Teaching Bible – Building the Lesson

Teach a book in the Bible – The advantages of teaching out of a book of the Bible are:

  • You won’t have to figure out what topic of the Bible to teach each week.
  • Your people will know where you will be studying next, so the studies are cohesive.
  • They will get a good understanding of an entire book at a time.  Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are good starters because they contain basic Christian doctrine.

Teaching a book of the Bible:

  • Read the book and divide it into logical passages of scripture from which you can teach lessons.
  • Generally, one chapter is too large a passage to teach in one lesson.
  • Read the passage you are going to teach numerous times until a “theme” in the passage becomes apparent.  This theme is important because it will dictate how you outline the passage in order to make your lesson cohesive.  For example, possible themes for the first three lessons in Ephesians could be:
    • Eph 1:1-14 Spiritual Blessings in High Places
    • Eph 1:15-23 Prayers for Saints
    • Eph 2:1-10 From a Wicked Past to a Glorious Future
  • Once you have a theme for the passage then you can outline how each verse expounds the theme. For example, in Eph 1:1-14 the theme is Spiritual Blessings in High Places.  So, the outline could look like this: Because we are saved, we have received a number of spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3). These spiritual blessings include the following:
    • The blessing of being blameless before him (v. 4)
    • The blessing of being adopted by him (v. 5)
    • The blessing of being accepted by him (v. 6)
    • The blessing of being redeemed by him (v. 7)
    • The blessing of being given wisdom by him (vs. 8-9)
    • The blessing of being one with him (v. 10)
    • The blessing of being a joint heir with him (v. 11-12)
    • The blessing of being sealed by him (v. 13-14)
  • When you have the passage outlined, then you can add “meat to the bones” and add cross references to the major doctrinal points that help your students learn the passage you are teaching and the references that expound it.  For example, under “We are blameless before him” (v.4), we can add these comments:
    • Right now we are already justified by him (Rom 5:9). However, we still live in a body of sin. When we actually stand before God, we will be totally holy and blameless in our sprit, soul and body (1 Thes 5:23). That’s because we will have a glorified body (Phil 3:21). So, there’s more to come. This is the predestination of everyone in Christ.
  • It is not so important that the lesson come to a conclusion, but it is important that you leave some room or time at the end of the lesson to summarize it before you close.

Teach topics of the Bible – like eternal security, the rapture, the 2nd Coming, salvation, baptism, tithing, etc. where your material is the Bible, not someone’s slant on the Bible.  The advantages of teaching different topics are:

  • You can adjust your teaching each week to what your folks need.
  • You’ll be teaching something that is particularly interesting to you at that time.
  • You can get people grounded in basic Bible doctrines more quickly.

Teaching a topic of the Bible:

  • Read every verse that pertains to the topic you are going to teach, pay careful attention to the contexts in which these verses appear so that you don’t lift a verse out of context and make it teach something that it doesn’t say.
  • Print out the verses that you are going to use to teach the topic.  If the topic is too broad and there are too many verses to teach it succinctly, then narrow the topic or teach it in segments.
  • Use only verses that clearly address the topic you are teaching.  Some of the verses will be repetitive and some will be somewhat unrelated.  There is no need to load up your lesson with an excess of references and verses.  It will be hard to keep everyone together and finish the lesson on time.
  • Organize the verses in a logical fashion so that they progressively reveal the topic you are teaching.  In other words, let the lesson build as you teach it.  Don’t just randomly or even chronologically list a bunch of verses and then read off what they say.  There is no cohesion to a lesson like that.
  • Arrange the verses so that the points that are most closely related are next to each other.

Teach the word of God, not your favorite subjects:

  • Experiences and subjects may help to illustrate what you are teaching and may help you to apply what you are teaching but they should not ever be the subject of your teaching.
  • Your personal convictions are just that, personal, so avoid teaching them as doctrine.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare and PRAY while you prepare:

  • Build Expository Outlines – Damon Woods taught by preparing an expository outline for the text he was teaching.  At PBI, we were taught everything verse by verse as far as we could go during each class session.  However, our teacher was Dr. Ruckman and we were students receiving lots of repetition each day.  In the pulpit, you aren’t going to match Dr. Ruckman and your “students” are church members.  They will hear you teach no more than 2 times each week, maybe 3, depending what you do on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and how often they come to hear you.
  • Cross reference scripture with scripture – this is absolutely the best way to “expound” the verse or text.
  • Keep it simple – complicated teaching may make you look intellectual, but it will not feed sheep.
  • Illustrate – appropriate illustrations are invaluable tools to get a point across.  Jesus used them frequently.
  • Don’t overload them – It’s better to leave them a little hungry and ready for more than bloated and sleepy (the same way we are after a huge meal).
  • Consider your audience: their knowledge, their age, and their attention span