From Me to You: Teaching the Bible Charles McCallum

August 3, 2017

In the 60’s, The Beatles released a song called “From Me To You.” In the song, the lyrics explain, “If there’s anything that you want. If there’s anything I can do. Just call on me and I’ll send it along, with love from me to you.”

Each person receives and gives love in their own unique way. Gary Chapman, in his book, Five Love Languages, explains the five ways that love can be expressed between two people. This book is necessary because it is important that the message intended to be given is received.[1]

When developing a relationship with someone, it is important to learn how to deliver the message of love in a way that will be properly received. As important as communication is to relaying a message, we must understand and acknowledge that communication between a teacher and a student about the Bible may be one of the most important relationships. With that thought in mind, how do we build a bridge between Biblical knowledge and the world of the students being taught?

It is wonderful for each of us to spend our lives learning Scripture and continuing to grow in our knowledge of the Word, but what are we doing with that knowledge? Are we storing it up within us and not sharing it with anyone? Or are we being intentional to take the knowledge of Scripture that we have inherited and attempting to pass it along to others?

Is it possible to merely speak God’s truth out loud and just expect people to learn? Or should we be doing everything in our power to make sure the message is being received? Remember, if a student is not learning, then a teacher is not teaching…they are merely speaking in front of people.

Study the Bible

Before you can be a teacher of the Bible, you must be a student of the Bible. If you are not actively engaging with the Biblical text, how can you expect your students to engage with the text? The same mentality works for the mission field. If you are not actively engaging your community on mission for the sake of the Kingdom, what makes you think the plane ride to a mission location will miraculously give you the gift of evangelism?

Structure the Teaching Time

When structuring a lesson to teach a class of students, a priority should be placed on the question, what does the text say? Just as a teacher is studying a text and learning what the lesson should teach, the teacher should also be a student of their students and learn how a lesson can be received. Engage your students in a way that makes them want to learn, and in a way that allows the Biblical text to speak directly to them. Be sure to incorporate opportunities for your lesson to include something to hook the students in and grab their attention; actual time engaging with the Biblical text; an opportunity to look at the Biblical text; and an opportunity for application to be explained and/or discussed.

Teach the class

After having determined how to best deliver the message intended to be taught, the teacher must actually deliver the message. Arriving at the classroom early is a nice way to show the students you care about their time, and will provide a teacher with the chance to engage with the students prior to the start of the lesson. Try to be sensitive to time limitations. If a student has somewhere they need to be, then their mind will no longer be on your lesson and will shift to when they can leave your class. Also be mindful of potential distractions that may arise during the lesson. If a particular topic might create an elephant in the room atmosphere, it is better to acknowledge the elephant and move on, rather than let it become a distraction from learning. Do whatever you can as a teacher to keep the main message of your lesson at the center of everything you do. Be intentional with every minute that you have with your students.

Evaluate the Results

One often neglected area of teaching involves evaluation. In the teaching world, so much energy and effort is put into the next lesson that often the previous lesson gets neglected after having been delivered. Taking time to reflect on a lesson proves extremely healthy however.  Find someone to help you evaluate your teaching time. Let it be an administrator, a pastor, a volunteer leader, someone in your class, a spouse, whoever it may be, just let someone help you reflect on your delivery of your message. They will help provide you with an extra set of eyes and ears that can help you grow as a teacher. If you do not have someone currently in your life that can fill this role for you, evaluate yourself. Ask yourself questions: How well was that illustration received? Did it help or hurt the main point of the lesson? Did I balance the amount of time spent on each point of the message appropriately? Was there something I could have done better to engage the person in the room that did not participate in the learning process? The more you reflect, the better you can train yourself to improve upon your work as the liaison between the Biblical message and the students receiving the message.

We must do everything we can to get ourselves out of the way and let the Gospel message transform people. For those of us that have the unique privilege of being teachers to others helping them engage with the Biblical text, we must ask ourselves the question – if there’s anything I can do to help that conversation, then we will send it along, with love from me to you.

NOTES

[1] For those interested, the five love languages as described by Gary Chapman are: (1) words of affirmation; (2) acts of service; (3) receiving gifts; (4) quality time; and (5) physical touch. Relationships between two people are so important that Gary Chapman has expanded his ministry to include love languages or languages of appreciation for many different relationships (i.e., military, gifts, children, teenagers, singles, appreciation in the workplace, etc.).

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