatest possible number of advantages 
and will make his house the most livable over a long 
period of years. Something similar applies to this 
matter of selecting lessons for the Sunday-school. No 
matter what decision one makes, there are some ad- 
vantages which must be given up and which one may 
find in other lesson systems. We believe that the Uni- 
form Lesson System offers the greatest number of 
practical and spiritual advantages; perhaps not for ev- 
ery Sunday-school, but for the majority of Sunday- 
schools, and that it has stood best the greatest and 
most trying tests. The majority of Sunday-school peo-r 
pie will therefore continue to use the Uniform Lessons 
for a long time to come. 



In speaking about the difficulty of using the present 
Graded Lessons in the average Sunday-school, Dr. 
Walter S. Athearn, one of the greatest authorities on 
religious education in America, says in The Lookout 
of November 17, 1929: 

" The small school is almost completely ignored. A 
completely graded lesson system unadopted to small 
schools is pushed upon the small school with a fervent 
exhortation to try a " cycle " adaptation of the " big" 
school system. The " cycle " system has failed because 
the basic principles of educational administration have 
been ignored. In curricula, in leadership, in super- 
vision and administration the small schools have been 
neglected. ~We are a people of small schools in small 
churches. So far as I have been able to learn, we 
are doing little or nothing to solve the educational 
problems peculiar to the schools in our churches." 



(72) 



CHAPTER VL 
The Lessons for 1931 and Future Years. 

BY DAVID R. PIPER. 

As indicated by Dr. Ira M. Price and Dr. John R. 
Sampey, in Chapters 2 and 3, the Uniform Lesson Sys- 
tem has not been static and unchanging. On the con- 
trary, it has been subject to constant study and criti- 
cism by the ablest Bible scholars, educational leaders, 
and practical Sunday-school workers. The result has 
been frequent, in fact, almost continuous, improve- 
ment in the work of the International Uniform Lesson 
Committee. This Committee officially represents forty- 
one cooperating denominations, and its work is un- 
officially accepted and used by practically all other 
protestant religious groups. 

It is the almost universal consensus of opinion that 
the present series of lessons are among the best ever 
issued. Here, for example, is a statement from the 
Reformed Church Messenger of December 26, 1929 
(page 5), which is typical of statements found in a 
great many Sunday-school journals and church peri- 
odicals : 

"Those who have studied the Uniform Lessons dur- 
ing the last few years must certainly have noted the 
tremendous improvement in the selection of material, 
as well as in the comprehensive and well-considered 
plans for the years ahead. . . . We are glad to take 
this opportunity to felicitate our Church Schools on 
the greatly improved character of the Uniform Sunday 
School Lessons, which continue to be studied by the 
great majority who attend our Church Schools. . . . 
This is not simply our own opinion, but it expresses 
the judgment of many leaders of our own and other 
communions." 

The present cycle of lessons closes with the year 
1931, and we shall reproduce at the conclusion of this 

(73) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

chapter a complete outline of lesson titles and texts for 
that year. This outline will show a distinctly evan- 
gelistic aim running through the entire year's lessons. 
These lessons challenge our Sunday-schools and 
churches everywhere to make the year 1931 a great 
Pentecostal year a year of unusual emphasis upon 
winning our pupils not only to a definite decision for 
Christ, but definitely to the Christian way of life. 

The recently enlarged Uniform Lesson Committee, 
still with its veteran chairman, Dr. John R. Sampey, 
at the helm, is now at work on the new five-year cycle 
of Improved Uniform Lessons, which will run 
through the years 1932-1936, inclusive. As projected, 
these lessons are quite generally regarded as mark- 
ing the highest peak yet reached in the selection of 
Uniform Lesson texts. 

Concerning the general plan and the titles of the 
series we cannot do better than to quote from the offi- 
cial statement of the Committee, as follows: 

The Committee has sought still further to improve 
the Uniform Lessons by providing occasional topical 
courses. These topical courses are designed in general 
to provide surveys of important Biblical truth and dis- 
cussions of important aspects of Christian living, gain- 
ing light from all parts of the Bible, and systematizing 
more carefully and thoroughly than is possible in a 
series exclusively chronological. 

