Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whatsoever Teaching

Shimer College class 1995 octagonal table
Helene is a talented and very prolific writer. Seriously, she can write circles around me.  She's also a very busy woman.  One day I asked her how she found the time to do all of the Bible study that accompanies the kind of writing we do.  The answer was simple: She's a teacher.

In her life, Helene has done a lot of Bible teaching.  Ladies' Bible class, children's classes, homeschooling, she's done it all. She patiently explained to me that since she is deeply in the Word to teach these classes, much of her study serves a double purpose" to prepare to teach and to write for our humble blog.

As I thought about her words, I realized that teaching is another way to obey Philippians 4:8.  When we teach the Bible, we must be thinking on things that are pure, lovely, and excellent because the Bible is all these things.  

Simple reading of the Bible is important, but deep study can take us closer to the throne of God and help us grow into the women God wants us to be.  Sometimes, though, I am at a loss of what to study.  How does one choose a book or topic out of the whole Bible?  I don't know about you, but I get a little overwhelmed at the sheer size of Scripture, so much so that I quit before I get started.  

Teaching takes care of this problem in some ways. When teaching a ladies' class the needs and desires of the group guides my choice.  For instance, in our Thursday night ladies' Bible study, I decided that Casandra Martin's Women Opening the Word books would be perfect.   I suggested it to the ladies and gave them a list of these books so that they could choose which topic they wanted to study.    In our congregation, teaching a children's class is even easier because the elders have already chosen a curriculum. 

I used to wonder how teaching kids could possibly help me grow.  Do I really need to hear the story of Noah's ark or Daniel in the lion's den one more time? Can such simple lessons change my life?  The answer is yes!  For one thing, I don't have to confine my studies to the basics I teach the children.  A simple story about Noah's ark can become a deeper study of how the water of the flood corresponds to the water of baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21).  A good children's curriculum will often give further reading for the teacher and make connections that are less obvious.  For instance, a few weeks ago I spent two weeks on the story of Balaam with some first and second graders.  This character of talking donkey fame can be troubling.  He did as God said and blessed the Israelites, yet God was still angry with him.  The teacher's book I was using reminded me that Balaam had also counseled the Israelites to sin (Numbers 31:16).   It suggested that the seer was trying to do what Jesus said is impossible: follow two masters.  Teaching a class for children as young as six years old taught me something new. 

Although I'm not a teacher by training or by talent, I've been doing it more and more lately.  In the past year, I have grown more than I ever have through teaching and blog writing.  Since school is out for the summer, I've beefed up my Bible teaching at home.  Friday, I'll have another story to tell you about what I've learned teaching my own precious children.  If you've never taught a Bible class, I encourage you to think about it.  Like us, you may find that it prompts you to dig deeper into the Word and think on pure and lovely thoughts!   
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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