I have something of a reputation as a Bible teacher. Nope, it’s not any amazing communication skills nor even well organized, thoroughly researched lessons. It is, in fact, little strips of paper.
Yes, with nearly every lesson I teach (or attempt to teach), I pass out little slips of paper with a Scripture reference on it for willing participants to read at various junctures in the lesson. This quirk of mine is so well established that when my friend taught her first night of Bible study, my first “spin off” class, she too had Scriptures on slips of paper, telling the class that “Lisa would be so proud!”
I am indeed.
Once, as I was passing out said pieces of paper, a friend teased me about it, saying something to the effect, “C’mon, Lisa, we believe you!” meaning, of course, that she trusted what I was saying to the class, therefore it was unneccessary to provide all the Biblical support for each and every point I made…
She probably doesn’t even remember making the statement, and I know she was totally kidding me about being so fastidious (yes, I can totally take a joke!), but I’ve remembered it after all these years because 1) it is necessary and 2) you can’t trust me in and of myself. My words on their own merit are meaningless and prone to error: serious, flesh inspired, sin contaminated error.
The Word of the Lord, in direct contrast, is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword (Heb. 4:12). His Words grant life and produce faith; mine can kill and destroy far more easily than they can edify and encourage. No wonder James warns of a greater judgment on those called to teach (James 3:1); it is imperative we guard our words, humbly pleading with the Spirit to speak through us (Matt. 10:19-20).
A couple of weeks ago someone asked me, “So, how did the Bible study go today…I mean, the book study?” Though his question is technically correct, as we are in fact using a book to facilitate our study–the book Brokenness by Nancy Leigh Demoss–still his qualification rankled somewhat. It is important and necessary to me to study the Bible.
While I owe a huge debt to the many Bible teachers and authors whose studies have greatly contributed to my sanctification, I see a subtle danger in our current Christian culture–with its plethora of Bible studies and tools and numerous other resources–to find ourselves studying the study rather than studying the Bible. Or, worse yet, being enamored with the Bible teacher over and above the Word he/she teaches, which seems to be particularly tempting given the many video studies currently available, what with their professional production quality and gifted communicators. Do not hear me say it is the fault of the authors, the production team or the video teacher. It is within us, in our flesh, to exchange the truth of God’s word for the lesser. And it is precisely because of this tendency within me that I am so careful.
So, as I facilitate our study, I will pass out my slips of paper and I will do all I can to point us to the study of God’s Word. I will listen to Nancy Leigh Demoss’s wise instruction but I will hold it up to the Truth of Scripture. I will seek after the one thing of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord as I study. I will ask the Lord to grant me a greater hunger for His Word, that it will become as necessary to me as food and water and more precious to than thousands of pieces of gold and silver (Ps. 119:72). May He open our eyes so we may see wonderful things in His Word!