3 Ways to Know Your Teaching is Biblically Sound

If I sit down to teach you the Bible, how do you know I know what I’m talking about??

Not to mention, How do I know I know what I’m talking about??

One of my greatest concerns about teaching the Bible is that I’d teach something wrong. I’m afraid I’ll use a verse out of context, manipulate Scripture to support my agenda, or forget to display Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. It’s downright scary.

Can you relate?

As it turns out, we’re not alone. I’ve been asking around and every solid Bible teacher says the same thing: “It’s a healthy fear that you should never outgrow.”

Every Christian has the responsibility of reverencing Scripture, working hard to teach it accurately, remembering that our hearts will easily deceive us and our human understanding will limit us. But, we must persist in teaching Scripture nonetheless.

So, I’ve been on a quest to discover helpful ways to live in the tension between teaching-the-Bible and shaking-in-our boots. Here are 3:

1. Submit to godly authority.

Last month, I read an article written by Jen Wilkin that rocked my world: “Pastors Need Women Teachers (And Vice Versa)“.  It reminded me that I don’t need to be a lone ranger; that I can – even should – expect to find a safe space within my local church to grow as a Bible teacher.  As it turns out, I (definitely) need the nurture and oversight of my church, and – I’m believing in faith – they need me.

This is a big reason why I’ll be meeting with our pastor and director of women’s ministry this week: to talk about how I can teach the Bible within the protection of our church leadership, doctrine, and membership. Maybe I can submit my teaching notes and study guides to a few  knowledgeable church leaders and learn from their feedback.

2. Stick close to doctrinely sound commentaries.

Bible scholars have invested years and years in studying Scripture, history, and languages. Their commentaries have been read and thoroughly critiqued by other bible scholars who have studied for years and years…  The commentaries that have made it onto the bookshelves of sound preachers and teachers are worth a close look and can inform my lessons.  Recently,  Jen Wilkin pointed me to an incredible list of “Top Commentaries on Every Book of the Bible” published by Ligonier Ministries, which is a goldmine of helpful insights and applications. I’ll be digging in…

3. Teach through the Bible, from the Bible.

They call it “expository teaching”. Basically, it’s the technique of teaching through a book of the Bible, verse by verse, allowing Scripture to inform the agenda, instead of asking Scripture to adhere to a human-made agenda.

For example, an expository teacher would rather teach through the book of Matthew and address fear when it comes up in chapter 14, than plan a lesson called “Overcoming Fear” based on 25 detached verses about fear.

I like the expository approach because it respects Scripture for what it is – a complete story – set in history but living through eternity –  about God Himself, glorifying Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and King over all.  

Of course, I’ve admired many topical teachers who maintain all of those high ideals, but they usually can teach topically because they’ve studied the Bible in an expository way.

Expository teaching makes me sigh with relief because it protects me, minimizing my chances of using a verse out of context, manipulating Scripture to support my agenda, or forgetting to display Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.

It also points my audience to the true Teacher, encouraging them to dig into Scripture and read it well for themselves. (Now that’s relief!) Then, when they need to find immediate guidance for fear, forgiveness, or suffering, they will know how to rely on the full counsel of God, select a few verses that really do apply to their situation and think about them rightly.

Though I’ll seize opportunities to speak about topics like  “motherhood” or “marriage” where I’ll need to pull Scripture verses from here or there, and I’ll continue to link to individual verses within my posts,  I think that when it comes to weekly Bible teaching, I’m going to camp out with expository teaching, working through verse by verse, in light of the whole Book.

What are your thoughts?

 

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11 Comments to "3 Ways to Know Your Teaching is Biblically Sound"

  1. November 15, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I really like the list and it’s perfect timing for me! Thanks, Laura!

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Sarah Mae! Enjoy.

  2. November 15, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I teach a women’s Bible study misrepresenting scripture in some way is always my largest fear. This is great information. Thank you!

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      I hope you find something helpful, Jennifer!

  3. November 15, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Laura! Thanks for this list. I’m experimenting with this on my blog right now going verse-by-verse through Philippians. Some sections are more challenging than others. Next week I hit Euodia and Syntyche. :)

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      :), Cindy. I’ll have to stop by and see how it’s going! You’ll have to fill us all in on your thoughts once you finish Philippians. Pros, cons, things you’ve learned?

  4. November 15, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    God’s been convicting me about expository teaching more and more these days. I’m reading a book “God is Able” right now that essentially is an exposition of 6 Bible verses. It’s like a breath of fresh air, I so appreciate how the author let’s scripture speak for itself. I need to get back to that.

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      KM Logan – “like a breath of fresh air” – I totally agree. Good words.

  5. November 15, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Hi, I’m Sara, I just found you via Sarah Mae’s tweet of this post. I really appreciate what you’ve said. In the context of preaching/teaching I prefer expository messages. Obviously there’s still room for “user error” but it seems less likely b/c by nature you’re reading/learning everything in context.
    I grew up in churches that preached through books and rarely, if ever, had topical messages. Where we are currently members there is a mix.

    Thanks, I’m going to check out some more of your blog now, I noticed some other links that look up my alley! :)

    • November 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Sara! So glad to “meet you” and I’m honored by your visit. :) I’d love to know what catches your eye!

  6. November 16, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Being biblically correct is at the heart of our church’s teaching and ministry. For this reason, in a nutshell, is why we only trust the KJV.

    I know the KJV/bible version-thing is a contentious issue for modern Christians, all the more reason that it is a very serious one. It is foolish to think satan wouldn’t attack God’s word. And he has within modern versions. But that’s all I’ll say on that here :)

    Here are some of the “how to study the bible” rules/helps I’ve learned:

    Use a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and look up every.single.mention of the particular word that you’re studying…the “law of first mention” – look up the first time God brought up such a word… keep everything in context (the who, what, why and where as it is revealed in the chapter you’re reading) some books were written to the Jews.

    The whole bible was written to 3 groups of people: the Jews, Gentiles and the Church. Today we have Christians who think they have replaced the Jews – which is not the case. We have people thinking that speaking in tongues is about some unintelligible language – but a careful study of the bible reveals it is referring to a “known language”. And so on.

    Last year I made a free printable of 15 Factors for Bible Study if you’d like to see it, here’s the link: http://www.halloffamemoms.com/2012/06/free-printable-15-important-factors-for-bible-study/

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