Tags: Bible lessons on teaching, Bible teachers, Christian teachers, devotions for teachers, how to teach, Sunday School teachers, teaching the Bible, tips for teachers
The time between the last post and this one has probably been one of the longest time periods I’ve gone without adding a new post to The Deep End since the Lord allowed me to start it. So, instead of working on something new, and with today being the first day of a new school year for the kids who have been entrusted into my care by the Lord, I thought I would organize one of my already-existing categories.
When you assume the hazardous position of calling yourself a “Bible teacher,” and when the Lord begins to bless you with opportunities to do it in church or at various church-related functions, you will find that there are a limitless number of Biblical subjects from which to teach. I have even found myself called upon at times to “teach the teachers,” or to at least delve into God’s Word to see what He has to say about the subject. Below are the posts in the category called “Biblical Teaching:”
1. S.E.R.V.E. the Lord in Children’s Ministry
2. Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children (Exodus 20:7-8) *
3. Explaining the Meaning of Biblical “Authority” to Children
4. Tips for Teachers
5. The Early Bird Gets to Wait
6. Key Words for Bible Teachers: Truth and Type
7. Key Words for Bible Teachers: Treasure
8. Things New and Old (Matthew 13:51-52)
9. How Tall Was Jesus?
10. Three Things to Bring to Sunday School (Matthew 10:27)
11. Christian Teachers Warned and Watched
12. Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 1)
13. Where Is Jesus in the Bible? (lesson 2)
14. Teaching / Temptation (John 14:26-27; Job 36:21-25)
* most-viewed post in category
Tags: Biblical comfort, Biblical teaching, comfort, Comforter, Holy Spirit, Job 36, John 14, Paraclete, temptation
In the first lesson in this series I explained the original meaning of the word comfort: “with strength.” Strength is imparted to us by God, but it pleases Him to use circumstances to do it. He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us and to teach us through these circumstances.
But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 14:26 (emphasis added)
The Greek word translated as Comforter is parakletos, and it means someone who comes alongside (para) and helps (kletos). One way to describe it is that a parakletos is like a soldier who helps his wounded comrade in battle – except instead of carrying him back to camp, he strengthens him to keep going forward – and he teaches him as he strengthens. The Holy Spirit teaches us the right way to think about our circumstances and the right things to say about our circumstances.
What a comforting thought to know that God has not left us alone to navigate our own sanctification! We could never do it on our own. But remember the comfort that comes from knowing that we have God’s Own Spirit as our teacher has a flip side. The other side of teaching is:
God does not teach the way we teach.
Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.
Job was told to be on the lookout for the temptation of iniquity. The “quick-fix” lie of Satan is that we can escape affliction by sinning.
Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
God has a very hands-on, trial-by-fire teaching method.
Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
God is never the author of sin.
Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold [it] afar off.
God allows temptation, but He also makes the way to escape, and when we emerge victorious over temptation, God gets the glory – and we learn a lesson.
Do you see the connection? We will be tempted, but we will not face it alone, and we will not be left without a comforter. When we fall, He will come along and help us up, and teach us – and we will get comfort.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The peace that Christ gives is not like the counterfeit peace that the world offers, but it is true peace. It is the blessing and comfort of learning and knowing that God is orchestrating our lives.
Tags: Christ in the Old Testament, Christology, Exodus 14, Genesis 22, Genesis 3, Genesis 7, Jesus Christ, Old Testaments Types, Types and Shadows
In lesson one we learned that Jesus is everywhere in the Bible. Let’s look at just a few Old Testament examples.
When Adam and Eden sinned in the Garden of Eve, they ruined it for everyone. No matter how many times I read Genesis Chapters 1 – 3, I almost can’t help feeling a little surprised that they did the only thing they weren’t allowed to do. It shouldn’t surprise me, though. Sadly, I am more guilty than them in my regular disobedience to God. And it definitely did not surprise God. He told the serpent who had successfully tempted them to sin:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Somehow, one of Eve’s descendants would one day defeat the devil. That descendant turned out to be Jesus. In the Person of Jesus Christ God came into this world as a man born of a woman to reverse the curse which God had pronounced because of Adam’s sin.
Long before that, though (but still many years after Adam and Eve had been kicked out of the Garden), God decided to flood the earth and kill all the sinners – except for one sinner and his family. God chose one man – Noah – and He told him to build an ark, so that everybody that believed what God said through Noah would be spared.
