Most people reading this post will not be in the position of senior pastor in your church. That’s fine. Senior pastors are not the only ones who have the role of teaching God’s Word. In fact, most Christians will find themselves teaching the Bible at some point in their life, whether it is behind a pulpit or at the dinner table.
Teaching God’s Word is a privilege. As with all privileges, it should be handled wisely.
So how to we make sure that the Word of God is taught in the most effective manner? Well, there are probably lots of points that we could consider, but I will focus on only three. These are:
1. It is Gospel centered.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All of Scripture is the story of God’s redemptive plan. We should keep this as the central focus of all of our Bible teaching. It is the Gospel, and redemption that bring clarity and relevance to the specific stories found in Scripture.
We won’t have to try too hard to make application if we keep our teaching Gospel centered.
2. It brings clarity.
Nehemiah 8:5-8 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
The teaching of God’s Word should always be done in a clear and understandable way. Whether you are teaching a Sunday morning congregation, or your children around the dinner table, the Word of God must be made clear.
I once met a man who said that all this witnessing and talking was wasted, since God’s Word is the thing that is powerful. He claimed that no greater benefit could be achieved than if we simply went into a coffee shop, or some such crowded area and simply read the Bible out loud, without any need to explain it.
This was very pious sounding, but it was not a Biblical viewpoint. God’s Word should be read, but it also should be explained by those able and in a position to do so.
Acts 8:30-31 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
You see, the natural man (unsaved) and the spiritual infant, cannot easily discern the meaning of Scripture, if they can discern it at all. It is our job, the teachers, to explain the meaning, the sense, and the application of the text. Make it clear.
3. It is purposeful.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The skillful Bible teacher will assess the needs of the listeners, if possible, to determine the correct use of Scripture at any given time. Is there a need for teaching doctrine? Are the hearers in need of correction? Are they in need of instruction in the way of righteousness? We determine the need and respond accordingly.
I guess what I am saying here is that God’s Word should never be taught in a haphazard way. The man or woman who teaches must have a clear understanding in their own mind of what they desire to accomplish. God’s Word will certainly accomplish more than we can intend, but that does not mean we should approach the task of teaching with an attitude of ambivalence.
So, if you are a parent, pastor, teacher, or whatever, I want to challenge you in these three areas. Center all your teaching around the gospel, never set loose from those moorings. Teach in a clear, understandable fashion, and teach with a definite purpose in mind. God will make up for our shortcomings.
What else would you add, if anything, to that which defines good Bible teaching? I would love to hear your thoughts.