What is the goal of biblical teaching?

The goal of biblical teachingMost churches have small groups, bible studies, Sunday morning messages, Sunday school, accountability partners, support groups, and more. What is the goal of biblical teaching that happens in these circles?

How we answer this question is critical to knowing why we are teaching specific things and also to becoming more more effective at whatever our answer to that question is.

From my experience, it seems like a lot of teaching in these groups revolve around teaching information about God and His Word, which is great and very necessary. But at some point I think we make the mistake of assuming that because people know something that they must then believe it.

It’s an easy mistake to make because often we equate belief with, “giving mental consent that something is true.” If that is how we define belief, then yes, they may believe it. But what if we define belief a bit differently?

A lot of us ask the question, “Why do teenagers live one way at school and another way at church? Why don’t they live what they believe?” Actually, teenagers live exactly what they believe. It’s just that what they profess to believe doesn’t line up with what they actually believe. What we deeply believe affects everything else about us.

What if teaching revolved not around, “How much of God’s Story do you know?” but also revolved around the question, “How deeply do you believe this story?”

I think this is exactly what the American Church needs. “If I deeply believe that this is true, then what should be different in my life? And if that difference is not there, then do I really believe this?” It’s not simply about asking these questions, although that is a great start, but also teaching in a way that is directed toward increasing our belief, not just increasing what we know.

QUESTION: How can you teach God’s Word in a way that addresses how deeply we believe it more than how much we know about it?

Posted on November 6, 2012

  • This is something that I really didn’t understand for the first 6-7 years as a youth pastor. In recent years, I’ve started thinking of the goal of teaching/preaching not in terms of helping people understand the content, but helping them take a next step, whatever it may be. Of course, there’s still need to present content and information, but I try to present it as “If this is true, then THIS is a way that it can/should affect our lives and the choices we make.”

    One more thing: I’ve stopped assuming that the vast majority of students are “on board” with what I’m teaching, and I try to give them permission to verbalize that. I’d rather they be honest in what they profess to believe than say they believe one thing and live something totally different.

    • Good assumption to stop making! That can be a dangerous one. Thanks for sharing!

  • I believe that the church in general is far too topic driven. Adults can process information better and are able to appIy it with more ease in most cases. Teens on other hand are bombarded with you name it and if ministry to them is just adding to the blitz of information then that is counter productive.
    I would like to see three or so handfuls of messages (sermons) over the course of a year that were taught and then had creative youth ministry led opportunities to put those words to action students could then be more encouraged to do likewise in their own lives.
    As it stands now in most youth ministries have teens who are unfortunately the example of James 1:24 where they are just hearers of the word and nothing else because ministry is just sermons they hear vs deeds in Christain service.

  • This is a tough question to wrestle with given the topical nature of so many student ministry materials. I had a senior recently talk about how it’d be awesome to a have topic/issue based list so that she could look up verses to match what she was going through once she moved to college. I told her about using a concordance but I finished by saying it would be even more awesome if she were able to read through scripture consistently. That way, she’ll become more and more aware what God says about “x” naturally over time. It probably doesn’t sound as appealing but it is definitely a better long term solution.

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