Is Great Bible Teaching Dialogue or Monologue?

It’s interesting to me that the Greek word for Paul’s drawn out teaching in Ephesus (Acts 20:7) is where we get our word for “dialogue,” not monologue. It seems that dialogues were and still are very effective for gaining understanding of God’s intentions and for spiritual formation.

For those of us with the gift of teaching or leadership being involved in a conversational Bible study is a tough thing because we are monologuers not dialoguers. A few suggestions for all of us:

  • Give your energy to listening as much as you do thinking about what you’d like to say when the listening is done.
  • Before speaking ask yourself this question, “Will my comment end the discussion?” For those who are not as well versed in the Bible as you, their being involved in the conversation is vital to his/her spiritual growth. If you voice the bottom line the conversation may end long before others get to process, speak, and experience growth.
  • Be careful to keep your comments short. You may have a monologue to share but the rest of the group came to experience a dialogue.
  • Don’t remain completely silent or the group will miss some very important input from you, simply remember that you are one player in the orchestra, not a one man band or the conductor of the band.

Statistics show that (from the Academic Skills Center, “Active Study,” Dartnouth College):

  1. People remember about 20 % of what they hear.
  2. People remember about 50 % of what they see.
  3. People remember about 70% of what they say themselves.

Most of the information stated here is from The Rabbit and the Elephant by Tony Dale, Felicity Dale, and George Barna.  

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Rick Howerton
Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.