I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free resource. This week, we will look at part of the philosophy behind Explore the Bible (a Bible study for groups of all ages) and give away a free HCSB Study Bible.
There is a massive difference between teaching what the Bible says and using the Bible to support what you want to say. This is not to say that teaching that addresses life is unfaithful. There are times when leaders start where people are, with issues in the culture, or with struggles in people’s lives and bring the truth of God, revealed to us in Scripture, to bear on those issues. But the aim must be to point people to what God says, and not use what God has said to bolster what we want to say.
As leaders who will be held accountable for how we have shared God’s Word, let us teach the Scripture with great awe and fear for the One who has given His Word to us. I asked our Explore the Bible team for some questions we might ask ourselves, as we prepare, to see if we are using the Bible instead of teaching the Bible.
1. Have I Deviated from Scripture’s Original Intent?
Imagine the original author whom the Holy Spirit directed to write the Scripture you are teaching. Imagine him sitting in on your session or message with an understanding of our current day’s culture and setting. If he would object to the way you apply a given passage, then you have taken the passage in a direction that it was not meant to be taken.
2. Did I Merely Decorate My Lecture with Scripture?
This potential pitfall goes back to your preparation time. Are you writing out your message first and then using a concordance to decorate your outline with Bible verses? A message sprinkled with passages is very different than a message rooted in the text. A message may be informational or inspirational, but only the Word makes one transformational.
3. Am I Teaching This Passage in Context?
If the proper context of the passage gets in the way of what you are trying to say, then you are saying the wrong thing. If someone hears your message, and then is surprised by what he or she finds after digging into the focal passage’s literary or historical context, then you are using Scripture instead of teaching it.
The apostle Peter reminds us, “First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Such esteem for the nature of Scripture and the conviction to study the Scripture is what drives our philosophy behind Explore the Bible—a book-by-book curriculum for all ages. Today, I am giving away 5 copies of the HCSB Study Bible in hopes that more ministry leaders will be equipped to teach the Word and not merely use it.
To register for the giveaway, click here or register in the form below before midnight tonight, May 4, 2016.
You can also purchase a copy here, at 1-800-458-2772, or at LifeWay Christian Stores, or one of our partners. Click here for more information on Explore the Bible.