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
That really happened. It’s not a myth or a fable. But why an ark? Why not put Noah on a mountain or in outer space? Because the ark is a picture of Somebody. It’s a picture of Jesus. Everybody who gets inside the safety of Jesus’s salvation is going to be spared when God destroys the world again (this time by fire, not by water). The story of Noah’s ark is true: a male and female giraffe really did get on a big ship with all the other kinds of land animals, and a big world-wide flood really did happen. But the key to truly understanding the message of this is to understand that it typifies important truths about Jesus.
Years after Noah (but still way before the New Testament), God found a man named Abram, and promised that he would be the ancestor of a great nation. God promised that through him would come the One who was promised in Genesis 3:15. Abram waited a long time, but he finally had a son named a Isaac, and here’s what God told Abram/Abraham to do with him:
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s “only son” in the sense that we think of it. God is using that language in a special way to denote that Isaac was Abraham’s special beloved son, and the son who would be the legal “firstborn” designated to carry on Abraham’s lineage.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
This story is true and factual, but, again, it is also given to illustrate a message and to point to Someone else, because thousands of years later, God would send “His only Son, the Son that He loved” to be an offering, and He would not stop Him from being slaughtered. Jesus went to the Cross on what used to be Mount Moriah, and He was the Lamb of God – the Lamb who was not spared – the Lamb who was slain.
Do you remember when all God’s people wound up in bondage in Egypt, and God forced Pharaoh to let them go free? Almost as soon as he did, he changed his mind and came after them. They were trapped between the oncoming Egyptian army and the Red Sea.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, [even] all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
This event really did happen, and God truly did deliver His people out of bondage, but the event was not just about Moses parting the Red Sea. It was also a picture of Jesus coming into this world where we were all in bondage to sin and Satan, and delivering us from that bondage, and leading us out, victorious over our enemies.
There are so many more true Bible stories we could go through. David slew Goliath, which is a picture of Jesus standing up to the mighty powers of this world and defeating them when they all thought He was dead. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and went down into the sea, which is a picture of Jesus going down into the grave and coming back from the dead. Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and all the other prophets are types of our great prophet and priest, Jesus, about Whom they were prophesying. When Samson picked up the city gates, and carried them 30 miles away, the Holy Spirit gave us an image of Jesus picking up the burden of our sins and carrying them as far as the east is from the west.
The whole Bible from cover to cover is really about Jesus. He’s the hero, the main character, the protagonist, the reason for the whole thing. He’s the author and the finisher, and He is on every page and in every word. That’s exciting, but it’s also important to remember. When you read the Bible, look for Jesus. When you teach the Bible, teach it as though it is about Jesus. When you do your devotions, give your devotion to Jesus.
Tags: Bible codes, Bible study, Bible teachers, Christology, codes, Jesus Christ, John 5, Luke 24, Sunday School
If I were to ask you to tell me a good place in the Bible to find out about Jesus, what would you say? The first four books of the New Testament are probably what come to mind. “The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” would probably be a common answer. But let’s see what Jesus Himself had to say:
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
This happened right after Jesus’s Resurrection.
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
One of the first things Jesus wanted to do after His Resurrection was have a Bible study. He showed these two disciples on the road to Emmaus all the places in the Bible where He could be found, going all the way from Genesis through the end of the Old Testament.
Then Jesus went to show His closest disciples that He had come back from the grave.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
This is very important because the Bible is very important. As a Christian you are responsible for not just reading the Bible, but for understanding the Bible.
The Pharisees were the religious leaders of Jesus’s day, and they did not like Jesus – in part because He told the truth, and the Truth was that He was the Son of God, and that, because He was the Son of God, they would have to submit to Him. So they were always trying to get Him to do something to prove He really was from God, thinking that, when He failed, they could disprove Him. Here’s what Jesus said to them:
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
It was as if He said to them, “You are supposed to be the Bible teachers! And you don’t even know what (Who) the Bible is about?!”
I said earlier that you are responsible for understanding the Bible, and that should concern you, because it’s not always easy to understand. In some places it’s almost like a code. Here’s a simple code to illustrate the point:
I w2nt 2ll the 2l2rms in 2tl2nt2.
