Becoming a Better Bible Class Teacher

by Gene Taylor

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Every one who teaches Bible classes can do a better job. All can improve in some way or another. The person who holds the viewpoint, "I am good enough" or "I am so good that I cannot improve" is erroneous in their thinking. Can a person feel that way about his life as a Christian in general? Of course not! Since teaching the Bible is a part of that life, all should be able to improve.

Another erroneous attitude found on the opposite end of the spectrum is, "I can never do any teaching. I am not good enough." While it is true that our talents vary, compare the type of people the Lord selected for His work. They were common, ordinary folk who used what abilities they had, sought to develop them and then relied on the Lord for courage and strength.

Improvement as a Person Brings Improvement as a Teacher

Luke 2:52 speaks of the fourfold development of Jesus -- how He grew in wisdom, stature, favor with men and favor with God. Every Christian, including all teachers, should seeking to be growing in all of those areas.

Favor with God. Every teacher must be a consecrated Christian. Such consecration is needed because his subject is not secular but heavenly. He is teaching minds and souls, dealing in spiritual guidance. You teach what you are, therefore, the teacher's life must demonstrate faith and obedience. The student sees the instructor's inner life. If one's soul is empty, he has nothing to share. Strength comes from daily prayer, study and meditation. You can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).

Favor with men. In the secular world, employers expect employees to have the ability to do the job, be honest and get along with people. No less should be expected from those who work for the Lord. The teacher should love people. Loving people will cause him to be tolerant and tactful, able to handle difficult subjects and situations, and not to take himself too seriously.

Stature. This is a matter of personality -- the kind of person you are and the image you project to others. The teacher must always seek to be pleasant, sincere, enthusiastic and passionate.

Wisdom. The growing teacher is constantly reading and studying to expand his knowledge and mind. But he is also seeking to properly apply the knowledge he gains in a wise manner. He seeks to know his students so that he might effectively reach them. He will familiarize himself with different methods and techniques of teaching so that he will be able to handle any situation.

Some Practical Ways to Improve Yourself and Your Teaching

Analyze yourself and see where improvements can be made. Someone has said, "What you are is God's gift to you. What you become is your gift to Him." By becoming an effective teacher, you have great opportunities to influence people for good. Develop the art of getting along with people, learn the Bible, and become self-confident. Get down to the "grass roots" in developing individuals as Christians, lay up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:21), and be one who molds character.

Improvement can come through encouragement from within or without. You can improve by thinking of the importance of your work; thinking of the challenge of your work -- its unlimited possibilities; thinking of the reward of your work -- the joy when one you taught becomes a Christian or develops into a better one; and actual words of encouragement from others -- not flattery but in sincerity.

Improvement can come through self-supervision. Study yourself constantly. Try to develop your own spiritual life further. Learn to accept criticism from yourself and others. Concentrate on your weak points until they are mastered. Take advantage of opportunities. Make a conscious effort to try out the techniques you learn realizing that many will come naturally but others must be worked on.

Improvement can come through intensified study. A "know-it-all" attitude is out of place. We must always remember there is much we do not know. The more you learn, though, the more you will want to learn. Develop good reading habits. Even establish some kind of reading schedule for yourself.

Improvement can come through other people. Learn vicariously by seeing others at work. Observe other teachers. Do not mimic someone's faults but imitate their good points. Ask someone in whom you have confidence to sit in on your classes. Ask for frank appraisals of your work.

The greatest improvement can come through imitating Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher. He knew His students and their needs. He was master of the subject He was teaching. He lived in accordance with the demands he made of others. He had a keen intellect and reasoning power. He had emotion, energy and personality. He had aims in His work that would cause those who learned from him to be better physically, morally, aesthetically, intellectually, vocationally and spiritually.

Improvement comes through prayer. Prayer is a source of strength and wisdom for the Christian. It is a blessing that should never be taken for granted. It is that which should be offered every day. From prayer comes great blessings (Jas. 5:16). Use it to God's glory and your benefit.