Ways to Teach the Bible
“For the Word of God is Quick (alive)…” (Hebrews 4:12).
Teaching the Bible clearly so other people can understand is a gift. Some people can explain anything clearly. Other people must work hard to make complicated truths simple so all people can understand. Because the Bible is a divine Book from God, teachers must be careful to teach exactly what the Bible says.
There are three basic types of Bible teaching and preaching – Topical, Textual, and Expositional. Each one has strengths and weaknesses.
Topical lessons use many verses to explain what the Bible says about one subject. Examples: Forgiveness – Sin – Tithing or Giving Money – Marriage and Dating. Topical lessons explain one subject completely in only one or a few lessons. Strengths: Fast general understanding of Bible topics,quick studies, can be easier and quicker to prepare. Weaknesses: Can depend on the speaker’s opinion of the subject. Using only topical lessons tends to miss some important Bible teachings. It can be like working a jigsaw puzzle and having several missing pieces. It is easy to miss important Bible doctrines.
Textual lessons start with reading one verse (text) or several verses together, and then explain the verses or a principle from the verses. Although textual lessons start with a text, they may not stay with the text throughout the lesson. Some textual lessons jump from the verses and explain the speaker’s opinion about a topic in the text. Other textual lessons explain ideas found in the text, but may not explain each word of the verse. The goal of these lessons is more to talk about the text and ideas in the text rather than to explain the verses in detail. Examples: The Story of David and Goliath – John 3:16 – The Fall of Man and Sin. Strengths: Gives quick understanding of Bible chapters and stories. Can be easier to understand than expository lessons. Weaknesses: Can tend to present a limited view of the subject and not a full understanding of the topic throughout the Bible. Easy to miss important Bible doctrines.
Expository lessons explain the Bible word by word, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book. The word expository means to expose or to explain. Therefore, expository lessons explain Bible words and show how words, verses, chapters, and books are related. Expository lessons allow the message of the Bible to persuade listeners. Strengths: Gives a good understanding of whole Bible books. Easy for students to study ahead and ask thoughtful questions. All Bible doctrines eventually explained. Weaknesses: Can be slow and harder to understand. Can become boring without proper application to the student. Requires the most study and preparation to preach.
Bible teachers and preachers must work hard to clearly explain what the Bible says (2 Timothy 2:15-16). This means using clear and easy-to-understand words and examples. It also means to teach exactly what the Bible says, without adding your personal opinion.
Example of Studying One Word (Expositional Lesson): Fellowship (Philippians 1:5) – Today the word fellowship is used to mean a time for people to eat or to enjoy a social time together. But in this verse it means two people with equal closeness. It means partners working together for a common goal. In this verse, the common goal is the Gospel or Good News about Jesus Christ. Therefore, fellowship is not just fun, but a wonderful time of working together to accomplish a goal for God. A good example of Bible fellowship is working together at a church work day or voulunteering to help send the Silent Word Newspaper. Hearing and Deaf people put mailing labels on the newspapers. Deaf people chat and hearing people sing as they enjoy fellowship together to send this paper to you!
Resources – Today the average person has many resources available to help him learn enough to study the Bible and teach good Bible lessons. One recommended Free resource is e-Sword computer program, which has a wide variety of commentaries, dictionaries, and a concordance. SWM has assembled several favorite e-Sword commentaries and tools. Download e-Sword from www.SilentWordMinistries.org.
Let’s teach and preach God’s Word verse by verse!
There is no substitute for the Word of God!