You can probably figure it out, but if you were stumped, you would need the “key” to understand the code, so I would give you the key: 2=A. And that makes it simple!
So where is Jesus in the Bible? Remember, at the time that Jesus said these things that we have read in Luke and John, there was no Luke and John, or anything else in the Bible after Malachi. But to the question, “Where is Jesus in the Bible?” the answer is, “Everywhere!”
We will look at some specific examples in lesson 2.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 3, 2 Timothy 2, accountability for teachers, Bible teachers, devotions for teachers, James 3, Joshua 4, Mark 9, Matthew 12, Titus 2
The job of a Bible teacher is an honorable job. Almost every Christian is called upon to teach someone something.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
II Timothy 2:2
Teachers are warned.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
The word translated as “masters” in James 3:1 is the Greek word didaskalos, meaning teachers. Why will teachers receive the greater condemnation, or, in other words, why are they exposed to a stricter judgment by God? Because teachers use words to teach, and words are dangerous things. You can read the rest of James Chapter 3 and see that the tongue is our most powerful member. It’s like a bit that controls a horse, or a rudder that steers a ship. Just as snakes have poison in their mouths, people have a much deadlier poison: the potential for hurtful and destructive words. You can’t call back an arrow once it’s been shot, and you can’t call back a hurtful word that’s headed for a child’s ears, mind, and heart, once it’s left your mouth.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
If every “idle” word will be scrutinized, how much more will the hurtful, angry, destructive words? Especially when it comes to children.
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Teachers are warned, and teachers are watched.
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
II Corinthians 3:2-3
Children will not always read the assignments, but they will always read the teacher. The old maxim that “more is caught than taught” may be truer than some Bible teachers would like to think. Students are are looking for clues as to how sincere the teacher is as a representative of Christ.
And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
That’s what students really want to know. Not just what the things you are teaching mean. But what they mean to you. They need to know what you know in order to grasp the material, but what they really want to know is: Are you sincere? They can sense frustration, they can sense doubt, but, even more so, they can sense hypocrisy. Make sure that your relationship with the Lord is right. Make sure the “Rock” of Ages means everything to you.
Tags: adult Sunday School, Bible teachers, Matthew 10, offering, Sunday School, Sunday School teachers, used by God
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
There are some challenges that come with being a Sunday School teacher, and, honestly, I’m not very good at it. However, I admit that I do like the perks that come with the responsibilities. For one, there is a built-in motivation to not only read a portion of Scripture each week, but to actually study it in depth and try to be prepared to teach and answer questions about it. As a teacher, I am sometimes thought of as a person that other people can talk with about the Bible – and I love talking about the Bible.
My favorite thing about being a Sunday School teacher, though, is probably the idea that I get to be “useful.” All Christians should want to be useful, and by “being useful” I mean being used by the Lord in His work. What Christian would not want to be used by God in helping other Christians to grow in the Lord?
One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that we don’t get to be useful on accident. We must be prepared to be useful.
Matthew 10:27 speaks of the Christian’s duty to tell people openly (in daylight) what the Lord has told him in private (in the night). It also tells us to tell people openly what the Lord tells us in our ear (in secret). Attending church is a super-important part of living the Christian life. But it is not enough. The Lord wants to speak to us corporately, but He also wants to speak to you one-on-one – and at places in between. Where will you get a Word from God when your child gets into trouble? Or when one of your co-workers or relatives comes to you with questions about his or her troubled marriage? When you attend a church service or a Sunday School class, and the Word of God is preached or taught, that is one of the ways that the Lord speaks to you. He speaks to you personally, but He also teaches you things that you will be able to use to help others.
As a Sunday School teacher, I like to stress three things that every student needs to bring to class:
1. Bring your Bible.
A sword can be somewhat of a handy weapon, I suppose, even if you are not especially skilled at using it, but you would never go to sword practice without your sword. Your teacher or your preacher (hopefully) can tell you what’s in the Bible, but if you’re going to tell others what’s in it, you must get used to having one in your hand.
2. Bring a friend.
Sunday School is supposed to be a time of fellowship, family, and unity. Inviting a friend to Sunday School is the very least you can do for the Lord. That person you’ve invited a thousand times but still hasn’t come may just say yes on the 1001st time – you never know!
