Teaching God’s word is a serious responsibility (James 3:1). If you are a teacher of Bible students (whether they be toddlers or adults), the following dozen “keys” are some of those necessary if you are to be as successful as possible:
 Above all else, love the truth (2 Thess. 2:10,13). Love it to the extent that you would never “water it down” in order to appease your students. “Buy the truth and do not sell it” (Prov. 23:23).
 Truly care about your students. If they know you have their best interests at heart they will be more likely to give an ear to what you are saying. It has been said that “people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Love for the truth and concern for your students will be at the foundation of each of the remaining points.
 Be humble. Recognize that you “don’t know it all,” and when you don’t know the answer to a Bible question, be willing to acknowledge such.
 Always remember that your main objective is for you and your students to learn God’s word. Yes, there will be a time for personal stories and anecdotes, but these should never overshadow the learning of the Bible. Only the Bible is God-inspired and will equip your students for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). “The B-I-B-L-E… Yes, that’s the book for me!” We sing that, and we ought to mean it.
 Be prepared. On rare occasion a Christian will be asked at the last minute to “fill in” and teach a class, and thus find themselves not as prepared as they would like. But this should be the exception. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” demands a lot of study and work before class time (2 Tim. 2:15) . If you know a few days or weeks in advance that you will be teaching a class, there is no excuse for not being prepared.
 Be on time. Class time is valuable learning time, and none of it needs to be wasted, by either student or teacher. Impress upon your pupils the need to be to class on time, and then validate that lesson by setting the proper example yourself. Habitual late-comers have a problem with pride, somehow thinking (though they refuse to even admit it to themselves) that everyone else’s time is not as important as theirs.
 Find ways for your students to apply their lessons to their lives. John the Baptist’s hearers, after hearing a lesson about repentance, asked, “What shall we do then?” (Luke 3:10). Try to bring your students to arrive at that same question with every lesson.
 Use visual aids (charts, pictures, flannel boards, transparencies, etc.) when they will reinforce the lessons being taught. The prophets often used visual aids (though of a different nature) for just such a purpose (Jer. 43:8-10; Ezek. 4:1-13). Don’t use them, however, if their only purpose is to amaze and “wow” the students.
 Keep in mind that you are there to teach your students, not just to “fill time.” Never have the mindset that you are doing them a favor just by your taking the class. Rather, look upon your teaching assignment as a responsibility to do your very best. Strive to be “a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
 Get to know your students and challenge them to their limits. Don’t let them ever become satisfied with where they are in their spiritual growth. Students too often have learning potential that remains untapped. Help them to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
 Place before your students the following incentive for diligent Bible study: to be pleasing to God and to grow in a knowledge of His will. No other incentive is needed to stimulate learning. Note: Never offer carnal incentives and/or rewards for class achievements. Offering a pizza party or a night of games might be the thing to do by the parent of a child for school work completed, but it is not the thing to do by a teacher for Bible class participation (even if the teacher pays for the extra-curricular activities himself). How would such be any more right than for an individual (out of his own pocket) to entice people to come to services with $20 bills? Read the gospels and the book of Acts and see that Jesus and His apostles never used anything but the doctrine of Christ to draw men to God (John 6:44-45).
 Last, but not least, pray for God’s help. Pray that the truth will fall on receptive hearts. Pray for clarity of mind and speech in the presentation of your lesson, and pray for boldness and confidence (Ephesians 6:19).
By Mike Noble
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