The Improved Uniform Lessons for 1932-36 consti- 
tute a five-year cycle. Four important and interesting 
topical courses are offered: "Studies in the Christian 
Life," " Some Great Christian Teachings," " Christian 
Standards of Life," and " Some Representative Men 
and Women of the Bible." There are studies in each 
of the four Gospels : three months being given to John, 
six months to Mark, six months to Matthew, and six 
months to Luke. Besides, the course of three months 
on " The Life and Letters of Peter " furnishes a rapid 
survey of the Gospels. The Acts and the Epistles are 
studied three times, once in the three months on " The 
Life and Letters of Peter," once in the three months on 

(74) 



THE LESSONS FOR 1931 AND FUTURE YEARS. 

"The Life and Letters of Paul," and again in the six 
months on " The Spread of Christianity," which in- 
cludes the Revelation. It will be noted further that this 
cycle of studies is not allowed at any time to get far 
from the central theme of all our Bible study, the life 
of the world's Redeemer and its extension in the his- 
tory of the early church. The five-year cycle is as 
follows: 



January-March, 1932. 

April-June, 1932. 
July-September, 1932. 
October-December, 1932. 

January-June, 1933. 
July-September, 1933. 



October-December, 1933. 
January-June, 1934. 



July-September, 1934. 



October-December, 1934. 

January-March, 1935. 
April-June, 1935. 

July-September, 1935. 



October-December, 1935. 



January-June, 1936. 



The Message of the Gos- 
pel According to John. 

Messages from Genesis. 

The Era of Moses. 

Christian Standards of 
Life. 

The Gospel of the Son of 
God: Studies in Mark. 

Some Early Leaders of 
Israel : From Joshua 
to Solomon. 

Life and Letters of Paul. 

The Gospel of the 
Kingdom : Studies in 
Matthew. 

The Early Prophets and 
Kings of Israel: From 
Ahijah to Isaiah. 

Studies in the Christian 
Life. 

Life and Letters of Peter. 

Some Great Christian 
Teachings. 

Some Representative Men 
and Women of the 
Bible. 

Later Prophets and Lead- 
ers of Judah: From 
Isaiah to Malachi. 

Jesus, the World's Sav- 
iour: Studies in Luke. 



(75) 



THE STORY OF THE UNIFORM LESSONS. 

July-December, 1936. The Spread of Christian- 

ity: Studies in the 
Acts, the Epistles, and 
the Revelation. 

All present indications are that the Improved Uni- 
form Lessons will continue to be used in every Sunday- 
school now using them. Not only so, but the unusu- 
ally good selection of Uniform Lesson Courses for the 
coming years, and the widespread approval of them 
on the part of many leaders, will result in a return to 
the Uniform Lesson fold on the part of a considerable 
number of classes that have been experimenting with 
special courses of study. The next few years will be 
the best in Uniform Lesson history, we firmly believe. 
We also believe that the present decade will witness a 
marked revival of interest in the Sunday-school and in 
good old-fashioned Bible study with special reference 
to the needs of our present age. In this revival the 
Uniform Lessons are destined to play a larger part 
than any other single factor. We hope for the read- 
ers of this book a full and glorious share in the Chris- 
tian achievements of the Sunday-school during the 
years to come. 



APPENDIX. 

The International Sunday School Lessons Improved 
Uniform Series 1931. 

Issued by the International Sunday School Lesson 

Committee. 

First Quarter. 

Jesus the World's Savior. Studies in Luke. 

(First Half of a Six-months' Course.) 

AIM: A study of the life, teachings, and saving min- 
istry of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Luke, in 
order to inspire and guide the pupil to accept him, as 

(76) 



Saviour and Lord; to enter into increasing fellowship 
with him, to bear effective witness to his saving and 
transforming power; to follow his example and mani- 
fest his spirit in life and service. 

1. January 4. Title The Birth of John the Baptist. 

Lesson Luke 1. Print Luke 1: 8-17, 80. 

2. January 11. Title The Childhood of Jesus. 

Lesson Luke 2. PrintLuke 2 : 40-52. 

3. January 18. -Title The Ministry of John the 

Baptist. 
Lesson Luke 3. Print Luke 3: 7-17. 