3. Bring your offering.
I’m not talking about a money-offering – that’s usually done in the church service. I’m talking about some kind of non-monetary offering. It may just be an an offering of yourself – a willingness to serve. It might be a willingness to bring donuts or orange juice to class. It might be arriving early to set up the chairs. It might be something that God has shown you from His Word during the week that will be a blessing to someone else who is hurting. Whatever it is, if God has called you to be in a Sunday School class, He’s called you to do more than just attend. Sitting in class and soaking up knowledge is a good thing, but sitting and soaking can lead to souring. Don’t come to Sunday School empty-headed, empty-handed, or empty-hearted. Sunday School may be the place where God will show you exactly the area in which he wants you to commit more of your time to ministry.
Tags: Hebrews 4, Isaiah 53, Jesus, John 8, Luke 2, Matthew 26, Matthew 27, Revelation 1, Sunday School teachers
When I first became the teacher of an adult Sunday School class my biggest worry was that somebody in class would ask a question for which I didn’t have an answer. So I would tend to “over-study” in preparation for class. Even if we were going to be covering something really simple (Does Jesus say you should love your neighbor?) I would be prepared to do a complete exegesis on the Olivet Discourse and to defend my position on infralapsarianism versus supralapsarianism – just in case. Well, after a few weeks, I stopped worrying about that. I came to realize that I had more pressing concerns than somebody asking a difficult question and putting me on the spot. My bigger concerns had to do with just trying to keep everybody awake for 35 minutes – or trying to make sure the people who preferred the chairs to be arranged in a circle didn’t physically attack the people who preferred to sit classroom-style. Instead of being afraid that someone would ask a difficult question, I actually began to hope that anyone would ask anything – which would at least indicate that someone was listening or had read the lesson. Finally, it happened.
A particular fellow stayed after class one Sunday morning and came up to me as I was shuffling my notes back into my folder. Oh boy, I thought, maybe he wants to know about modalism or the Sabellian controversy! But instead he said in a gruff voice, “Hey you’re one of them Christians – one of them ‘church people.’ How tall do you think Jesus was?”
Of course, I had no idea. And although I don’t think Jesus’s height bears a tremendous significance on the essentials of the Christian faith, I did promise to study the matter and get back to him.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:52 (emphasis added)
From the time Jesus was 12 years old He “increased in stature.” Presumably, this means that He “grew up” physically. So, however tall He was at 12, we can assume He got taller as He got older. The last part of that Verse, which says “with God and man” appears to apply to the part about Him growing “in favor,” but I suppose it might also apply to “increased in stature.” If Jesus grew “in stature with other men,” that would not tell us definitively how tall He was, but it would lead us to suppose that He reached an “average” height – similar to other men.
And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
Matthew 27:35 (emphasis added)
The Roman soldiers cast lots (gambled) for Jesus’s clothing after He was stripped and crucified. They did this partly to fulfill Old Testament prophecy, but it is unlikely that the soldiers in their own minds even knew this prophecy, much less that they knew the Divine hand of God was causing them to fulfill it. It is also unlikely that they cast lots hoping to win a valuable souvenir or a Roman Catholic “relic.” More likely, they were hoping to obtain some free clothing. (Clothing was relatively expensive back in those days.) From this, we might infer that Jesus was physically around the same size as the average Roman soldier.
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
When Jesus was arrested, He pointed out to His persecutors that He had been among them openly, and the fact that He referred to His teaching as the means by which they might have recognized Him and arrested Him sooner, rather than by His physical appearance, may mean that there was nothing especially noteworthy about the way He looked.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
It is possible that when Jesus escaped being stoned in the Temple He supernaturally camouflaged Himself, but it is also possible that, during the confusion, He simply blended in with the crowd and got away, which, if He was of average height and appearance, would not have been terribly difficult to do.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
If Jesus, during His earthly life, was tempted in all the ways in which we are tempted, might not that have included the temptation that comes with being made fun of for how we look? This does not really tell us anything about His height, but it does tend to support the idea that Jesus was not especially physically attractive. We know from the Gospel records that He was not a wimp, but He was gentle. Great stature (height or size) is usually associated in the Bible – especially in the Old Testament – with sin or great wickedness. (See Genesis 6:4-5; Numbers 13:30-32; I Samuel 17:4.)
These are only clues at best, but it seems that there was nothing glaring or especially attractive about Jesus’s physical appearance.
