An Often Missing Element in the Bible Learning Process

As I shared in a previous post, I had to pause when reading Deuteronomy 32:12 to reflect on its implications for today’s Bible teachers. The verse describes what the Israelites were to do during their Feast of Tabernacles.

Bible Learning Process“Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law.” (Deut. 31:12, NASB)

I noticed four elements for the learning process:

1) hear
2) learn
3) fear the Lord
4) observe

I couldn’t help but think about our Bible lessons today and how one of the elements in that verse so often seems to be missing. That’s a problem if these elements are a progression. If one element is missing then students undoubtedly will not arrive at the end.

The part that so often seems to be missing in Bible lessons, more than the others, is number three … “fear the Lord.”

The word “fear” can mean afraid but it also can be defined as “to revere” … to be so in awe of the God who spoke the words they heard and learned that they go on to being “careful to observe all” that He said. This is trusting that the God who inspired the Bible is great enough and powerful enough and faithful enough to follow through on what He promised or warned would happen. This is a God who is so full of grace, mercy, and love, though He is also holy and righteous, that He will help them not only understand but apply His truth to their lives because it is good for them.

Are students getting to know this God as a result of what they have heard and learned? Therein is the motivation students need to believe and do something with what they learn. It isn’t merely about externally conforming but rather loving and trusting such a God with their whole being (Matt. 22:37; Prov. 3:5-6) that they want to live in ways that please and honor Him.


  1. Teacher training must go beyond methodology and the “how-to” of teaching to helping teachers truly understand the essence of the Word they teach. Here’s a helpful resource: What Bible Teachers Need to Know About God’s Word To Help Students Find God in the Scriptures
  1. Bible teachers must take students beyond the stories and commands of Scripture to connecting them with God Himself for the same God who enabled the Bible characters to do what they did, will also help us today.  Here’s a helpful resource:  Motivating Students to Believe Worksheet

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