Help, I Have a Bad Bible Class Teacher!
“Bad,” what does that mean, really? Boring, stale, lectures, no personality, unprepared, goes on tangents, hard to understand, expects too much, expects too little ... How many items could we place on the list? Are they legitimate? What can be done? Is the problem the teacher or the student?
Let’s begin by establishing the importance of teaching others. Romans 12: 6-7 challenges us to use our gift of teaching. Ephesians 4:11-16 explains that we are to teach to, “build each other up to unity.” However, James 3:1-2 and Matthew 5:19 warn that teaching carries great responsibility. James 1:5 instructs us to pray for wisdom. Being unprepared is not acceptable (II Timothy 4:2); God’s word is being taught! Misrepresenting or causing confusion are serious teaching flaws (II Timothy 2: 14–16). As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to lovingly assist those teaching (I Corinthians 16:14) and show respect as Aquila and Priscilla demonstrated with Apollos (Acts 18:26).
Consider the teacher who accepts the monumental responsibility and possess the
knowledge needed yet is ineffective. That boring teacher who may be “too smart” to communicate so all can understand. Maybe the illustrations used are stale and the jokes told are old. Now the question is for the student. Is the lesson boring because I have not prepared, or I have the wrong attitude (James 4:10)? Can I move past my personal preferences to focus on God’s word? Where is my emphasis? Do I want to be entertained? How deep is my Bible study (II Timothy 2:15)? Can I focus on God’s word, not the presenter?
What is appealing for one student may be distracting or uncomfortable for another.
Group work, question/answer, demonstrations, Power Point, handouts, workbooks,
lecture, discussion – so many ways to teach and so many preferences. A large
auditorium class versus a small roundtable dictates various effective ways to deliver a lesson. How does a teacher meet the needs of every student in a 30-45-minute lesson? Students are at varying stages of spiritual development; how does a teacher address each one? They can’t! However, when a student meets the teacher half-way by disregarding personal preferences and being prepared for class the study can be more beneficial.
So, what is a teacher to do? First and foremost, teach the truth (II Timothy 2:15). Then strive to teach to the best of your abilities (Colossians 3:23 & 24). Christians are to learn and grow (II Peter 3:18). Teachers are to learn and grow as well by improving skills and accepting constructive criticism (Proverbs 27:9). Students are not to be uninvolved by-standers yet encourage (I Thessalians 5:11), be prepared, avoid being a distraction (I Corinthians 14:40), and focus on God’s word (I Peter 2: 1 & 2).
Teachers, strive to do your best. Students, don’t let it be said, “HELP, I have a bad class of Bible Students!”