Making Class Interesting When the Passage is
by Josh Hunt
All scripture is inspired by God.
All scripture is equally inspired by God. But it is not all equally inspiring!
Let's face it, some passages are a pretty hard read. Harder still to create a
stimulating discussion. Here are some tips to make class interesting when the
passage is boring.
was written over a long period of time to a variety of people with a variety of
needs. Some passages were not really written for us, and it makes sense that
they do not apply to us directly. We can be thankful we have these passage and
appreciative of their God-inspired quality while candidly acknowledging that
they are not as inspiring as some other parts of the Bible
Class visioning, organization,
evaluation and health
When the text is boring, you might
spend a little extra time on issues related to the class, but not related to the
text. Spend some time evaluating how the group feels about your experience
together. Set some goals. Cast a vision. Get organized. Plan some fellowships.
Get as many people with roles and tasks as you can. Get an inreach leader,
outreach leader, fellowship leader, etc.
Group life has two goals: to get to know the Bible and to get
to know one another. When the passage is boring, spend a little time getting to
know one another. Have one person each week share their testimony, or let the
group get to interview them.
Quiet time accountability
I was talking to a friend the other day about how I love my
life. I work out of a home office and am self-employed. I get up on my own, take
a bath and show up for work without a boss. I love it. I am one of those people
for whom work is more fun than play. I tend to have to discipline myself to play
with my kids more than I discipline myself to do my work. My friend looked me in
the eye and said, "I could never do what you do. If I tired I would sleep in,
read the sports page, watch CNN, fritter around and next thing you know it would
be 11:30 and I wouldn't have done a thing." Then he looked at me and said, "And
I think more people are like me than like you." I think he is right. Most people
need external forms of accountability. They need people to ask them from time to
time, "What are you and God talking about these days? What have you read in your
quiet time?" If the passage is boring, you could spend some time on this with
Teach the topic
Sometimes you can summarize the meaning of the passage into a Biblical principle
and talk about that principle. In Leviticus you might derive a principle about
holiness or worship or atonement and talk about that topic.
Teach cross references and related passages
"This reminds me of another passage. . ." And off you go to
that other passage!
Zoom in: Look for details in the text
Sometimes one work is enough to create a good lesson. I have
done a whole sermon on the word "beloved." From a homiletical viewpoint it was
not one of my best, but it sure was well received. There is a passage in one of
the gospels that says, "Go, tell the disciples and Peter. . ." There is a great
lesson in those two words, "and Peter."
Take it as a
I have talked to snow skiers who see themselves
as expert skiers except, "I don't sky powder well, and mogals kind of trip me up
and everyone hates ice and steep slopes are not my forte and, and, and. . ." The
deal is, this is snow skiing. It is about mogals and steep slopes and powder and
so on. If you can't ski that, you can't ski. Teachers are sometimes the same
way. They can do a bang up job in Philippians 2, but drop them in the middle of
Numbers somewhere and they are outta here. Take it as a challenge. You are a
good teacher. Good teachers make difficult passages interesting.
Zoom out - teach the context
believers know the stories of the Bible, but they do not know the story of the
Bible. Spend some time putting the difficult passage in context of the whole
them this is a boring passage and don't be bored yourself. Find something to get
excited about. If you are enthusiastic, the people will be to even if this is a
difficult passage. I think it is a sin to bore people with the gospel. Get
excited about something.
worse come to worse, punt. Don't teach the boring passage. Set aside the
literature. Teach something else. Far better to do that than to bore people with
the gospel. The number one problem in the American Sunday School is boredom.
Don't be part of the problem. Pray Ask God why he put this passage in there. Ask
Him what He would have you teach His children. Ask for the meaning behind the
passage. Ask for wisdom. Ask for ability. Ask for enthusiasm.