Preparing to Teach: Lesson 3 Class Notes

What is Teaching

Christ taught in a variety of situations: one-on-one teaching (personal interaction, John 4:1–42); small group learning (the disciples alone with Christ, Luke 22:14–38); large groups of people (the multitudes heard Him, Matt. 23:1–39). Believers today are responsible to continue the Lord's teaching ministry in all situations. The fourth part of the great commission given to the disciples is "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20). This is the most unglamorous and the most neglected part of the commission. This part of the commission will not fit into adding machines. It is difficult to put this part of the commission into statistical reports. We can report how many people have been baptized and how many have placed membership, but it is difficult to report the results of Bible Study in terms of statistics. And if a ministry cannot be reported in statistics, many congregations neglect it. It is hard to boast without statistics, leading some to conclude that if you can't count it, it is "no count." Furthermore, the disinterest in teaching is also seen in the fact that teaching is generally a thankless task. It involves a great deal of work and with few people being interested in being taught, not many folk want to get involved in the task of teaching.

What Are the Characteristics of Teaching?

Teaching is a science and is therefore governed by laws. E. L. Thorndike postulated three laws of learning:

  • The law of readiness: When one is ready to act to do so is pleasant, and not to do so is annoying.
  • The law of effect, satisfaction: When an act is pleasant, we tend to repeat it until it becomes a habit. If unpleasant, we tend to quit.
  • The law of exercise: An act once performed tends to be more easily performed again, while neglect makes an act more difficult.

Teaching is an art and is therefore governed by technique. (Lessons will follow on the tools of teaching and the technique of presentation.)

Teaching is a social act and therefore requires good inter-personal relationship between the teacher and the taught.

  • The teacher's attitude toward his pupils.

    • He is not a dictator issuing decrees, but a guide offering leadership.
    • He is stimulating the growth of pupils by setting them an example.
    • The teacher grows through the self-discipline he expects of the pupils.
    • The learning teacher glows with enthusiasm.
    • The learning teacher enjoys learning, and so do many of his pupils.
  • The right relationship between teacher and student enables the teacher to:

    • Take his pupil with him because he has learned to talk their language.
    • Bring a personal God to real persons.
    • Bring the Bible to right where the pupils live.
    • Encourage pupils to understand themselves because someone else understands them.

Teaching is a complex activity and therefore must be carried out according to purposeful plans and governed and guided by meaningful aims.

  • The importance of plans.

    • Anything that is not planned is "planless"; anything that is "planless" will likely fail to accomplish its purpose.
    • Just as any intelligent person demands detailed plans, specifications, and estimates of cost before proceeding to the building of a house, so teaching needs to be planned before it is carried into practice.
  • The value of purposeful plans.

    • It makes more likely the attainment of the inclusive aims of teaching.
    • A lesson plan helps to clarify objectives and to make them definite.
    • It provides for suitable transition from previous experiences to contemplated ones.
    • It makes for better selection and organization of content, material, procedures, and activities.
    • It tends to use of better methods of teaching.
    • Lesson planning gives confidence to inexperienced teachers and develops in them ability to improve more rapidly.
    • It serves as an incentive to the teacher to make adequate preparation.
    • It enables the teacher to teach with greater freedom.
    • It leads to elimination of many difficulties by anticipating them and by planning how to avoid or minimize them.
    • Reflective thinking done beforehand makes for better unity in lesson development than is possible from spontaneous planning done on the spur of the moment.
    • It stimulates the teacher to have ready pivotal questions and appropriate illustrations.
  • The importance and function of aims.

    • An aim implies activity directed in an orderly manner toward the accomplishment of some end. A bow shot into the air has a result, but not an end. An end is more than a result.
    • An aim is the major influence in controlling procedure in any great undertaking.
  • The function of aims in teaching.

    • Gives direction.
    • Makes for orderly continuity.
    • Provides a basis for selection of materials.
    • Provides a sound basis for measurement.
  • Inclusive aims of the Christian teacher.

    • To lead pupils to a knowledge of God's will. Note that this is different from imparting Bible knowledge.
    • To lead the pupil to follow or obey God's will.
    • Develop Christian character expressed through worship, right living, and efficient service.

Teaching is a simple act that can and will be accomplished by those who desire to do so. Only one step is required at a time. Anyone who possesses common sense and the love for the work, who studies the Scriptures and prays for wisdom, should have no difficulty.  

There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,

Can circumvent, or hinder or control

The firm resolve of a determined soul.

Gifts count for little; will alone is great.

No man can place a limit on thy strength.

All heights are thine, if thou wilt but believe

In thy Creator and thy self. At length

Some feet must tread some heights now unattained.

Why not thine own. Achieve!

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)