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How to be a more effective Bible teacher

Our churches need more Bible teachers. Here are tips for effective preparation.

Christianity is taught. No one comes from the womb as a Christian. No one inherits Christianity from a godly parent or a spiritual grandparent.

Each person must learn of God and believe that he sent his Son to live righteously and die — without sin — for the sins of all mankind.
The commitment to teach a Bible class requires work.
Despite the high importance of biblical instruction, most churches literally beg people to teach Bible classes — for infants, teens, adults.

Bailey McBride | OpinionThe commitment to teach is a commitment to help the church grow in knowledge and spirit — and a commitment to grow ourselves.

If you have read this space very long, you know that my wife Joyce taught children the Bible from the time she was 14. The last 46 years of her life she taught 4-year-olds the Bible on Sunday morning and Wednesday night.

Right now, however, I want to focus on teaching age groups from youths in high school to adults.

I am a firm believer that Christians should study the Bible regularly. Daily Bible reading is a great way to stay in touch with God, but it is not necessarily study. Studying to teach a Bible class means reading, investigating and praying for understanding.

Studying to teach, when done right, takes as much concentration as playing tennis.

The commitment to teach a Bible class requires work. Teaching material for the first time is especially demanding. In many churches, an experienced teacher or Bible student prepares study guides to facilitate the study and development of a lesson. Ideally, an experienced teacher should ask someone to assist with a class. The two working together can develop a strategy for study and presentation.

Preparing to teach a lesson on a text from the Bible means, for me, reading the text until I have almost memorized it. Then I commit — following a good friend’s advice — to study it four times. The first time, I read specifically to see what the passage tells me about God and what God has done — and what he is doing. The second time I study the passage (hopefully a day later), I look at what it teaches me to do or warns me not to do. With notes from the first two readings, I begin to pray that God will help me know what the passage means for me and the people I study with.

The third time I study the passage, I try to see any ideas I have missed in my first studies.
Effective teaching helps spiritual growth.
I get all the notes from my first reading together and work them into an understandable form. Then I study the passage a fourth time, seeking what parts will need fuller explanation, what ideas are most important and how the teaching should change the class’ thinking or action. Usually, this fourth study yields an outline for the class.

This preparation method sounds tedious — and it is — but it always helps me move beyond first impressions and deeper into the Word.

Teaching a biblical topic usually requires more time and effort than discussing a particular passage. I also think it requires more discipline. I have some history with biblical topics; I can talk about many. The challenge for me is to discipline myself to reexamine the topic — studying all the Bible teaches about the topic. I always spend some library time finding books on the topic.

I know the Bible warns that teachers are responsible for what they teach and its effect on others.

Teaching is a big responsibility, but it has its rewards. The teacher always learns more about God and his truth than anyone else. The teacher invariably build relationships with people in the class. As groups study together they grow closer and they grow closer to God.

Effective teaching helps spiritual growth. When we learn we develop an appetite for learning more.

Contact: [email protected]

Filed under: In the Word Insight Insight News Extras

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