4. January 25. Title Jesus Tempted. 

Lesson Luke 3: 21 4: 30. Print Luke 4: 
1-13. 

5. February 1. Title Jesus the Great Physician. 

Lesson Luke 4 : 31 5 : 39. Print Luke 4 : 
38-44; 5: 12-16. 

6. February 8. Title Jesus the World's Teacher. 

Lesson Luke 6. Print Luke 6: 27-42. 

7. February 15. Title Jesus the Friend of Sinners. 

Lesson Luke 7. Print Luke 7: 36-50. 

8. February 22. Title Jesus Bearing the Good 

Tidings. 
Lesson Luke 8. Print Luke 8: 1-15. 

9. March 1. Title Jesus Sending Forth Mission- 

aries. 

Lesson Luke 9: 1 10: 24. Print Luke 10: 
1-11, 17, 21, 22. 

10. March 8. Title The Good Samaritan. 

Lesson Luke 10: 25-37. Print Luke 10: 25-37. 

11. March 15. Title Jesus among Friends and Foes. 

Lesson Luke 10: 38 11: 54. Print Luke 10: 
38-42; 11: 42-46,52-54. 

12. March 22. Title The Use and Abuse of God's 

Gifts. (Temperance Lesson.) 
Lesson Luke 12. Print Luke 12: 16-21, 41-48. 

13. March 29. Title Review: Jesus the World's Sav- 

iour: Preparation and Popularity. 

Second Quarter. 

Jesus the World's Savior. Studies in Luke. 
(Second Half of a Six-months' Course.) 

1. April 5. Title Easter Lesson: The Resurrection. 

Lessen 1 Corinthians 15: 1-8, 50-58. Print 1 
Corinthians 15: 1-8, 50-58. 

2. April 12. Title The Prodigal Son. 

(77) 



Lesson Luke 15. Print Luke 15: 11-24. 

3. April 19. Title The Rich Man and Lazarus. 

Lesson Luke 16: 1 17: 37. Print Luke 16: 
19-31. 

4. April 26. Title How to Pray. 

Lesson Luke 18.. Print Luke 18: 1-14. 

5. May 3. Title Jesus in the Home of Zacchseus. 

Lesson Luke 19: 1-10. Print Luke 19: 1-10. 

6. May 10. Title The Parable of the Pounds. 

Lesson Luke 19: 11-26. Print Luke 19: 11-26. 

7. May 17. Title Jesus Enters Jerusalem as King. 

Lesson Luke 19: 2820: 47. Print Luke 19: 
29-42, 45-48. 

8. May 24. Title Jesus Preparing for the End. 

Lesson Luke 21: 122: 23. Print Luke 22: 
7-23. 

9. May 31. Title Jesus in Gethsemane. 

Lesson Luke 22: 24-71. Print Luke 22: 39-54. 

10. June 7. Title Jesus Crucified. 

Lesson Luke 23. Print Luke 23: 33-46. 

11. June Ib. Title The Resurrection and the Ascen- 

sion. 
Lesson Luke 24. Print Luke 24 : 25-40, 50, 51. 

12. June 21. Title The Sin of Causing Others to 

Stumble. (Temperance Lesson.) 
Lesson Romans 14: 13-23. Print Romans 14: 
13-^3. 

13. June 28. Title Review: Jesus the World's Sav- 

iour: Suffering and Sovereignty. 

Third Quarter. 

The Spread of Christianity. 
Studies in The Acts, The Epistles, and The Revelation. 

(First Half of a Six-months' Course.) 

AIM: To lead the pupil to an understanding of 
primitive Christianity, and to beget in him the desire 
and purpose to live the Christian life and to win others 
to faith in the Lord Jesus. 

1. July 5. Title The Gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Lesson Acts 1: 6-14; 2: 1-47. Print Acts 1: 
6-9; 2: 1-8. 

2. July 12. Title The Preaching of the Apostles. 

Lesson Acts 3 : 1 4 : 31 ; 1 Corinthians 1 : 
21-25. Print Acts 4: 1-14. 

3. July 19. Title Social Service in the JZarly 

Church. 

(78) 



Lesson Acts 4: 32-35; 6:1-7; 9: 36-39; 2 Corin- 
thians 9: 1-15. Print Acts 4: 32-35; 6: 1-4; 
2 Corinthians 9 : 1-7. 

