Standing up before a group and teaching the Bible is rather scary on several fronts. Perhaps that is as it should be, considering James' admonition to weigh things out carefully before even becoming a teacher of the Bible. He reminds us that teachers will indeed incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1) Ouch.
Over twenty years ago when I first began teaching Bible studies to women, I pulled from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 five commitments that I wanted to keep as I taught God's Word. I wrote those pledges in the front of my Bible and review them occasionally. Still, there are times when I realize I have been amiss in keeping one or more of them. It's easy to get full of self, over confident, and off on the wrong track as a teacher, isn't it?
If you're a teacher of God's Word on any level -- in a children's Sunday School class, to young girls, in a women's Bible study, or one-on-one -- you might benefit from adopting these commitments too. Here they are, straight from where I recorded them on the first blank page of my Bible. But they're also straight from Scripture.
- I commit to teach with humility and simplicity, always seeking truly to teach, never to impress (1 Corinthians 2:1).
- I commit to only teach Jesus -- His Word, His ways, His saving act of dying for us. I will not teach my own vain philosophies or psychology of the day. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
- I commit to be transparent and vulnerable before my students so that in my weakness He may be shown to be strong. (1 Corinthians 2:3)
- I commit to always invoke the Holy Spirit's presence and power, both as I prepare my lessons and as I teach. (1 Corinthians 2:4)
- I commit not to seek to build my own kingdom, but only the kingdom of God. I will not encourage dependency or even loyalty from my students. (1 Corinthians 2:5)
While it's not always been easy to keep these commitments, they've still served me well. I cannot improve upon them. They are still the ones that challenge me to stay on my toes, or more appropriately, on my knees. And they are the commitments that remind me who this is all about...certainly not me. No, I haven't always kept these promises perfectly, but keeping them before myself and making them the goal of my heart has, I believe, made me a better teacher.
If you are a Bible teacher, what commitments have you made in respect to that role? What commitment do you find to be the most challenging?
Labels: ministry, the Bible, The Ministry Map, Women's Ministry