One basic principle for Sunday School teachers: Prepare yourself.
Spend time soaking in the Scripture passage so you can teach from the overflow of your heart. Then live the lesson so you can teach with a genuine and empathetic understanding of the experiences of your learners.
Prepare Through Prayer
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach through you. Without the Holy Spirit, you are on your own, and you will fall woefully short in disciplining learners to spiritual maturity.
- Pray for your preparation. Without God’s wisdom in teaching His Word, you may miss the truth that will make the difference in the lives of learners.
- Pray for your learners. Without God’s help, you will never be able to penetrate their hearts on your own.
Prepare Through Personal Bible Study
Study the lesson you are going to teach. The goal of your personal Bible study is not merely for head knowledge. The goal of your personal Bible study is to be a vessel that God uses to disciple followers of Christ who are ready to learn the Word from God.
Key Points to Remember
- Sunday school teaching is one of the ways to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
- The Bible is the teaching and learning curriculum, while the YOU Bible study supports the teaching of the Bible.
- The ultimate goal of Sunday school teaching and learning is to produce changed hearts and lives, which empower learners to live biblically and victoriously in the world.
- Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
This READY acrostic summarizes five basic steps to use for Sunday school preparation:
R ead the Scripture passage first and jot down what God is saying to you through His Word. Then read the YOU Bible study lesson making note of possible points to be used in class.
E xamine the Bible passage by using the commentary located in the back of the YOU Bible study resource. Other commentary include Advanced Bible Study Commentary, Herschel Hobbs Commentary, or other online Bible study resources.
A sk Jesus to show you how He would teach the Bible passage you have just studied. Talk to Him about how the study can be used to meet the needs of your learners. Seek teaching methods that help with the application of what Jesus reveals to you.
D ecide on the methods for teaching. As much as possible, incorporate the following:
1. A method that motivates learners to reach the passage in class
2. A method that guides learners to examine the Bible truths
3. A method that guides learners to understand the facts
4. A method that guides learners to apply the truths to their hearts
Y ou open with “The Point” of the lesson. During the lesson, emphasize this as the one Bible truth the learners should remember. Repeat it during the teaching session, let your methods demonstrate it, and emphasize it at the end. Then close the session with the challenge to “Live It.” Note that “The Point” and “Live It” are in each session in the YOU Bible Study.
Learn Bible Study Teaching and Learning Principles from the Bereans
“As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men” (Acts 17:10-12).
- Yielded to God (“received the word”)
- Were intentional in their approach to studying the Word (“with eagerness”)
- Approached the Bible study with a detailed study of the Scriptures (“examined”)
- Had a specific and regular Bible study routine (“daily”)
- Had a motivational purpose (“to see if things were so”)
Christina Zimmerman is Content Editor for the YOU curriculum.