Author: Ron Graham
—Top six principles
As you know, the Bible teacher’s task is made easier and his or her ministry is more productive, if the teacher works along certain simple principles. Some of those principles are pointed out below. And naturally, in presenting simplybible.com to you, I am guided by these principles.
1 Provide Comprehensive Information
Paul said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "I did not draw back from decaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
When Paul taught on a subject, he did not give a lop-sided account of the topic or leave holes in his lesson. He covered the matter thoroughly so that people got a good rounded view of God’s word on the matter. In the same way, over time, he covered all profitable topics fully and did not leave unsaid what ought to be said. He provided a balanced diet of the word.
2 Provide a Permanent Reference
Paul did not just go about teaching orally, but also put his teaching into writing. Peter refers to Paul’s letters and "the rest of the scriptures" that apostles and prophets wrote and which served as a permanent record for people to refer to.
Whilst we do not write scripture by divine inspiration, nevertheless it is helpful to those whom we teach to follow the example of writing down the teaching so that people can refer to it even when we are not personally present. This makes our teaching far more lasting in its effect, and has the advantage of continuing our ministry even beyond our death.
3 Direct Teaching Toward Fruitful Results
Paul was always keen to "avoid foolish controversies" (Titus 3:9) and to have his labor bear fruit (Philippians 1:22, 4:17).
The sort of fruit he looked for was that people were built up in their knowledge and commitment and in their ability to teach others what they had been taught (2Timothy 2:2). When preparing our lessons, we need to have a clear idea of what good purpose we want the lesson to serve for the people who hear or read it.
4 Direct People to Scripture, Not Worldly Wisdom
Paul encouraged Timothy to present the scriptures in his teaching and exhortation (2Timothy 3:14-17). Paul was concerned that people’s "faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God" by which he meant the gospel of Christ (1Corinthians 2:5, Romans 1:16-17).
5 Direct People’s Support Toward the Teaching
Paul commanded, "Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches" (Galatians 6:6). The Lord Jesus himself "directed those who preach the gospel to get their living from the gospel" (1Corinthians 9:14).
There are times when it may be good to be independent and self-supported. Paul after all made tents. It may even be that someone has independent means, and does not need wages for work.
But we are talking ministry principles here. The scriptures never state as a principle, that those whose calling is to preach and teach the gospel should work without wages to live on.
6 Keep on Urging
Paul often uses the phrase, "Now I urge you brethren..." (Romans 12:1, Romans 15:30 etc).
This word "urge" translates the Greek word παρακαλεω parakaleo which means to intreat, beseech, plead with, appeal to. The Greek word conveys the idea of calling people to your side to co-operate with you and receive encouragement from you.
The Urge way of dealing with people seeks to win them rather than to win an argument. It promotes a strong and positive presentation of the truth.
At the new year of 1987, I set out to produce numerous Bible study outlines for use in Bible classes. Each outline was presented on a single page so it could be photocopied as a handout. The project was built on the concepts and principles presented in the lesson above. A number of churches of Christ in Australia kindly supported and used the Urge series of Bible studies. A lot of the material on simplybible.com has been developed from these outlines.