I love reading books on preaching! They seem much more interesting to me than reading books on teaching. Besides being a former elementary school teacher, I am also a Bible teacher at my church and in other locations.
Of course, I have always been more interested in Christian theology than Christian education. I read preaching books to learn how to teach. When I read a book on preaching, I usually change the words preach and preacher to teach and teacher. In addition, I change the word sermon to either class or lesson.
Visiting My College Campus
Recently I visited Baylor University—my former college campus. As usual, whenever I visit the campus I always head straight for the bookstore. Back in the day, I loved perusing the college books that were for sale. It didn’t matter that they weren’t books connected to my major. Absorbing knowledge from multiple degree plans captivated my attention — though, as far as I was concerned, the math shelves could be roped off indefinitely.
On the day I visited the bookstore as an alumna, I noticed ALL the textbooks were roped off in preparation for the fall semester to begin. Not one to be held back, I asked a clerk if I could jump the rope to examine the selection of the theology books. Fortunately, the clerk graciously said, “Sure! Just go around this way,” and pointed me in the right direction.
On Preaching by H.D. Charles, Jr.
Without delay, I looked at all the theology books ready to be bought by the eager seminary students on campus. Through my scanning, skimming, and sometimes speedreading, I ran across a book titled On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching by H.D. Charles, Jr. After flipping through the pages, scanning the chapter titles, and reading the back cover of the book, I decided this book might just be another book for my library—one that would help me to become a better Bible teacher.
The book was informative, easy to read, and reminded me why I enjoy teaching.
The “Table of Contents” chapter titles are:
- Preparation for Preaching
- The Practice of Preaching, and
- Points of Wisdom for Preaching
However, in my mindset, I renamed the chapter titles to coordinate with the primary subject matter of this article—teaching.
- How To Prepare for a Teaching Assignment
- What The Practice Of Teaching Entails, and
- Tidbits of Wisdom For Teaching
Even if you have been preaching or teaching for a long time, this book is truly a great resource for both beginning and seasoned preachers as well as the beginning or seasoned Bible teachers. The author clearly states the awesome responsibility of preparing to be all God intends you to be for the work He has called you to do.
This blog includes some tips for those involved in teaching classes within a church environment—like Sunday School, Discipleship Training, Men or Women’s Bible study classes, and special teaching times. However, there are also ways one does not usually think of when talking about the gift of teaching—like being an elder, clarifying religious issues to a visitor or member, evangelizing, teaching an everyday skill, plus more.
In On Preaching, H.D. Charles states that “There are those who draw a hard distinction between preaching and teaching. But this dichotomy cannot be backed up by Scripture. In the same verse that Paul charges Timothy to preach the Word, he bids him do so with “complete patience and teaching: (2 Timothy 4:2) Preaching and teaching go together. To preach the Word requires teaching the Word.”
In the insights shared below, all bolded and italicized words have been changed from the original statements pulled out from this book. Read with enthusiasm these insights, so you can grow to be one approved by God—whether in teaching or preaching!
Quotes from On Preaching
Time management is one of the most crucial areas of stewardship in a teacher’s life.
Do whatever you have to do to be ready to teach the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ!
Your teaching is the most effective way you can impact your class.
Pray that the Lord would open your eyes to see wonderful things in the Word. (Psalm 119:18)
Saturate every part of your study with prayer. Pray that Christ would oversee your study. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth. Seek the mind of God in the text. Repent as the text confronts you with sin in your life. Pray for wisdom as you read. Ask for clarity as you write. Work as if it all depends on you but pray as if it all depends on God.
Think yourself empty. Read yourself full. Write yourself clear. And pray yourself hot. Then go to your class and be yourself. But don’t teach yourself—teach Jesus to the glory of God![PRAY] Father, please give me the physical strength and spiritual energy to speak your Word with faithfulness, clarity, authority, passion, wisdom, humiliation and liberty.
Clarity is essential for faithful teaching.
The teacher’s ultimate authority is found in the Word of God.
What the Word of God says is infinitely more important than our testimonials.
The teaching moment is not about you. We must decrease that Christ may increase. (John 3:30)
Our job is to teach in such a way that brings the hearer before the living God. Then we are to get out of the way! But our sinful flesh will constantly seek to be in the spotlight. Prayer helps to keep our egos in check. It helps us to teach with a humility that makes much of Christ and little of ourselves.
Every class we teach should be saturated with the Word of God.
We should teach with the conviction that the Bible is given to us for our transformation, not just information.
Go to God in prayer and ask Him to guide you for what you should teach. Ask for clear direction. Seek God diligently. Trust the promise that God will generously give wisdom to those who ask for it in faith. (James 1:5-8)
Teaching is hard work. It is not for the slothful.
We all have weaknesses in our teaching. We all have growing to do. We all have blind spots that cannot be seen without trusted people being honest with us. But those blind spots are there, whether we identify them or not. We should actively seek them out and strive to address them.
Keep the main thing the main thing in your classes, and do not let subdivisions of your outline lead you away from the main idea.
The class will never be interested in a lesson that doesn’t seem to be interesting to the teacher.
The effective teacher must also work to clarify meaning, make ideas stick, and call the listener to action.
Be flexible. The One who guides the preparation of your study governs the presentation of it. And He has the right to edit your presentation as you teach it! Your job is to teach the message the Lord gives you and He leads you, not to say everything you wrote in your lesson preparation.
Take every teaching assignment seriously. Pray and prepare diligently and give the Lord all you’ve got.
Desire to be the best teacher you can be for God. Don’t compete with other teachers.
Teaching is not about the teacher. It is about the royal message that we teach.
No Christian should ever be found boasting in himself, especially a teacher of Jesus Christ.
People should learn more about Christ from your lessons than they learn about you.
Do your own homework. [Never plagiarize another’s work. If you quote others or take from their writings or sermons, give credit where credit is due.] [Remember] God uses weak people, not gospel superstars. We are weak and fragile clay pots at the Master’s disposal to convey the treasure of the message of Jesus Christ.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
In writing this blog, I have taken the liberty stated in the front of the book that “brief quotations [may be used] embodied in critical articles or reviews.” I deem this blog a review of the book On Preaching. Therefore, with a high recommendation, I promote this book for both preachers and teachers.
My prayer is that you will see the parallels between preaching and teaching. And possibly, the next time you encounter a preacher book, you might pick it up to help you with whatever type of teaching assignments God sends your way.
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. (Matthew 11:1)
Oh Lord, help me to be approved by You to teach or preach the Word of God with accuracy—in the way You intended it to be taught and preached. May the words that come out of my mouth be representative of You. Teach me daily to become more like You in every thought, word, or action I may take. Always in Christ. Amen.
Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member
BibleGateway Blogger, Member
SBC, Church Member
Charles, H.B. On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching. Chicago: Moody, 2014.
Edited by E. Johnson.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible unless noted otherwise.
Books by Patti Greene
Devotional Prayer Journals