In the late 1800s, people in different places developed similar ministry resources at the same time. The first was in Montreal, Canada, in 1877. In 1898, another concept was launched in New York City. By 1922, some five thousand of these programs were active in North America each summer.
Thus began the early history of Vacation Bible School. The passion that fueled those VBS pioneers was a desire for young people to know the Bible.
Paul had a similar passion for his young protégé Timothy, writing that “Scripture is God-breathed” and equips us “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). But this wasn’t just the benign suggestion that “it’s good to read your Bible.” Paul’s admonition follows the dire warning that “there will be terrible times in the last days” (v. 1), with false teachers who are “never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (v. 7). It’s essential we protect ourselves with Scripture, for it immerses us in the knowledge of our Savior, making us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (v. 15).
Studying the Bible isn’t just for kids; it’s for adults too. And it isn’t just for summer; it’s for every day. Paul wrote to Timothy, “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (v. 15), but it’s never too late to begin. Whatever stage of life we’re in, the wisdom of the Bible connects us to Jesus. This is God’s VBS lesson to us all.