I’ve enjoyed spending these weeks with you focused on sound Biblical hermeneutics. Thank you for indulging me. Today we will finish this particular journey.
Now that you’ve developed your exegetical outline, and the exegetical “big picture” of the passage you’re studying, I’ll offer just three more suggestions for those of you who plan to teach what you’ve learned.
- Exegete your audience. What areas of their lives do you hope to touch, and thus to bless? What are their needs and their concerns? How might this text profoundly impact, for God’s glory, those whom you will teach? Pray your heart out, friends. Never forget that you want to scratch where there’s really an itch. I’ve heard it said like this: A fuzzy target always calls forth a wobbly arrow. (You and I don’t want to be wobbly arrows.) We call this process of relating the lesson to the hearers contextualization.
- Now you have a “big idea” for teaching (or preaching). This will be the main thing. Don’t lose it. Be creative in your preparation and in your presentation, especially in the way that you plan your introduction. Experts tell us that it takes 100 suggestions to come up with only eight ideas of any real merit, so take your time getting ready to teach. Think outside the box. Be creative in your language. Be clear and concise. Be lively in your tone. Be winsome and energetic. Be yourself. Unless you’re boring, in which case (I can’t seem to get away from our culinary theme): SPICE IT UP! Nobody likes bland.
- Pepper (there I go again) your teaching with vivid and appropriate illustrations. Appropriate illustrations are those driven by the text itself. Ask the Lord to show you if any part of your presentation has wandered away from the Word. If it has, remove it. You’re a teacher of God’s truth, so that’s always the overriding standard. Offer some suggested applications of the lesson, if that’s appropriate in your teaching context, but always leave room for the Holy Spirit to make His own applications as you teach. (That’s when it really gets exciting!) So get on your knees and ask the Lord to season everything that you’ve prepared with love (First Corinthians 16:14).
Pastor Jason A. Van Bemmel offers four key guidelines for keeping all of us accountable to the truth of Scripture. These won’t be new ideas for you, if you’ve been following this series, but they’re wisely and succinctly expressed here, and worth noting.
- We have to be sure to check our interpretation of any text of Scripture against other Scripture. (Allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.)
- We need to check our interpretation against sound, orthodox interpretations from scholars and commentators.
- We need to hold all of our views with sufficient humility that we’re willing to change them in submission to Scripture.
- We need to be in the community of a solid God-honoring, Bible-believing, Gospel-proclaiming church where others can help check our interpretations.
This whole process requires hard work, and it requires Christlike humility – humility before the Lord, and humility before those whom we’re privileged to serve by rightly dividing God’s Word.