Friday, June 11, 2010

110 years ago....The First Classes of PBTS

The location of the first classes of PBTS

A picture of one of the first classes of PBTS (most likely not on Main and Arch)

It was 110 years ago that the first classes of Practical Bible Training School were held. Only months after receiving the dollar bill from Mrs. L.A. Crossan, John A. Davis held the first classes of PBTS over a store on the corner of Main Street and Arch Street in the city of Lestershire (Johnson City), NY. One of the first students was Harvey H. Wagner. Attending the first PBTS class sessions that summer, he studied in the classes of 1901 and 1902 and graduated with a perfect score [100 in all of his tests] in 1903.

From the 1934 Theologue about first classes of PBTS:

Between eighty and ninety people came to this first class. They all were believers, more or less interested in learning how better to study the Bible. The class was called together by Mr. Davis. After brief introductory remarks, he gave the first lecture. The succeeding sessions were carried on in much the same general way. Mr. Davis was the only teacher for the term. The attendance grew, until there were about one hundred and twenty students in the class.

The subjects taught were those in which Mr. Davis was a master, namely, “How to use the Bible”; “Personal Work”; and some introductory studies in Doctrine.

That summer some evenings were cool and pleasant while others were hot and sultry. However, the attendance never dropped nor did the interest flag throughout the whole period. God had need for a school and He inspired Mr. Davis to make this start; and He took care of the interest and the attendance and gave Mr. Davis students to work with from the very beginning. Mr. Davis’ teaching was so inspirational, so absorbing in every detail, that it mattered not whether the evening was sultry or pleasant; the students were attentive to the utmost degree, intensely interested in catching the words of life and power, coming from God’s servant.

During the closing weeks of that first term the class permanently organized and the feeling became general that the work must not be allowed to drop, but that a permanent school building should be obtained and a Bible school established which would give instruction for both day and evening students throughout the year.

It was from these first classes that the school grew to what it is today.


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