For years, I’ve made a study of some of the most effective ways to teach the Bible and a biblical worldview. I’m still a student myself but I’ve come to this conclusion: My job isn’t really to teach. It’s to help others understand. So these “teaching tips” are really practical ideas for making what you teach, understood and memorable.
To begin with, I have these criteria for my teaching:
• Be true to the Bible
Teach the Bible. Don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t clearly teach, or soften it’s teaching when God seems hard or uncompromising. Let the Bible speak for itself.
• Be intellectually honest
Be honest about when the Bible or God “appears” to make no sense to you. Don’t try to put the best spin on hard truths and admit it when you don’t know the answer to every Bible question.
• Be gracious
Admit that there are Christians who love God deeply and have a high view of scripture who disagree with you. But, be kind in your critique of them and their ideas. Also, be gracious with non-Christians. They simply don’t know better.
1. Give those you teach a simple, memorable framework for remembering the most important ideas.
Remember the three-point sermon? Do the same with your teaching. Recently, I taught on “Why bad things happen to good people” I gave the group, in writing, the five reasons I’ve found, then challenged the group to think of a sixth. When they couldn’t, we went back over all five in detail with illustrations for each. My list and the illustrations became a visual template for remembering and framing the discussion.
I was recently asked by a small group I was teaching, if the Bible had anything to say that would be helpful to understand how Christians should respond to the mass immigration of illegal children along our southern border.
Just in case you’ve been out of the loop, or are not a U.S. citizen here’s the issue; Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children (under 18 and as young as 6) are making their way to the U.S. from a number of Central American countries, specifically Honduras and Guatemala. These are violent countries where parents fear for their children’s lives. San Pedro Sula, Honduras has the highest murder rate of any city in the world. So, parents are sending their children north, all alone, with the hope of living safely in the U.S. with relatives already here. The trip is so dangerous, it’s estimated that only 60% ever arrive at the U.S. border, the rest give up, die, are kidnapped, sold into slavery into or the sex trade.
Technically, the majority of children entering the U.S. are not orphans – they have parents. But, from the time they leave their parents, they are some of the most vulnerable children on the planet. It also needs to be said that both the parents and their children know what they are doing is illegal. But parents are so desperate for the safety of their children; they’re willing to risk everything! Still, without their parent’s protection, I believe the Bible requires us to treat these children as both orphans and aliens.
So, how should Christians respond and are there practical, biblical ways to address this issue?
Joshua once said, what many of us have declared for our families, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b But Joshua had something completely different in mind than most Christians do when they use the phrase “serve the Lord.”
Have you ever thought what Joshua and the average Israelite actually did in the course of their week to serve the Lord? In Joshua’s day there was no synagogue worship on the Sabbath, so no Sunday school classes to teach, no parking lot attendance, or choir practice or missions committee meeting to attend. There were no para-church ministries to volunteer for, or give money to and yet they served the Lord.
How did they do that and what are we missing?
Why should Christians care what gays do behind closed doors? If it’s a sin – it’s their sin. In any case, doesn’t affect you!
If you’ve heard that argument yourself, here’s why gay marriage and a gay lifestyle does matter to the rest of us!