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Author Topic: Teaching
Carol Swenson
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What does the Bible say about effective teaching?

BIBLE READING: Deut. 6:1-9
KEY BIBLE VERSE: You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. (Deut. 6:6-7)

Effective teaching relates truth to life. The Hebrews were extremely successful at making religion an integral part of life. The reason for their success was that religious education was life-oriented, not information-oriented. They used the context of daily life to teach about God. The key to teaching your children to love God is stated simply and clearly in these verses. If you want your children to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences. You must teach your children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.

Effective teaching can occur in any place at any time. This verse not only instructs us to bring teaching into every facet of life, from morning until night, from meal to travel; it also assumes that all these events present opportunities for teaching.

BIBLE READING: Judges 2:6-17
KEY BIBLE VERSE: After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)

Teaching is vital because the truth is always one generation away from extinction. One generation died, and the next did not follow God. Judges 2:10-3:7 is a brief preview of the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance that Israel experienced again and again. Each generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God. Yet this was at the very center of God's law (Deut. 6:4-9).

Teaching truth to the next generation is the responsibility of every Christian. It is tempting to leave the job of teaching the Christian faith to the church or Christian schools. Yet God says that the responsibility for this task belongs primarily to the family. Because children learn so much by our example, faith must be a family matter.

BIBLE READING: Matthew 4:23-25
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease. (Matthew 4:23)

Jesus consistently modeled effective teaching in his ministry. Jesus was teaching, preaching, and healing. These were the three main aspects of his ministry. Teaching shows Jesus' concern for understanding; preaching shows his concern for commitment; and healing shows his concern for wholeness. His miracles of healing authenticated his teaching and preaching, proving that he truly was from God.

BIBLE READING: Matthew 7:24-29
KEY BIBLE VERSE: Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. (Matthew 7:24)

Teaching has not been effective until obedience has begun. To build "on solid rock" means to be a hearing, responding disciple, not a phony, superficial one. Practicing obedience becomes the solid foundation to weather the storms of life. (See James 1:22-27 for more on putting into practice what we hear.)

Like a house of cards, the fool's life crumbles. Most people do not deliberately seek to build on a false or inferior foundation; instead, they just don't think about their life's purpose. Many people are headed for destruction, not out of stubbornness but out of thoughtlessness. Part of our responsibility as believers is to help others stop and think about where their life is headed and to point out the consequences of ignoring Christ's message.

BIBLE READING: 2 Tim. 2:14-26
KEY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord's servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will believe the truth. (2 Tim. 2:24-25)

The quality of the teacher often determines the quality of the teaching. As a teacher, Timothy helped those who were confused about the truth. Paul's advice to Timothy, and to all who teach God's truth, is to be kind and gentle, patiently and courteously explaining the truth. Good teaching never promotes quarrels or foolish arguments. Whether you are teaching church school, leading a Bible study, or preaching in church, remember to listen to people's questions and treat them respectfully, while avoiding foolish debates. If you do this, those who oppose you will be more willing to hear what you have to say and perhaps turn from their error.

Handbook of Bible Application.

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