Good Bible teachers make lessons relevant. We use media, games, personal stories and pop-culture to connect the Bible to our students’ lives. But in our desire to be relevant, we can inadvertently water down our Bible teaching. And none of us want to do that!
That’s why it’s important to position the Bible in a way that the text leads our conversations.
What Do I Mean? For many of your students, the time you spend in the Bible is the most meaningful time of Bible study they’ll encounter in a given week. Making sure we let the richness of the Bible text lead our time together is vital.
So what does this look like?
Here are a few thoughts on how to make sure the Bible leads your conversations.
1. Don’t sermonize. Instead practice guided discovery.
When we simply talk “at” students, we rob students of the chance to discover truth for themselves. We need to create intentional discussion where instead of telling kids what a passage says, we’re guiding them to discover the truth for themselves
2. Don’t skimp on application.
Find one or two key theological truths from a passage. Then, carve out time to challenge students to answer how this applies in their lives. Help them come up with practical things they can do to put a specific principle to work.
3. Empower students to teach.
Let your students read the passage and ask them what stands out as important. Ask what questions they have. Ask if this passage reminds them of any other passage. Allow them to work through a passage and discover what jumps out to them as significant.
4. Spend time mining the passage for content.
Oftentimes we don’t let the Bible lead because we haven’t done the work ahead of time to dig in to a passage. Pull out specific words from a passage and do a word study. Identify specific themes from a passage and trace them to other places in Scripture, seeing how the Bible reinforces itself. Spend time talking about the context surrounding a passage and how it fits into the greater narrative of Scripture
Here’s the deal: I’ve been teaching the Bible to teenagers pretty much weekly for the last 13 years. There has never been a time when there wasn’t enough there to engage my students. The Bible is perfectly capable of leading the conversation. It’s up to us to teach it in a way that enables it to lead.
We have to be creative and relevant in how we teach the Bible.
But let’s remember to create an environment where the Bible leads the discussion.