Encouragement for First Time Bible Teachers

You’re getting ready to teach your first Bible study. You’re taking this seriously and you’ve done all the preparations. Curriculum, location, day and time, cookies and coffee. You’ve hit send to all the invites. Faces of those loved ones reading your text pop up in your mind and you pray for them. You thank God for the gift of the gospel and the freedom to study it in this country. While you await with great anticipation the beginning of your group, here are a few basic things to remember:

  1. Your greatest qualification as a Bible teacher is not your extensive theology but your obedient faith in Jesus.

Women sitting under your teaching don’t need walking theological encyclopedias. There are commentaries for that. What their soul needs is a living testimony from a believer who trusts her Savior, loves His Word, and follows Him daily even when life is difficult, problems arise, and prayers still wait for answers.

Faithful Bible teachers don’t wear capes or tiaras. They don’t have superpowers, nor do they live perfectly-fairy-tale-ish lives. Faithful Bible teachers are ordinary women, living ordinary lives, being changed daily by the Word of God.

2. It’s not you that people come to hear, it’s Jesus of the Bible.

What a relief this is! Women coming to the study don’t need our views on life and things, they need Christ’s. Our advice and interpretations may be helpful comments, but they certainly don’t compare with the very words of God. When we direct them to the Bible, we offer them what no human words can ever give them. That’s because God’s words alone are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Bible teachers are like traffic directors: they point women into the one direction of the cross. Our words and hands point away from self towards Heaven. The most impactful teachers are the ones most faithful to the gospel. The transformation in the hearts of the women is brought about not by the teacher’s originality, giftings, or popularity, but by the Spirit’s work. You are always the farmer, never the wind and rain.

3. Satan would have your mind diverted, your heart entertained, and your lips silenced.

The devil is on a constant “prowl” (1 Peter 5:8).  He never stops circling; he never stops trying to trap us. Nothing alarms the realms of hell more like a mouth loaded with the words of God! The devil will try to silence your lips from speaking the gospel. He will aim at your mind. A mind that stops dwelling on God will soon stop speaking of God.

He will put up a substitute for God in your thoughts: you. The first lesson on me-ism was taught in the Garden of Eden—on a woman who was turned cunningly onto herself. He twisted her mind, dreams, and words around herself. He trapped Eve, and he will do whatever he can to wrap you around your own self, also.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. (Rom 12:2) The renewal of our mind doesn’t begin with us, but with Christ (Colossians 2:7). The antidote to a mind renewed from me-ology to right theology is Jesus Christ.

4. Turnout and numbers are not a measurement of gospel success.

Biblical faithfulness is not measured in numbers, but in long-lived obedience. Crowds surrounded Jesus, but few walked with Him. His popularity never outshone His focus on discipling. Jesus chose 12 disciples, not 100. When seats are empty and sign-ups are few, remember that the calling of every faithful teacher is not to measure the field, but to sow the seeds. Regardless if your patch is made of 2 or 200 hearts, we have been entrusted with the same powerful, life-changing seeds. Faithful sowing is what Jesus entrusted us with. Rich harvest will follow in His time.

Gospel success is not necessarily studies filled with people, but hearts filled with Jesus. Every heart that shows up in your living room is a heart that needs eternal forgiveness and encouragement. A heart that represents a family. A mother, perhaps, who needs more of Christ so she can share Him with her children. A woman who suffers and needs healing. A spirit who is tired and needs revival. A person who needs loving. If such good comes from Jesus’ work with the few who followed him, surely, we can trust Jesus to work with a few who need Him today, too.

5. When you teach a Bible Study, God teaches you, too.

He fills you up as you show up daily in the Word. He enlarges your heart to love Him deeper as you meditate on His precepts.He grows you in the image of Jesus as you walk with Him in your own life. Jesus fills your jar before (or even as) you pour into the minds around. But He also chisels you, like a sculptor, getting yourself out of the way so you can let Christ rule. He is teaching all the handlers of the Truth what it means to “be hidden with Christ” where you can truly say “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

Questions for Reflection

So, as you begin to teach your first Bible study,

  • Will you rest in the truth that His divine power will equip you with everything you need to teach?
  • Will you ask God to move through the Spirit and His Word during the weeks you will be teaching? Will you pray he will remind you that your teaching doesn’t have to be original and new but simply faithful to the gospel message of the Bible?
  • Will you pray that God will keep your thoughts, hearts, and words centered on Jesus and his promises?
  • Will you ask God to continue to teach you His precepts? Will you pray that He will grow you in learning of Him and sharing Him to others?
  • Will you thank God for each woman who shows up in your home? Will you ask God to use each person to grow His kingdom? Will you pray that God will bring women to the study, and then trust Him when He answers with each one of them?