When the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy, he recognized the tough task Timothy had as a teacher in the Church; he wrote, “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20).
To paraphrase Dr. Francis Schaeffer, we believe and teach Christianity and the Bible because Christianity and the Bible are true. Among other tasks, Timothy taught the Bible, and, like Timothy, if we teach the Bible, God has entrusted us with the task of teaching the truth of the Bible as accurately as we can. This is not an easy task, but we have the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit within us to help us understand, apply, and teach the Bible. As we pray for and teach our students, the Holy Spirit will help our students understand and apply the Bible’s teachings too.
To follow Paul’s advice to Timothy, we need to pray and seek ways to avoid “godless chatter” in our class. In the International Bible Lesson Commentary
, I briefly defined “godless chatter” as “speech that is contrary to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ (not just profanity).” You might ask your class what they consider “godless chatter,” and what they might do to avoid it inside and outside the church.
As a teacher, Dr. Schaeffer said he would seek to “give honest answers to honest questions.” In Jesus’ day, the scribes and Pharisees did not ask Him “honest questions.” They asked questions to trick Jesus or to make Him look bad before those He was teaching. Bible teachers sometimes face that problem today. As a teacher, we can make our teaching less tough for us if we set the guideline of answering only “honest questions,” which also means we need to give “honest answers” when asked “honest questions.” “Honest answers” involve telling the questioner what they Bible says regardless of whether or not it coincides with popular culture or political correctness or others' ideas
. To give honest answers from the Bible while teaching the truth in love will require much prayer in addition to tact and thoughtfulness!
Finally, throughout the history of philosophy and theology and popular belief, different thinkers have presented ideas that opposed the Bible and Christianity that were simply personal opinions and human inventions instead of knowledge. Unless God has called us to do otherwise, Paul advised Timothy to simply turn away from presenting, listening to, and discussing these ideas, especially before a group of Bible students, because by doing so some “have departed from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:21). Dr. Schaeffer was one of those God called to discuss these ideas (perhaps God has also called you), but God had prepared Dr. Schaeffer to do so and Dr. Schaeffer prayerfully chose the best time and place for those discussions in order to help an unbeliever or a confused believer trust in Jesus Christ and the Bible once again.
I hope these ideas and this Forum will help you with the many challenges you face as a teacher!
Receive the periodic International Bible Lesson Forum Newsletter
by becoming a Registered Member of this IBL Forum. Then, login and make comments to share with others.
May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!CLICK HERE To Go to the International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson for additional Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series Resources.
Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God's Word and His people,