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Showing posts from August, 2017

The Sons of Korah and the Power of Historical Context for Bible Study

I've heard many a preacher say " A  text without a context is a pretext  for  a proof text".  Proof texts are usually Bible verses or passages that are often used by people who want to prove a particular point regarding a certain belief or doctrine.  Proof texts can be helpful but too often when using Bible verses as proof texts we strip them of their original meaning within the context they were written. Context is key to understanding a biblical passage.  Using context in understanding the Bible takes into account the author, their audience, the time frame, the culture, etc when trying to decipher the meaning of a text. Context often helps us understand and explain a passage, but it can also give a passage special meaning or background that helps us connect with it spiritually or emotionally.  Psalm 42 is an example of that, so lets look at that Psalm to better understand the use of context in reading and understanding a passage of Scripture. Many of you have heard o

I Give Thanks: A Prayer for all Sunday School Teachers

If you spend time reading the letters of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, it doesn't take long before you realize that Paul was a praying man.  He would tell the churches he was writing to how often he prayed for them.  He told Timothy "I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day". (2 Timothy 1:3) In many ways, I think that Paul believed that one of his primary ministries to those he discipled and to the churches he ministered to was prayer.  It was how the churches knew Paul cared deeply for them.  He prayed for them often. That is certainly the case for the church at Philippi.  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul uses very moving language in verses 3-11 to describe his joy and delight in them.  He told them in chapter 1 verse 4 that he was "always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer".  He knew that the Christians at Philippi were his true partners in the gospel.  He recognized that God had started a good work in the Philipp

5 Questions I Ask Myself Before I Teach

As teachers of God's word, we put a lot of work into preparing our lessons. We want to be faithful, articulate, engaging, and interesting all at the same time.  So below are 5 questions I ask myself both before and after preparing for a lesson.  I hope these help you as you prepare. 1. Is it interesting? This obviously isn't the most important part of a Bible study.  The Bible stands on its own as far as being interesting.  This question is a matter of engagement.  How can I help the members of my class connect with the lesson right from the start?  How can I grab their attention and draw them to the study within the first 3-5 minutes of the lesson.  I want people to be engaged right from the start, so I want to do something that gets them involved right from the beginning.  It could be a question to spark discussion or a story or a quote.  Use something at the beginning of your lesson to grab your people's attention. 2. Is it passionate? This applies to the whole le

Dear Teacher, Do You Love God's Word?

The Bible puts a high value on the teaching and preaching of word of God. James 3:1 says "Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment". (CSB)  The role of teacher is an important role in the church, and there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be one.  But it is clear that that a teacher of God's words has a higher level of accountability with God.  James was making sure in the early 1st century church that the word of God was being rightly divided.  He recognized how dangerous it would be for churches to allow misguided or untrained teachers to teach.  At best it could have led to biblical misunderstandings, and at worst it could have led to false teaching or heresy. With all that said, I take my role as a Christian educator seriously when it comes to appointing teachers.  Primary among the things a teacher should exhibit, I believe, is a passion and deep affection for the word of God.  Have any of you ever sat