- Pray that God will help you see, understand, obey, and then teach His Word.
Some people look at the Bible as a common, ordinary text book of history. But for those who observe the Bible as “Thus saith the LORD”, it is direct, loving communication to us from the God of heaven. Throughout history, God used a variety of men to be His writers. In their particular cultures and through their personalities, God breathed out His words (II Timothy 3:16) so that all of us could know Him. The Bible is a 100% human book but also a 100% divine book.
Because the Bible is divine, you continually need the enablement of the Holy Spirit to see and understand God’s will. You must pray for illumination. You must have the Spirit’s guidance toward the things of God. Paul writes, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” – I Corinthians 2:10-12.
Through prayer and study, the goal is for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And then may your life transformation spill over into the lives of those who are the students. Ezra gives you an example pattern for teaching. “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.” – Ezra 7:10. Notice that (1) he studied, (2) he applied God’s Word to his own heart and obeyed, and then (3) he taught others.
- Magnify God through His Word.
In other words, look for how to make God big on every page of the Bible. In whatever lesson you teach, there is always one chief Hero who must get all the glory. It is God. God alone. God is the One who is the infinite Creator who dwarfs the universe and all of its creatures (Genesis 1-2 and Isaiah 40). He is the One who is everywhere and knows every detail of your life and the lives of all of those in your class (Psalm 139). God is sovereign and will be bringing a grand finale for the whole world (Revelation 21-22).
For each Scripture portion that you study and teach, it is vital for you to convey the attributes of God revealed in the text. How does God describe Himself? How is God describing you? What is God calling you to do? What should your response be to God? How will God empower you?
- Herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ through His Word.
“God is light.” – I John 1:5
And “God is love” – I John 4:16.
God is Holy. And God gives grace. God is just. And God grants mercy. God is unshakable and unmovable. God inhabits a human body that expresses human feelings. God is tough. God is tender. God loves you. God loves those in your class. You are to make Christ’s gospel the unmistakably clear message of the Bible. All of the Old Testament points to this. All of the New Testament illustrates this. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8.
From Genesis to Revelation, trace the scarlet cord of redemption. Follow the teaching example of Jesus with the two men on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” – Luke 24:27.
- Illustrate and apply His Word.
You have a big challenge in front of you. You want your class to understand. You want them thinking. You want light bulbs to be turning on in their heads. You want them excited about the things of God. What is it that needs to be changed? How are they to grow in Christlikeness? Don’t be afraid to be transparent and open, to be passionate and creative, and to pull from all of your life experiences. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is for you to apply the timeless message of the ancient text to the modern challenges that face your students. There are many books in this world that are dull and irrelevant, but the Bible is not. This Book is alive! It is the hammer, the sword, the lamp, and the flame that can ignite a city. Believe that with all your heart!
- Be humble as you teach His Word.
Be sure to distinguish between what is the authoritative Word of God and your own opinion. In conservative cultures, quite frankly it is an easy tendency to elevate one’s personal interpretation or tradition on equal status with Scripture itself. As we minister to others, Paul instructs us to have the proper attitude. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” – Romans 12:3. Paul exhorts us in the last sentence of Romans 12:16: “Do not be wise in your own opinion.”