Teachers’ View of the Bible: It Affects Motivations

In a previous post I suggested that how teachers view the Bible does matter as it could affect how their students perceive God.

Seeing the Bible as absolute truth is a starting point, something leaders should consider as a requirement in those they recruit to teach.

But, even within that framework, teachers could skew the way their students approach the Christian life if they aren’t careful. The slant put on certain aspects of the Word could negatively affect students as well.

In this post we’ll look at the Bible through the eyes of teachers who view it as primarily God’s laws.

If the Bible is seen as merely God’s book of rules and regulations, then teachers will tend to teach for obedience, possibly presenting a more legalistic approach to the Christian life. They will be presenting a demanding God who will undoubtedly end up seeming distant to students.

Make no mistake: Obedience and morality are important but there is so much more to the Christian life than following a list of do’s and don’ts. God cares about the heart of people, not mere robotic conformity. He wants people to be motivated by love, not fear of condemnation for disobedience.

Look at the big picture: Jesus consolidated all the commandments into just two … love God, love people (Matt. 22:36-40). Jesus put love before obedience — “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (Jn. 14:15).

Here’s an example of teaching from each of these views:

  1. If the Bible is seen as merely a book of God’s laws, then the teacher will present the 10 commandments as rules to keep.
  1. If it is more about love, then the teacher will present the 10 commandments as ways to show love to God and people.

Teachers can affect students’ motivations. In the first example, teachers are promoting duty whereas in the second case, delight. In the first example, obedience is seen as an end in itself whereas in the second, it is a means to a greater end. As already noted, God looks for the latter.

Teachers’ view of the Bible does matter. Are you sure your teachers have God’s emphasis?

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