4. July 26. Title Christianity Spread by Persecu- 

tion. 

Lesson Acts 7: 548: 4; 11: 19-21; 26: 9-11; 
1 Peter 4: 12-19. Print Acts 7: 598: 4; 11 : 
19-21. 

5. August 2. Title Philip's Missionary Labors. 

Lesson Acts 8 : 5-40. Print Acts 8 : 26-40. 

6. August 9. Title Saul Converted and Commis- 

sioned. 

Lesson Acts 9: 1-31; 22: 3-21; Galatians 1: 11- 
17; 1 Timothy 1: 12-17. Print Acts 9: 1-9, 
17-19; 1 Timothy 1: 12-14. 

7. August 16. Title Sowing and Reaping. (Tem- 

perance Lesson.) 

Lesson Galatians 6: 1-10. Print Galatians 6: 
1-10. 

8. August 23. Title A Gospel for All Men. 

Lesson Acts 10: 1 11: 18; 1 Corinthians 1: 
23-25. Print Acts 11 : 5-18. 

9. August 30. Title The Mission to Cyprus. 

Lesson Acts 12: 25 13: 12. Print Acts 12: 
2513:12. 

10. September 6. Title Turning to the Gentiles. 

Lesson Acts 13: 13-52; Romans 1: 14-16; 11: 
1-24. Print Acts 13: 42-52; Romans 1: 14-16. 

11. September 13. Title Some Missionary Experi- 

ences. 

Lesson Acts 14; Ephesians 6: 10-20. Print 
Acts 14: 8-23. 

12. September 20. Title The Council in Jerusalem. 

Lesson Acts 15: 1-35; Galatians 2. Print 
Acts 15: 22-29; Galatians 2: 1, 2, 9, 10. 

13. September 27. Title Review: The Spread of 

Christianity in Asia. 

Fourth Quarter. 

The Spread of Christianity. 
Studies in The Acts, The Epistles, and The Revelation. 

(Second Half of a Six-months' Course.) 

1. October 4. Title The Macedonian Call. 

Lesson Acts 15: 3616: 15; Romans 15: 18-21. 
Print Acts 16: 6-15; Romans 15: 18-21. 

2. October 11. Title Paul in Philippi. 

Lesson Acts 16: 16-40; Philippians 4: 4-9. 

(79) 



Print Acts 16: 22-34; Philippians 4: 4-7. 

3. October 18. Title Paul in Thessalonica and 

Berea. 

Lesson Acts 17: 1-15; 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-12. 
Print Acts 17: 1, 5-11; 1 Thessalonians 2: 
7-12. 

4. October 25. Title Paul in Corinth. 

Lesson Acts 18: 1-17; 1 Corinthians 13. Print 
Acts 18 : 1-11. 

5. November 1. Title World's Temperance Sun- 

day. 

Lesson Galatians 5: 13-26; Romans 13: 1-14. 
Print Galatians 5: 13-26. 

6. November 8. Title Paul in Ephesus. 

Lesson Acts 19; Ephesians 5: 5-11. Print 
Acts 19: 8-20. 

7. November 15. Title Paul in Jerusalem. 

Lesson Acts 21: 1723: 30. Print Acts 21 : 
27-39. 

8. November 22. Title Paul in Rome. 

Lesson Acts 25: 1-12; 28: 16-30. Print Acts 
28: 16-24, 30, 31. 

9. November 29. Title Paul's Letter to Philemon. 

Lesson Philemon. Print Philemon 4-20. 

10. December 6. Title Rome and Beyond. 

Lesson Romans 15: 22-29; 2 Timothy 4: 6-18; 
Titus 1: 5-16; 3: 11-14. Print 2 Timothy 4: 
6-18. 

11. December 13. Title John's Vision on Patmos. 

Lesson Revelation 1 : 1 3 : 22. Print Revela- 
tion 1: 4-18. 

12. December 20. Title The Supreme Gift of Love. 

(Christmas Lesson.) 
Lesson 1 John 4: 7-19. Print 1 John 4: 7-19. 

13. December 27. Title Review: The Spread of 

Christianity in Europe. 



(80) 




2- 8779 





48 444 173