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How much should a teacher talk in class?

I start every class with a get to know you question. Then we get into "What does the text say?" questions. We gotta know what the Bible says before we can understand what it means. Then, we get into "What does the text mean?" questions. One of these I use quite often has to do with words.

What does the word workmanship mean in verse 10?

One key issue with all these question is this. These words actually mean something. We can’t just make up things we think they mean, or wish they mean. Bible study is not about pooled ignorance. Have you been to those classes? “Well, I think it means this.” “No. I think it means that.” “Well, I like to believe in a God who is nicer than that.” “Yeah, I like to believe in God that doesn’t get angry.”

God is who He is and us believing or not certain things about Him doesn’t change who He is. These words mean what they mean. We can’t just declare that we see it another way and suddenly make it so.

So, you might be thinking, “Why don’t I just tell them, since I know what the words mean?” Sometimes, you might want to do that. But, it is inherently more interesting to let the group share. And, if you are teaching adults who have been studying the Bible for a time, they will often have good answers. It is more interesting to ask them than to share all the answers yourself.  A rule of thumb is, the teacher in a small group should not talk more than half the time.

Get your copy of Good Questions Have Small Groups Talking: the book.