On being the student, a back row student no less, and not the teacher

I think I mentioned to you that I am attending a Bible study on Tuesday mornings. Attending, not leading, a phenomenon so rare I’m not sure it’s occurred in over fifteen years! No, wait; I take that back. I think I did go to a Precept study at a sister Baptist church here in our city a couple of times and I did talk my friend into facilitating a six week class years ago but, other than that, it’s been ages since I’ve participated in a study I wasn’t leading or facilitating or somehow in charge.

I think I also told you it is a little strange, being the student, a back row student no less, and not the teacher. Strange but in a good way. I think. I’m struggling somewhat with my role as Bible teacher, and this class has helped me not only in terms of thinking through the content of the study itself but in also in broader terms, with issues about Bible study in general and its goals and structure and my own passion to lead, or not, as the case may be.

It is admittedly more than strange to consider me not having a class, me who was once so sure of her call to lead and encourage women in the study of God’s Word. I was so confident of my place in the teacher’s chair that I waxed eloquent in posts past on why I teach and why I find it compulsory.

I miss that fervor, that zeal.

A few months ago I read Kathleen Nielson’s Bible Study and, as encouraging and instructive as it is, I found it equally humbling and convicting. In fact, there were times in the course of reading that I was struck with a holy fear as I considered the sometime cavalier attitude I took toward Bible study in years past. I shudder when I think of some of the things I have asserted as I presumed to teach and the lack of care with which I sometimes approached God’s Word. True, I was woefully, pitifully ignorant but I see no excuse for ignorance in James’ warning to teachers who presume upon the influence and authority they are granted (James 3:1).

In the Bible study I am attending I haven’t agreed with the teacher on all points. I’m not certain, yet, how to approach her with my concerns nor even if I ought. As a (former?) teacher myself I am sympathetic to the hints of insecurity I sometimes think I can detect (or, then again, perhaps it’s my own insecurity I see…).

I hope my hiatus from the teaching is short lived. Though I am afraid of it as much as I desire it, if not more so, I do miss it. I hope that this experience as student will be used by the Lord to make me not only a better teacher but a better student of His Word, a better woman, a woman whose heart is stirred and whose convictions are firm and whose earnest desire to honor the Lord–as teacher or as student, as He wills.


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

One thought on “On being the student, a back row student no less, and not the teacher”

  1. I'm enjoying your reflections. I have been blessed to have good opportunities to participate in classes and studies with others leading/teaching even while I've been teaching myself–but for a long time there, there was never a time when I wasn't teaching something somewhere. It was somewhat of a shock to move to Columbus and work in long-term-care. I was no longer teaching as a job OR at church.It was good to have an eight-month break from teaching while adjusting to the new town–but I'm sure glad to be back at it again!

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