Bible Basics

If you’re someone interested in teaching God’s Word or if you’re responsible for recruiting teachers, make sure knowledge about God’s Word includes at least the following Bible Basics.

Bible Basics for Teachers of God’s Word

Use this acrostic as a guide or check list for the basics Bible teachers should know about God’s Word.

B – Beginning

The Bible starts with God … “in the beginning, God …” (Gen. 1:1), assuming the existence of God, the One of whom there is none greater.

Basic Because: Without this belief, it all pretty much falls apart, leading to doubts about its veracity and value.

A – Authority

Scripture provides an absolute standard because it was inspired by God Himself (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21), making Him both its Source and the Standard.

Basic Because: Without this premise, truth becomes relative, with people picking and choosing what to believe.

S – Structure

The Bible is composed of 66 books separated into two divisions, the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament begins with God’s creation of the heavens and earth and is then primarily about God’s relationship with Israel. The New Testament begins with the Gospels about the life and death of Jesus and then is primarily about the Church He established, consisting of believing Jews and Gentiles, and what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus now and through eternity.

Basic Because: Without this understanding, it is difficult for teachers to navigate the Bible, albeit help students find their way.

I – Intent

God intends for His Word to transform and thoroughly equip us to live for Him (Rom. 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; James 1:22), and especially that we get to know Him (Col. 1:9-10).

Basic Because: Without this purpose, we won’t teach for changed live but rather be satisfied with mere dissemination of knowledge.

C – Centerpiece

Scripture, both the Old and New Testament, points to Jesus and redemption in Him. The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus with many prophecies and types about Him. The New Testament looks back at Jesus’ work on the cross to bring salvation. (Jn. 1:45; 5:39, 46; 1 Pet. 1:10-11)

Basic Because: Without this focus, we miss the Bible’s central message of God seeking to bring those He created into a relationship with Himself through Jesus.

S – Summation

The Bible began with an earthly garden in which man’s choice resulted in separation from God and ends with a city in which Paradise is restored as all things are brought under His authority and made new.

Basic Because: Without this big picture, we don’t have hope and perspective to offer for how current life fits in to the message of God’s Word. (Rom. 15:4)

What Bible Teachers Need to Know About God’s Word - Bible BasicsResource: What Bible Teachers Need to Know About God’s Word

This four page document does not contain the above acrostic but does provide a brief recap about the authority, focus, theme, summary, and divisions of the Bible along with a panoramic view of God in the Bible. It also looks at implications for Bible teachers.

FAQ About the Discussion Method

FAQ About Discussion Method

Often when Bible teachers try to get away from lecture, they’ll turn to discussion as their teaching method. While it certainly isn’t the only method they could choose, it is a common one. And, it can bring some challenges. Here are some frequently asked questions about this methodology.

Is discussion the best method for Bible teachers to use?

Discussion has many benefits, chief of which is that by allowing students to express themselves, they participate hopefully in more meaningful ways. While discussion hails as a very good method, sometimes it is not the best method to use. The best method fits the content or learning objective. Also factor in the time element and number of students in the class. Too short of a time period can make it difficult to take the discussion far enough to adequately deal with the content or to get deep enough. Too large of a group limits meaningful participation by everyone. And, keep in mind that any method overused can become less effective. Consider other methods you might use in addition to discussion.

How can I use discussion with a large group?

The logistics of using discussion in a large group can be daunting and impractical. Depending on the room size and layout, not everyone can hear those who are talking. Only a few of the many students have opportunity to participate. Yet, discussion in a large group isn’t impossible. While it may be infeasible to use as a whole group, there are ways to break out into smaller groups — buzz groups, neighbor nudge. And, there are ways to allow everyone to participate at least a little in the whole group — circle response or word reaction wherein everyone gives a one word/phrase response followed with discussion by those time will allow to respond. At times you might also ask all students to write down their response to a question before opening it up for discussion. That way, even though only a few can respond, all will have at least thought about it.

