“WE’RE NOT FOURTH GRADERS!”
One of my oldest friends (not oldest chronologically, but one of the friends I’ve had the longest), Russ and I had breakfast together a couple of days this week.
Russ & Linda come to Texas every January to visit with us for a few days. Russ heads to Lubbock to speak for the Sunset Workshop and the girls go shopping.
Anyway, we were eating breakfast and Russ told me about recently volunteering to help Linda with her first grade Bible class on a Wednesday night (Russ & Linda have worked with the church in Fulton, MS for nearly twenty years!).
It was a singing night for the adults; therefore Russ thought it would be a good opportunity for him to spend some time with the children. He decided to talk to them about faith.
Russ was “waxing eloquently” about faith, discussing scriptures, and even writing notes on the board. He felt pretty good about what he was doing until one of the first grade boys raised his hand and said, “MR. RUSS, WE’RE NOT FOURTH GRADERS!”
Laura and I recently had the privilege of beginning a Bible study with a young lady who was raised in a foreign country. Until recently she had never attended a church of Christ and she knows very little, if anything about the Bible.
This wonderful young lady, her husband, and their son starting visiting with us because of an invitation from some co-workers. She has a burning desire to learn more. It is refreshing and challenging to study the Word of God with this couple.
Russ’s experience in the first grade Bible class and our experience in this Bible study have brought me face to face with reality. Please allow me to make some suggestions that might be of help to those of us who teach and preach the Word of God.
REMEMBER THAT NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME AMOUNT OF BIBLE KNOWLEDGE. Not everyone was “raised in the church.” Not everyone has had an opportunity yet to become like those noble Bereans. There are many people who do not understand our religious jargon and we need to find a language that others can understand.
BEGIN WITH PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE. This makes it paramount that we learn all we can about the religious background and understanding of those with whom we study. Many people are shackled by religious confusion, yet others have no real knowledge of religion at all.
FIND COMMON GROUND. For some it might be a love for God or Jesus. It might be that others are curious about the church. Some have experienced a loss or some other life difficulty. Surely we can find something in the heart and life of every person that will help us reach them with the Good News.
SPEND TIME BEFORE THE FATHER’S THRONE. We need to ask our Lord to help us with our inadequacies (Hebrews 4:14-16). If we ever get to the point that we think we know how to handle every question or situation, we are in deep trouble. I desperately need God’s help in this particular study.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY, “I DON’T KNOW.” I vividly remember my Dad saying that when we are studying the Word of God with people that we should never be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
If a question is raised that we can’t answer, it’s better to say, “I don’t know,” than to give a wrong answer. We should tell the person we are studying with that we would have an answer next time we meet. This quality is also keeps us from appearing as if we have all knowledge.
STUDY, STUDY, STUDY. Taking the above suggestion to an extreme could be a crutch that would keep us from studying. We need to do our best to be able to answer questions that might arise. (1 Peter 3:15) This is another reason to spend time getting to know about those with whom we study.
REMEMBER THAT THE LORD IS WITH US. There is no one who wants the whole world to know the Gospel more than the One who authored it. (2 Peter 3:9) God will do everything possible to help us as we share His Word with others.
May God help those of us who are endeavoring to preach and teach His Word to do our very best for Him. Teaching others the Good News about Jesus is the greatest gift we can give to anyone (2 Corinthians 9:15). It is a life-changing experience for the one teaching as well as the one being taught!
Dear Father, help us to be busy sharing the Good News with everyone we can. Help us God to remember that not everyone is in the same place. Help us Lord to be aware and to care deeply about those around us. Thank You dear Father for bringing people who need to know about Jesus into our lives. May we be instruments of Your love, Your power, and Your forgiveness. In the Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.
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