Monday, October 05, 2009

Master a Gospel

Let me give you a strong teaching challenge today.

Think about your favorite movie or TV show. How hard is it for you to give someone the general picture of the characters and events, your favorite scenes, even "replay" the dialogue from multiple characters and be able to quote them accurately? You can even imagine what it would be like to be a participant in the events.

That's a good description for mastery of one of the books of the Bible. You're very familiar with its structure, the flow of the events and ideas, the scenes described in it. You can give people a 10 minute overview without real prep time. You can convey excitement and enthusiasm about the remarkable story that has impacted your life. You can "replay" in your mind and everyday events or things people say will remind you of something from the Word.

So here's my challenge: Master *one* of the four Gospel books.

Why just one? You've heard the phrase "Jack of all trades, and master of none" ? Focus + intensity + time lead to spiritual depth, dear teachers!

Plan to spend a few weeks of daily study in that gospel. Get a feel for the organization and sequence of the events. Get a usable framework or outline in your head. Be able to tie major events or verses that are significant to you to chapters. (I'm all for Scripture memory, but this is different. This is studying to know that Jesus is washing the disciple's feet is in John 13, and the conversation with Pilate is in John 18.)

Some of you are thinking "that's too difficult" or "I have my study Bible notes for that." Yes, this challenge will take some time and effort. But the growth curve is phenomenal if you are willing to submit to this kind of study discipline. I would have a difficult time explaining to you how much this will turbocharge your ability to bring the Gospel message into all your teaching.

So which gospel book should you pick? Pray and see how you are led. The typical reponse might be John or Luke -- at least, that's what I hear most teachers doing.

Can I recommend the gospel of Mark to you? It's shorter, very action-oriented, and excellent for teaching to young people and not-yet believers. But give this some prayer and see what the Lord might have you to do.

After you master one of the gospels, then what? Go on to the next one, of course :-)

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