If you are unfamiliar with these discussion formats, consider ordering the Sharpening Your Bible Teaching Methods Resource for help with a variety of discussion-type of methods and more.

How structured should discussion be?

If too structured, discussion might move into question/answer methodology rather than be a true discussion. The question/answer method basically consists of the teacher asking a question and someone answering. In a true discussion, the teacher may still be the one to ask the questions but dialogue ensues between students.

If too loose, discussion might get off on tangents and miss the lesson’s objective. Rather than a learning experience, it may simply turn into a chat with little substance.

Bible teachers should find the balance of sufficiently guiding the discussion so it stays on track but allowing enough freedom for real dialog to occur multi-directionally and so learning goes to higher levels than merely answering questions factually. Consequently, teachers must come prepared with questions that provide a flow toward the lesson’s objectives but be ready to make adjustments. If teachers don’t come sufficiently prepared, they’ll will be less likely to keep the discussion on track.

God as the One Who Meets Needs

Sometimes as Bible teachers we can get to thinking that we need to “fix” people’s problems. Yes, God might use us to help people but our objective should be pointing people to the Lord as their Shepherd, the Lord as the Source of all they need. People must learn to rely on the Lord, not us. He’s the One they can ALWAYS turn to. He’s the One CONSTANTLY aware of their needs. He’s the One who is FULLY capable of meeting their needs.

Pray Bible Teachers Point to God as the One Who Meets Needs

Some of the prayer requests in the Praying for Bible Teachers Throughout the Year for November, which emphasizes praying about Needs, are to this end.

Pray Bible Teachers Point to God as the One to Meet Needs
The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. (Ps. 23:1)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

  • Pray that teachers keep pointing students to God as their provider, protector, and guide.
  • Pray that teachers keep falling back on the sufficiency of God’s grace (2 Cor. 9:8; 12:9).
  • Pray that when needs are met, God is glorified (2 Cor. 9:12).

Methodology in the Teaching-Learning Process

Teaching-Learning Process Methodology
So far, we’ve seen in Deuteronomy 6:1-9,

We’ve noted that it’s about getting students beyond a head knowledge to a heart knowledge that results in trusting and obeying God. That will take more than imparting information. We must pierce through to the core to affect attitudes and one’s belief system to make an impression.

Methodology Tips for the Teaching-Learning Process as Seen in Deuteronomy 6:7-8

1) Incorporate variety.

Notice the variety of means in Deuteronomy 6:

“talk about them” – verbal
“tie them as symbols … bind them on … write them on” – visual

Notice the variety of settings:

at home
along the road

Notice the variety of timing and activity:

when you sit at home – passive learning
when you walk along the road – active learning

Resource: Creativity: Variety is One Element Worksheet

2) Think in terms of total session teaching.

Use everything you do as a means of teaching — both the formal and non-formal times. Use what happens before and after as well as in-class. Grab their attention when they first arrive and use everything, even distractions or discipline issues, as learning opportunities. Also remember to make transitions from one activity to another count.

Resources:

3) Make learning relevant to everyday life.

Parents have natural opportunities that bring the relevance, like what happens at home from when they get up in the morning to bedtime. They engage in many activities outside of the home as well. Bible teachers primarily only have short time in a more contrived setting in which to teach so they must effectively use age-appropriate methods that help students work through and practice the implications and applications of truth.

Resource: Make Truths Relevant: Age Level Characteristics & Needs Worksheet

4) Keep reinforcing the lesson’s truths.

Parents were told to, “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Talking needs to reinforced with visual reminders. Even though Bible teachers mainly have the session to impress on their students who God is and how His Word affects their lives, there are things they can do to reinforce the lesson’s truths throughout the week. Decide if there are papers or projects that can be sent home. Think about how texting, social media, and the like can be used for follow-up. Determine when it might be appropriate to give them an assignment for the upcoming week that revisits what’s been learned.

Resource: DISCIPLESHIP: Isn’t teaching a lesson enough? Teacher Training Worksheet