Arminian Today

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The Plea To Teach People To Study the Bible Themselves

The duty of the Bible teacher should be to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16) and to hear from God themselves through His Word (John 10:27).  The Bible is the voice of God.  When Scripture speaks, God is speaking (Hebrews 12:25).  The Bible is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16).  The Bible is the only weapon God has given us to fight with (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).  Jesus fought off the temptations of Satan with the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11) as He quoted from the book of Deuteronomy in response to Satan.  None can be saved apart from the preaching of the Word of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21; cf. Romans 10:13-17).

So the Bible is of uttermost importance to the Church.  Yet why do we fail to teach the Bible?  We perhaps reference the Bible in our teaching or we perhaps use the Bible as a springboard and then we fill our talks with illustrations that lack the power of God unto salvation.  The Bible teacher should delight themselves in the Word of God to the point that the Word flows from our lips like honey (Psalm 19:10).  Our passion should be to not only communicate the Word of God so that people hear the Word and understand it (Nehemiah 8:8).  We should also desire to teach people how to hear from God for themselves when they are alone studying His Word.  We should not be so foolish as to make people dependent upon us to hear from God.  They need to hear from God themselves and thus why it is vital that the people of God learn to study and apply the Scriptures themselves.

How often have people heard a speaker but they failed to hear from God.  How often have we have speakers in the church assembly who failed to teach the Scriptures, failed to show the people of God how to hear from heaven and how to apply the Word of God to our lives.  How often have we Bible teachers failed to be what our title suggests, a faithful Bible teacher.  The heart of the Bible teacher is to instruct people in the Word and when we are done, people should have heard from God in His Word and they should be learning how to study the Bible.

How can this happen?  I believe the primary means is expository teaching.  Verse by verse teaching is vital to hearing the full counsel of God and for learning how to study the Bible.  Expository teaching is largely not found in the Church, I believe, because it requires the Bible teacher to actually study the Bible.  Anyone can open up a Thompson Chain Reference Bible and teach a topical talk on various subjects.  Anyone can buy a book and learn from the book about a subject and then find a few Bible passages to back up your points.  Expository teaching requires you to study the Bible verse by verse, theme by theme, subject by subject, precept upon precept, line upon line.  It is hard work but a delight to the disciple who loves the Bible and loves to hear from Jesus.  It requires hours of prayer, hours of diligently working through the text (sometimes many, many times), studying the original languages, and seeking to apply the text to your own life before asking the saints of God to apply it to their lives.  Expository teaching uses an essentially literal Bible translation mainly out of a love for the original texts and a desire to give people the true Word of God as opposed to a dynamic equivalent translation that only gives people the translator’s opinions about the text and not always just the text (see Ephesians 3:18-19 for example in the ESV and the NIV and notice how the NIV seeks to tell us what verse 18 is implying but does not say as the ESV correctly translates).  How often have I heard topical teachers using sometimes 5 different Bible translations in a talk all because the wording of the translation fit their point (see Rick Warren’s talks for a classic case of this).

When the Bible teacher is done teaching, the people of God should have heard from God through His Word and should learn more about the Word of God from your talk.  Is that the case?  When we are done teaching we should have helped the saints learn a little more about how to study and apply the Bible to their lives.  Expository teaching is the most effective for this because it shows the saints how the Scriptures fit together, how to study the Scriptures verse by verse, and how to apply what we read to our lives.  If we truly believe that the Bible is the God breathed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) then let us be faithful to teach the Word and apply the Word to our lives and the lives of the saints as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/18/2012 at 10:22 AM

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