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2-3 (emphasis added)
Regardless of whether Jesus was tall or short according to the standards of His day, we know that God looks at men’s hearts more than their outward appearance. Jesus was a giant when it came to righteousness and love. He did not intimidate people with His physical size. He was “tall enough” to bear our sorrows, griefs, and sins and to nail them to His Cross.
While we don’t have a detailed description of the physical appearance of Jesus during His days on earth, we do have something of a description of how He will look when He returns to set things right once and for all:
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
By the way, that explanation did not satisfy my friend who stayed after class to ask me about it, and I suppose he went down the road to another church where the preacher got “a rhema word from God” and told him without a doubt that Jesus was five foot eleven and a half. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.
Tags: awe, Bible, Bible study, Matthew 13, old truths, sense of awe, treasure, walking with Christ
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
I have read this passage of Scripture so many times, but it still surprises me that the disciples could say “yes” when Jesus asked them if they had understood everything He said. Over 2000 years later we are still studying, but that’s the job of a Bible teacher – to be instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven – to learn from the Bible and to bring out of it treasures both new and old.
We are supposed to be reinforcing the great truths that have been taught since the beginning, but every time they are taught, these “old” truths are new to someone.
Furthermore, we are teaching new and old truths to new and old students. Some Christians are “new” as to their age, and some are “old” in years. Some are “new” to the Christian faith, and some have been Christians for many years. We learn more and more about God every week, and He never gets “old.” Is it possible that your spiritual life has become routine? You attend church. Maybe you pray at home and have devotions at home. Maybe you tithe and live a somewhat holy life. You don’t get drunk or swear or abuse your spouse. You are living on “old” things that you got settled early in your walk with Christ. Old things are good, but they become familiar. Familiarity costs us our sense of “awe.” You are going to lose your sense of awe and excitement about the Bible unless you are willing to take a dare. Take a chance by committing more of your time, talents, resources, effort, and gifts to the Lord. Ask Him to excite you as you as you study His Word. Neither the God of the Word, nor the Word of our God are ever boring or dry. They contain treasures – and few things are more exciting than discovering treasure!
Tags: 1 Timothy 6, 2 Corinthians 4, accountability for teachers, Bible teachers, Matthew 13, scribes, Sunday School teachers, Sunday School teaching seminar, tips for teachers, treasure
As we learned previously, Bible teachers have a responsibility to teach the Truth and to make a “type.”
Treasure: Bible teachers must realize that the Gospel is a valuable treasure which we hold in “trust.”
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
I Timothy 6:20 (emphasis added)
The Word of God is a treasure because of its value. In fact, it’s so valuable that I am not completely sure why God has entrusted it to us. From what I can tell, it somehow serves His glory to see that if He placed it in a weak vessel, the power of the Gospel itself would be seen to come completely from Him, and not the vessel itself.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
II Corinthians 4:7
God could have sent angels to deliver His Word. He could have written it in the sky. But He has given it to us in trust. Something given in trust must be protected, but it also must be put to work so that it “grows,” bears an “increase,” or bears “fruit.” So, as we teach, we must guard the Word of God. We must keep it from being stolen or contaminated. We do this by teaching it to our students as though it were a thing of great value. When you teach, be serious about the Word of God. Show your students how to treat their Bibles, how to read Bible verses, how to memorize Bible verses.
We treat the Word of God as a valuable thing held in trust by guarding it, but also by putting it to work. We will give an account for what we have done with our Master’s treasure. He will not be happy if we just dig it up, dust it off, and say, “Here, I’ve protected it. I didn’t lose it and I didn’t let anyone steal it.” He will say, “But did you invest it? Did you sew it? Did you plant it in hearts? Did you spread it around like seed? Has it earned interest? I trusted you to know that I was the kind of Owner Who let you use My treasure in such a way that it would multiply in spiritual fruit.”
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
When the Disciples answered affirmatively to Jesus’s question that they understood all those principles that Jesus taught them about the Kingdom of Heaven, do you think they really did?
Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
A scribe is similar to a teacher. Bible teachers must teach the basic things and new things (things that we find on our own in the Bible – things that are dear to us and are shown to us by God). These “new things” are not “fresh” Words in the sense of being private revelation. They are “fresh” in the sense of being “living” Words, and they are just as applicable today as they were when they were written, but they are new to your students – and maybe even to you.
