"How can I become a Bible teacher?"

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"How can I become a Bible teacher?"

Post by steve » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:18 pm

I received and replied to the following correspondence in today's email. Feel free to add any counsel that I might pass along to this brother:

Hello Steve,
I believe I'm called to be a bible teacher, and listening to the way you teach has inspired me to move in that direction. I welcome any advice you offer me.
Sincerely, JD


Thanks for writing. There are two major aspects to being useful as a teacher: First, you must know your subject, and second, you must be good at transmitting that knowledge in an understandable and memorable way to other people. The first of these, knowledge of the Bible, generally accumulates through personal study, meditation, and formal instruction. The second, the ability to mentally organize ideas and to communicate them powerfully to others can be a combination of native wit, honed skills and spiritual gifting.

Most important, in my opinion, is that one teaches because of a calling from God. Teachers are a gift from God to the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11). If you are one of those whom God wishes to give to the Church as a teacher, there will be evidence in that you will have some abilities in that activity, as well as opportunities. Learning the Bible thoroughly would be the first priority. Ability to teach, if present, should become evident once that knowledge is expressed in social interaction with others. This usually leads to opportunities.

In my case, I read the Bible from my youth, and began studying it intensively as a teenager. In my early teens, others knew I was called to teach before I did. As a result of ordinary interactions in Baptist Sunday School classes, my young peers regarded me as the one most likely among them to become a preacher. In my later teens, in the context of the Jesus Movement, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, resulting in greater passion to study the Bible, and a better understanding of what I was reading, and how each part seemed to fit the larger whole. My opportunities actually to teach the Bible arose out of informal fellowship settings where the Bible was being casually discussed among friends. My partners in these discussions eventually asked if I would teach them, and "it" began. "It" has not yet abated, now 45 years later.

Realize, I don't know anything at all about you. I am not able to give much advice about the next step until I know something about where you are and where you have come from. Here are some questions that occur to me:

1. Is teaching something you would like to do "on the side" and "in your spare time" while doing another career, or are you thinking of a full-time ministry?

Are you in another career, or are you a student, a young person, a retired person? If you are in another career, is it something you can continue while preparing for ministry, or does it interfere with such preparation? Do you have a family or a wife that depends upon your financial support? Are you a recent convert, a seasoned Christian, a minister involved in something other than teaching scripture?

2. Why are you interested in teaching?

Is your grasp of scripture fairly comprehensive, or are you just starting out in learning? Do you sense some strong "calling" from God, which would render it impossible for you to give up on the prospect of being a teacher? Do you have some noticeable aptitude for imparting understanding to others? Do people often ask you to explain biblical things, and do you find yourself able or unable to do so?

I ask all these things because the answers would give me some ideas as to what you might do next, if you are to prepare for teaching ministry. Perhaps you could fill me in a bit.

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