Teaching the Bible In the Spirit
If you are serving as the teacher for a Bible study class in your church or with a small group that gets together somewhere else for such study, such a role is evidence that you have probably been called by God through his Spirit to serve in such a very responsible position in his work of redemption in this world. In conducting your service, you should always be aware of the fact that all that you do in your preparation for and in the delivery of your service can best done through your personal surrender to the guidance of the Spirit within you. Jesus made it clear to his disciples before he left them, and to us, that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit”, whom he would leave with them, would be their teacher (See John 14:26). This means that you are only serving as the host for the teaching work of God’s Spirit with the group of disciples (learners) with whom you meet.
Guiding instructions for your teaching service
- Always approach your teaching service in prayer for the anointing guidance of the Spirit in what you do and say with your fellow disciples. Put your own skills and biblical insights into the background of what God is calling you to do.
- Make sure that you have prayerfully consulted and assembled all of the appropriate resources for your teaching session with your disciples. Each of the members of your class or group should have a copy of his or her own Bible for use as you together consider the message of God as recorded in the scriptural passages for your current study session.
- It might help to have several different translations of these Scriptures available for consultation during your study. The New American Standard Bible is an excellent translation that is based on the early Septuagint version of the biblical texts for most canons of Scripture. Avoid the use of paraphrases of the Bible in which the wording of its passages may not be completely correct and appropriate to express the truth of God’s inspired words. The use of various study Bibles with their cited scholarly notes and charts and illustrations and maps can be helpful. Just make sure that the scholarship of these resources is dependable.
- As you begin your consideration of the various passages of Scripture for your teaching session, make sure that you are prepared to clarify the context for each of these passages within their place in the text. Note that the numbering of “chapters and verses, not in the original text, were added by Cardinal Caro, 1236 A D, and Robert Stephens, 1551 A D”.1 So the best understanding for any selected text of Scripture is going to be received in accord with its larger context for the truth of God’s words.
- As you serve as the host for the Spirit’s teaching in your session, encourage everyone in the class or group to share their understandings of the biblical text that you are directly considering and how it might be applied in their life. Discussions of such individual insights can help each individual to clarify his or her own insights into the meaning and application of God’s message. Encourage questions from individuals and discuss possible answers to them from God’s word. Note that the perspective of no single individual, even that of yourself as the teacher, should be considered to be the final statement of God’s truth unless that individual has been clearly anointed and authorized to speak for God. Teaching the truth of God’s word is best done as a humble servant rather than as an authoritative prophet, unless you have been called for such a role in God’s work.
- Take your time in conducting the study of God’s word. It is fine if you can get through all of the cited passages and resources that are provided for each session as scheduled by the producer of your resources, but you don’t have to be absolutely restricted to that schedule. Let the Spirit manage the schedule for your teaching service and your students and you will both be greatly blessed.
- Help your students or group participants to summarize the basic insights that have been identified from your study and discussion during your teaching session and close your teaching session with prayer for the Spirit’s continued guidance in the lives of your fellow disciples.
Teaching the Bible is a special ministry for individuals who have been personally called by God for this role of service among groups of individuals in the world. To be engaged in this ministry does not required that a person be ordained by any Christian body or even to be recognized as a graduate of any academic institution with a degree in biblical studies. It would be well for individuals who are doing this for them to have some form of endorsement or approval by an established Christian church or body just to establish some authority and quality for what is being taught and how the studies are being conducted. This would help to prevent the participants in these studies from becoming subjected to the religious doctrines and practices of a cult or the teachings of any individual that are recognized as being heretical. God is the ultimate sovereign judge for the truthfulness and quality of what his servants teach to others in his name and the name of his Son, Jesus. And God holds the teachers of his collected Word personally responsible for their teachings. Anyone following the above principles in their efforts to teach the Bible to a group of individuals who come together to study it, should experience God’s blessings upon themselves and the process of their teaching service.
For some addition help with this ministry consult this statement on this website: “The Bible”.
1 Henry H. Halley, Bible Handbook, (copyright by Henry H. Halley, Chicago, Illinois, 1955) p. 854.