Thursday, March 15, 2007

Teaching versus Preaching the Bible

This coming Monday (March 19th) I'm going to start teaching the book of Romans from the New Testament. I can't believe it's taken me four years to get to a place where I have the time to do this. I love teaching, especially the Bible.

Did you know that teaching and preaching the Bible are two different things? At least it is for me. On Sundays I preach. I study what the Bible has to say on a topic and my goal is to make one point that you can take home and apply. I bring "pre-digested" information that is easily understandable (well, that's the goal!) and immediately applicable. It really answers the practical question: How does God want me to live my life?

But when I teach the Bible, I have different goals. I want to teach YOU how to do what I do every week with my sermon. I work to give you the tools to digest what you read and apply the information to your life. When you walk out of a "class" you are loaded with information, not to apply that week, but to return to over and over again as a resource throughout your life.

When I first decided to follow Jesus I read and studied the Bible all the time. I was like a sponge. But now, 30 years later, all that knowledge is something that I'm still processing and dissecting and learning how to apply to my life (and helping others do the same).

I think we all need both teaching and preaching. We need to be motivated regarding what to do right now, but we all need to know how to study the Bible for ourselves so God can speak to us through his word whenever he wants to.

My class on Romans will run for eight weeks (Mondays, 7 - 8:30pm at the Cedarbrook Center in the Shops Off Broadway Mall). I hope to run it for 8 weeks, take a few weeks off and run another 8 weeks. So if you are reading this months from now, there's a good chance that I'm still teaching on Monday night. I'll hope you'll join me. Once you get ahold of what the Bible is saying, it tends to get ahold of you!