Jump Start # 1709
2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Passing the baton—it’s hard in relay races and it’s hard in life. As one generation ages, the next generation moves into the positon of taking over. We see this all around us. Some of the great Rock ‘n Roll legends are now in their 70’s. I saw an interview with Ron Howard. We remember him as little Opie on Mayberry. He looks like an old man now. No one confuses me with being a young preacher any more. There is a spiritual legacy that is important for all of us to realize. Often, we don’t. It slips upon us and before we know it others are being pressed into service, often without fully knowing what they are doing.
The thrust of what Paul is saying in this passage is about the message. Teach others what you have heard from me. The King James states this: “…the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” You teach faithful men who will be able to teach. From Paul to Timothy, to faithful men, to others. Teach the same thing. That thought is found throughout the N.T. Philippians 4:9 is a great example of this. Don’t be original. Don’t be different. Don’t be unique. Don’t try to find what no one else has ever seen before. Teach what you were taught. Teach what Paul taught. That very thought would suck the air out of what a lot of moderns are doing today. They are doing anything and everything except what you find in the Bible. They have fooled the crowds. Feelings are in and doctrine is out. Paul wouldn’t put up with much of this junk today. Teach what he taught.
But there is another lesson here as well. Not only should the substance be taught to others, but how about the methods of teaching. Often, we hand someone a class book and tell him to go teach. He may never have taught before. He may not know how to teach. I understand this personally. I was in two preacher’s training programs and yet, I was never taught how to teach. I was given an assignment and pointed to a classroom. Maybe this very reason is why many congregations struggle to find teachers. Maybe it would be good to teach others how to teach.
Let me share some simple thoughts with you.
First, the Sunday morning class and the Wednesday night class are different. It’s different with kids and it’s different with adults. With children, they are sleepy on Sunday morning. It’s hard to get them going. Some come late. It’s a mess. On Wednesday, those same kids have been to school, had sugar and they are bouncing off the walls. The approach may need to be different. With the adults, it’s just the opposite. Sunday morning, they are alert and ready to learn. On Wednesday evening, they are tired. It shows in their faces. Same people, but different attention spans. The teacher needs to know this and make adjustments.
Second, in both high school classes and adult classes, you will find some who want to dominate. They want to answer every question. The teacher must be careful to call on others and draw others into the discussion. If he doesn’t, it won’t take long for people to think it’s a one-on-one class. The teacher and Mr. Dominate. Some get a kick out of being cute, sarcastic, and controversial. They like to push the envelop. They like to challenge the teacher. For these people, each class is an attempt to “stump the teacher.” Rather than add to the wealth of the class, they like to side track things, get the teacher off the subject and watch him sweat. How do you handle these situations? You can’t send someone to the principal’s office. There is no such thing. It helps being taught how to teach. The teacher is in charge of the class. He needs to lead it in the direction that he wants. He needs to stay with the material that he is supposed to teach. Some questions need to be answered in private. Some subjects are nothing more than an exercise in chasing rabbits. Not all rabbits need to be chased.
Third, at the end of the day, the Bible must be taught. That’s why we call these exercises, “Bible classes. “ That’s what they are. The word of God needs to be explained. Chit-chatting about a bunch of nothing, getting off telling stories and jokes and talking politics wastes valuable time. Do those things after class when you go out to eat with others. The teacher must do his homework. He needs to put his nose into the books and study. He needs to look at words and understand what passages are teaching. He needs to anticipate questions. He needs to challenge the thinking by asking thought provoking questions.
I have seen tired folks on a Wednesday night, leave energized and excited about what was studied that night. They saw the value of what was taught. This means the lessons need to be practical, relevant, and helpful. Even what seems to be dry and dusty Old Testament passages can be brought to life by the good work of a teacher.
Here are some tips that might help:
- Watch how others teach. Notice how they get through the material, the use of time, the questions they asked and how they handled questions.
- Talk to teachers. Ask them your “teaching” questions.
- Find useful material to do your research and homework.
- Put yourself in the context of the passage. Read it slowly. Look at the words. Consider things. Think. Look.
- Teaching is interesting if you find what you are teaching is interesting. Become passionate about your topic. Write some of your own material. Come up with your own questions.
- Get out of your comfort zone. If you don’t know how to use powerpoint, learn. If you don’t know how to make attractive class material, learn.
- The class is your friends. Remember that. They will help you. Don’t create a “me vs. you” situation. Be natural. Share yourself with the class. That will make you seem more real.
- Don’t get stuck always teaching the same way. There is a place for lectures, but don’t always lecture. There is a place for homework, but don’t always give the class homework. There is a place for quizzes, but not every week and every time. Not every study has to be, nor should be a verse-by- verse study. Try different approaches. Look at the text from different approaches. Notice questions asked in the text. Notice the reactions to miracles. Notice prayers said. Analyze sermons you find in Scriptures. Make your study fresh, interesting and useful.
- Keep on schedule. Most places use the quarter system. The classes are already set for what follows your class. So if you are supposed to finish a subject in that quarter, do just that. Don’t backlog the next set of classes because you got side tracked and didn’t finish what you were supposed to.
- Remember, above all, you are teaching God’s word. Be accurate. Be careful. Be honorable to God’s word. This is not a time to push your agenda, trash those you don’t like, air your complaints or try to introduce change. Teach God’s word. Remember, Paul to Timothy, to faithful brethren, to you.
When you teach God’s word you change lives. You give hope to those who are about to give up. You answer questions to those who were dwelling in fear and doubt. You show Christ to the very people who need Him. What a great honor and task teaching God’s word is. Give it your best. Always say a prayer before you begin. If one week doesn’t go so well, fall back, regroup, think about what you could have done differently and then get back in there.
Paul to Timothy…to faithful brethren…to us. Now, who will we pass this on to?