You have a group of people who want to learn more about the Bible, and they want you to teach them? What an awesome responsibility! I’m sure you’ll be praying about it and asking God for help. But here’s some important information you’ll need which will help you get ready and teach more effectively.
In the Greek language, Paul used two different words to describe knowledge:
- One word referred to intellectual knowledge (head knowledge).
- The other referred to experiential knowledge (heart knowledge).
Good Bible teaching will help people gain head knowledge which will move 16 inches down and become heart knowledge – real life experience. Experiential knowledge is best gained when we use all parts of our mind and senses to take it in. Research shows that we remember:
- 10% of what we read (e.g. a book).
- 20% of what we hear (e.g. a speaker).
- 30% of what we see (e.g. a poster ad).
- 40% of what we hear and see (e.g. a T.V. program).
- 70% of what we say (when we give a talk or are talking).
- 90% of what we say and do (where we are actively involved in the process).
Learner-centered teaching is where the learner is actively involved. Learning has really taken place when a person’s life has changed. In other words, we need to teach with a method that lets the learner discover facts they can apply to their lives today and hopefully in the future.
Planning a Lesson
Following are some tips to help you plan your Bible study, keeping in mind the need for learner-centered teaching.
1. After you have picked the portion of the Bible you want to teach, work through the passage yourself.
This is always the first step in lesson planning and should be done early in the week. This extra work will allow you to think about it, learn it yourself, add to and revise the study during the week.
2. Identify the central truth.
Ask yourself, “What is the main fact or point I want the group to learn from this study?” For instance, your central truth may be that Jesus Christ is God and the only way to reach God.
3. Know your goals.
What do you want the students to do as a result of discovering the central truth? For example, you may hope that by the end of this lesson the students are able to tell another person three ways Jesus is unique.
Make sure your goals are ownable (the students want to do it), reachable (they are able to do it), and measurable (you can find out if they did it).
4. Make a list of your students and what you think they need to understand from the lesson.
This will help you stay person-centered rather than material-centered. Who wants a bunch of information thrown at them? Use this list for prayer during the week too.
Leading the Study
1. Begin with a short learning activity that gets their minds where their bodies are.
You want to get them thinking about the central truth. You might do this through a skit, drawing, or game. Just be creative. This usually takes about 5-10 minutes. For example, you might want them to think about how God searches for lost people. Hide a pager somewhere and set it off, seeing who can find it first.
2. Let them discover what the material has to say about the central truth.
Ask questions about the lesson content. Use open-ended discussion questions rather than ones with “yes” or “no” answers. Read appropriate Scriptures. Let them figure out how this truth relates to their lives.
3. Help them apply the central truth to their lives.
Once they’ve figured this out, they need to apply the truth to their life during the week. Help them see how the truth directly affects their lives. The success of the study depends on how you help them understand what the central truth is and how it applies to their life.
Organizing the Time
The flow of the Bible study needs to be just right. If you spend too much time eating and socializing, you won’t have enough time to dig into God’s Word. On the other hand, if you just study and don’t let the students interact with each other, they may only see the study as an intellectual exercise and not something that applies to their lives right now.
Flow of Your Study
Here’s a suggested flow for your Bible study:
1. Refreshments (20 min.) – Unhindered talking, sharing, and settling
2. Bring group together (5 min.) – Use a catch/hook statement or learning activity to get their attention and introduce the theme
3. Bible Study (30 min.) – Discover the central truth and apply it.
4. Prayer (10 min.) – Pray conversationally if the students are willing.
5. Conclusion – Make announcements for upcoming meetings and plan any other activities. Give rides home to kids who need them.