Matching the Methods with the Message in Bible Class
Early in my teaching career, I had two conversations that have come to represent for me two “equal but opposite” dangers in teaching Bible class.
The first conversation was with a Bible teacher in another school. He told me that his students weren’t that much interested in reading the Bible, so he had developed a curriculum that mostly involved watching movies and discussing the “themes” or “morals” presented. Were the students engaged? Yes… engaged with their own ideas and values, but not with God and His Word.
The second conversation was with a friend who was sharing with me her experience of Bible class in high school. Since I knew this friend had been an active member of her church as a teen, attended a good Christian school and was an avid Bible reader, I was surprised to hear her say that she hated Bible class. Why? It was “just reading comprehension”. Were the students reading the Bible? Yes… reading with enough attention to fill in the blanks on their worksheet, but not reading to engage with what God has said and transform their lives.
The danger I see with both of these approaches to Bible class is that the methods being used to teach the Bible don’t match the message we want our students to hear. The teachers in these example may well have believed that the Bible is powerfully relevant to modern life, and wanted their students to know this, but their choice of teaching methods communicated something quite different.
Which message do you think the students actually heard?
What methods of Bible teaching would be more consistent with the message we are wanting our students to hear?