“The night was hot and muggy in the cramped upstairs room. I had not had supper; I was thirsty and because I was small, I got assigned to a tiny chair shoved against the back window. I was too short to see and too far away to hear. Professor Paul had forgotten his visual aids; the hefty vocabulary he used was all Greek to me. All I could grasp was the rumbling faint voice echoing like the hum of a fan. About the 6th hour, I lost any hope of fresh air, of understanding those big words, or of getting to see anything,” wrote Eutychus. You know the rest of the story (Acts 20). We know that Paul was a good teacher (inspired!), but this young man may have been too immature to assimilate the mature message. He needed teaching at his level.
Over the last few years, this column covered ideas for teaching at different levels, for simple object lessons, for extra-biblical materials to enhance learning, techniques to engage the students, and ideas that hopefully set your wheels turning for other ideas suitable to your classroom situation. The gift of teaching is not to be taken lightly and I firmly believe those who are called to teach God’s Word have the most to answer for. It is imperative, then, that this teacher is fully prepared, armed with knowledge, wisdom, and all patience. Those who teach little ones need a double dose of all of the above. That way when pupils argue, as my grandsons did, over whether the “brown stuff” in the wedding jug (John 2) is Coke or sweet tea, you can settle the matter. Let me know how you explain wine to a 4 year old.
My purpose has been to give you encouragement but mostly to make your mind work, whether by giving you a place to start, or by egging you on with my lame idea so that you came up with a better one. You may have been pushed to look up some extra material, to create a little extra technique so that younger students learn with application, a good tool for immature minds. Give your students the armor of God’s Word, the ultimate power tool. Remind yourself that the Word of God has endured the ages and it will continue to do so; good teaching of the Word must also endure.
Thank you for your emails with comments that were both encouraging and helpful and for the opportunity to help those of you who asked for further information or ideas. My column will take a different avenue for awhile, but I am always available to help any who email me. Pastor Rick said it, “When we get saved, we are given a uniform but no discharge papers.” Continue to press toward the mark!