Bible teachers are to teach Truth. We are to deliver a type of teaching. And we are responsible for a treasure.
Tags: Acts 20, Apostolic doctrine, didache, James 3, John 14, Judges 17, Romans 6, Romans 8, teachers
If someone takes on the responsibility of being a “teacher,” and if what he is teaching is itself important, then the job of teaching becomes a very important job. If a teacher of anything “important” carries a great weight of responsibility, then a Bible teacher carries the greatest weight of responsibility of any teacher.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
Those who would teach the Bible are held accountable. They are responsible for wanting to see their students grow – and I don’t mean “grow” in the sense of an increased number of students, although that is often a good goal to have as well. Bible teachers should want their students to grow in faithfulness. They should also want the time of teaching to be “fun” (or at least enjoyable on some level.) But most of all they should have a goal of being able to stand before God one day knowing that they have actually taught the Bible – regardless of the results.
Noah, Jeremiah, and many of God’s teachers and prophets did not see the earthly “results” they would have liked to see – but today they stand vindicated before God because they faithfully proclaimed and taught the Truth of God’s Word.
There are three principles that have helped me stay motivated, encouraged, energized, and focused as a Sunday School teacher: Truth, Type, and Treasure.
Truth: Realize that, when we teach from the Bible, we are teaching the Truth. If what we are dealing with is not absolute Truth – Truth personified (“I am the Truth…”), then we are wasting our time. We would be better off just entertaining people and keeping them busy instead of worrying about our Bibles if we are not committed to Truth.
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
Paul was speaking to the Church and he was giving sort of a farewell address. He had been with them, teaching them for some time, and he was about to go on a missionary journey. We usually think of being “free in the Spirit,” but the gift of the Holy Spirit comes with a great responsibility. He frees us from disobedience. He does not free us so we can engage in self-indulgence. This is real freedom, not the world’s idea of freedom. The world’s “freedom” is the worst type of slavery – slavery to self and to sin.
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
As a Sunday School teacher, when someone leaves my class for good, I want to be able to declare truthfully before God that I am “pure” (innocent) of his “blood.” How can I do this? Only by declaring the whole counsel of God. If you are a Bible teacher can you say that you have talked to your class about the uncomfortable things of the Bible? Sometimes it’s relatively easy to tell students that “all things work together for good,” but have you told them about the sinfulness of boys and girls, of men and women? Have you told them about the holiness and righteousness and justice and wrath of God? Have you tried to explain what it meant for God to sacrifice His beloved Son? Of what it cost – and what the realization of that cost should mean in our lives – so we can be the children of God? When I presume to teach the Bible my attitude should be influenced by the thought that the students’ lives are in my hands.
Now if that sounds like an instance of inflated ego or boastfulness, let’s remember that, if they are in my hands, I am in God’s hands. I would rather be able to say that their lives are “in my hands” than that their blood is “on my hands.”
Type: We must realize that when we teach we are to make a “type,” an “imprint.”
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
The “form of doctrine,” the “type of teaching” handed down from the Apostles was known in the Greek language as the “typos didache.” A good illustration is the way old typewriters used to make an imprint on a piece of paper – or the way the seal or signet ring of an ancient king or Roman official would make an imprint in hot wax on a document. Bible teachers should deliver messages from God’s Word with such passion that it makes an imprint on the students – in such a way that they are “stamped” with orthodox teaching. Unless you are teaching a group of students that have an unusually large amount of Bible knowledge, or unless they are already under the teaching of someone else who does, they will not get the “didache” anywhere else. Children certainly do not get get it in school. It is not taught on television. Sadly, more and more these days, it is even absent from religious instruction. Your students will be prone to seduction by what “seems” good, by what “looks” good, by what “sounds” good, and by what “feels” good. We are living in a time when almost everyone does what seems right in his or her own eyes. A lesson plan can be erased, an arts and crafts project can be erased, a prize for being the best student can be erased. But a “type,” a permanent imprint, can not be erased.
A “type” must be pressed down hard. For a teacher this is hard work – the type must be held down for a while. It requires endurance, persistence, and determination. God has called you to deliver the “typos” – the imprint. Therefore, He will give you the strength and the ability – even the stubbornness or steadfastness – to do it.
We have seen the Truth and the Type. Next time, we will look at the Treasure.