Bruce Wilkinson has an excellent book every teacher ought to read: The Seven Laws of the Learner. In it he tells the story of a seminary professor of his. He would often ride his bicycle by the home of the seminary professor. Sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late at night, he would drive by this professor’s home. Through the living room window Bruce could see the professor poring over the books.
The interesting thing was this: the professor taught New Testament survey. He had been teaching this class for decades. He knew the material in his sleep. But he kept studying. He kept reading. He kept preparing for every class just as if it were his first.
Bruce asked him why he did this. Why did he spend so much time going over material he clearly already knew? His answer was classic: I want to teach from a living stream.
Everyone knows the water from a living stream is better. Fast-moving water is better than stagnant water. It tastes better and it is better for you.
The same is true of teaching. The teaching that comes from a learning heart is better. Your people want to know what Jesus is teaching you now. Have you talked to Jesus lately? Are you struggling in prayer this week? Are you straining toward the prize this week? Are you learning this week?
I have heard too many Bible study lessons that go like this, “Back in ‘74 I had a situation and God showed me…” This is not to say that we should never share stories from a long time ago. Jesus said it this way
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:52 (NIV)
Notice that last line: new treasures as well as old. This is what Effective Bible Teachers do. They share new treasures as well as old. They tell of pivotal moments in their own life when God showed them life-altering truths. These moments will never be repeated and are appropriately recalled often. But Effective Bible Teachers do something more. They share from this week.
- This week’s learning.
- This week’s prayers.
- This week’s struggle.
- This week’s service.
People want to know: has Jesus taught you anything recently?