Class 33: “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” / “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette” (Part 3)

Today, we are continuing our study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” and “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette.”

As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Victor Hugo. He said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:

Third, a truly educated man continues his education long after his years in high school and college. He learns until he dies. In the words of Quincy Jones: “He grows until he goes.”

Another mark of a truly educated man is that he is authentic. He is an original. He is for real. He is himself. He knows he does not have to be like anyone else. He is therefore original in his thinking, his speaking, and his writing. An educated man is normally very comfortable with himself as well as with others. One commentator uses this phrase: “He is comfortable in his own skin.” I like it.

Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.

Your education does not end when you graduate. You ought to always be in the process of learning and becoming better at what God has called you to do with your life. Proverbs 6 tells us that “instruction is the way of life.” A truly educated man realizes that he should still learn from God, the Bible, and others until the day he dies.

I left college with far more questions than answers. Education was never designed to give you all of the answers to life’s problems. Rather, its purpose is to help you know how to think critically, for yourself, and thus successfully tackle any question or issue that comes your way. Once equipped with these tools, learning no longer seems intimidating or dull. Instead, it becomes your passport to destinations and experiences you never would have dreamed possible.

The fourth mark of a truly educated young man is authenticity. Even the Bible has something to say about this trait that seems to be in vogue today.

Proverbs 21:3 says, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

The Lord is not pleased by the man who simply does what is necessary to just get by. The individual who presents one face at church and another when he is at work or school is clearly not living authentically. Rather than simply going through the religious motions (“sacrifice”), God desires hearts that long for justice and righteousness and hands that actually do something about it. If your actions do not match up with your words, you definitely need to question the authenticity of your lifestyle. God is not fooled or honored by hypocritical commitment to religious duty.

Revelation 3:16 says, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

The Lord wants you to decide who you are and to consistently live that way. Do not be wishy-washy or ashamed of the beliefs you hold. However you choose to live, do so wholeheartedly, or risk rejection by God Himself. He does not have time for dealing with the half-hearted.

Figure out who you are and what you stand for, and live accordingly. Do not claim to follow Christ among your peers at church, and then be too intimidated or ashamed to proclaim His name at work or school. Be authentic. Individuals who claim to be Christians but live for themselves actually bring more harm than good to the Kingdom of God. They cause the world to look upon believers as uncommitted, unserious, and unchanged human beings, and thus see no need to get on board. Friend, if you are not willing to boldly make a claim for Christ, please do not make any claim at all. The truly educated man is not ashamed or intimidated by the truth. Rather, he longs to invite this lost and hurting world into the arms of a healing, saving Lord.

Let’s Pray.


In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”

Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.