A TEACHER SENT FROM GOD: THE METHODS – PART I
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to explain how Jesus used the following teaching methods:
C Love And Compassion
C Association And Imitation
C Visual Demonstration
C The Principle Of Gradual Learning
C Grouping Of Students
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)
You have learned when , where, why, and what Jesus taught during His earthly ministry. In this and the following chapter you will study how Jesus taught. These lessons focus on the methods He used in teaching . A method is a plan, system , procedure , or way of
doing something . The teaching methods of Jesus refer to how He taught.
Often, the Church has been content to use secular educational methods rather than those revealed in God’s Word. The best methods for Biblical teaching are those which Jesus
used and proved to be effective. This lesson focuses on general methods which
accompanied the teaching of Jesus. The following chapter concerns specific methods of verbal instruction .
You have learned that the message of the teacher should be accompanied by the
demonstration of God’s power. This demonstration of power attracts people to hear the Word of God:
And when the sabbath day was come, He began to teaching the synagogue:
and many hearing Him were astonished saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto Him, that even
such mighty works are wrought by his hands? (Mark 6:2) (See also
Jesus used miracles to prepare the hearts of people to receive messages. In John 9 read the story of Jesus healing the man blind from birth. As a result of his healing the witness of
God’s power went to his neighbors (9 :8), the religious leaders (9:13 ), and his family
(9: 1 8). In John 9:41-10, Jesus used the healing to teach a message from God to the
The miracles of Jesus ministered to people at their point of need . As you study more
about miracles in the "For Further Study" section of this lesson you will see how His
miracles met material, physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and natural needs. Demons were cast out, the dead were raised , the sick were healed, the hungry fed , and those in need of deliverance received it.
There is no greater method to illustrate and confirm a Biblical message than the
demonstration of God’s power. This power meets human need and brings change to lives . This is why Jesus delegated spiritual power to His followers:
And He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits. (Mark 6:7)
And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received freely give. (Matthew 10:7-8)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do
shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)
Jesus taught with authority. "Authority" means to exercise power of command. Like
miracles, teaching with authority attracted listeners:
And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that
had authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22) (See also Matthew 21:23).
Some modern educators encourage the teacher to become "one of the group" rather than teach with authority. But Jesus taught with authority. The authority of Jesus was given by God. Before returning to Heaven, Jesus gave us spiritual authority:
As my Father hath sent me [with power and authority] so send I you. (John 20:21)
Jesus promised authority [power] to believers to enable them to teach and preach as witnesses of the Gospel:
But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Education, social position, or natural ability is not the basis of Biblical authority . Our authority in teaching comes from Jesus Christ.
LOVE AND COMPASSION
Jesus did not condemn those He taught. Instead, He showed them love and compassion. When the woman was caught in the act of adultery , He did not condemn her (John 8 :11 ). When Mary used expensive perfume to anoint Him, Jesus did not condemn her for
wasting what could have been sold to help the poor. He understood the reason behind the act and treated her with love (Matthew 2 6:1 0-1 3).
Jesus had compassion on the blind (Mark 10:46-62) and children (Mark 10:13-16) when His own disciples did not care. Jesus loved even the rich young man who chose riches instead of following Him (Mark 1 0 :1 7 -2 2 ). Jesus healed the ear of the soldier who came to arrest Him (Luke 22:50-51). The compassion of Jesus led Him to intercession for the people to whom He ministered (Mark 6:34) and their cities (Luke 19 :41).
I Corinthians 13 reveals that any ministry [teaching included] is not effective unless done in love . Teachers must show love, concern, and compassion to students or "it profiteth
ASSOCIATION AND IMITATION
When Jesus called His disciples, He had a specific purpose:
And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach,
And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. (Mark 3:14-15)
The disciples were first called to be with Jesus, to learn from Him by the example He set. Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation. The disciples were to be "with" Jesus in an active role. They were not to be just passive
listeners. They were to observe and participate in His ministry. Jesus lived and
demonstrated what He taught. His example of living His messages is one of the most effective teaching methods you can follow .
Jesus showed His students how to apply Biblical teaching to everyday life. To teach the lesson on prayer , He prayed . To teach the importance of Scripture He quoted from it. To teach the importance of spreading the Gospel, He spread it. To explain God’s power, He demonstrated it.
The upright lifestyle of a teacher adds the highest credibility to his message. The teacher must have contact with students in everyday life and ministry situations to provide
opportunity for learning by association.
From the time He first told His disciples "Follow Me", Jesus continually called for
response to the messages He taught. He told men and women to come to Him and to take up their cross (Mark 8:34-35). He sent them to testify before their families (Mark 5:19) and religious leaders (Luke 5:14). He told some to sell their riches (Mark 10:21), go
wash in pools of water (John 9: 7) and other similar commands .
Teaching is not complete without the living out of the teachings. You must teach students to act upon what they have been taught. They must become doers of the Word, not just professional listeners:
But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, He is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass;
For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25)
Spiritual growth is not measured by what a student hears, but by what he does about what he hears. You must teach so students experience the Word, not just learn information
about it. They must come to really know God, not just know about Him. Learning
involves "doing" as well as "teaching". Jesus demonstrated this in His own ministry:
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. (Acts 1:1)
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but
whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the
Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
He taught His disciples to "do" as well as "teach":
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
An opportunity for response from the students should always be provided when you
teach. You will learn more about this in Chapter Ten, "Lesson Planning". But a call for response must not be cheap emotional appeal. Jesus made it clear that to respond to the claims of the Gospel would be costly:
And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let Him deny Himself and take up His cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save His life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:34-35)
From the beginning of time, God delegated responsibility to people. He gave them assignments such as naming the animals, and building arks, tabernacles, temples, and walls. Jesus also delegated spiritual projects to His disciples. He told them to feed the multitudes (Matthew 14:16). He sent them out to preach the Gospel and heal the sick
(Matthew 10:9-10). He expected them to reproduce spiritually (John 15 ).
Jesus prepared students to take His place when He returned to Heaven . Gradually , He delegated to them His responsibility for ministry, teaching , and preaching. You should teach as if you are preparing each student to take your place. To properly prepare them , you must delegate responsibility for the Word with which you have entrusted them .
As a teacher, you must have spiritual goals for your students. You must plan lessons and projects for them which will help them achieve these goals. Delegation of responsibility for ministry is an important part of this process.
Jesus used the natural environment in which He found people to teach spiritual lessons . The "environment" includes the physical, social and cultural, and spiritual factors which surround a person. It is the society in which a person lives , works, and ministers.
Jesus made each learning situation part of real life. He taught people right where they
lived, worked, or ministered. God continues to teach us in natural life situations through
the problems and challenges we face each day . (This is the method of Harvestime
International Institute . That is why this course comes to you right where YOU live and
Jesus did not rely on the formal lecture hall, Sabbath day class, or pulpit. As you learned in Chapter Two, He took advantage of every casual encounter to teach . Wherever He
was, He taught. Jesus used the circumstances of life to teach lessons. When He happened to pass a funeral procession, He raised a man from the dead (Luke 7:11-15). When Jesus was thirsty, He gave a message on living water (John 3). When He saw a poor woman bringing her offering to the temple, He preached a message on giving (Mark 12:41 -44).
People learn best when it is related to their environment. What they learn must be
practical and apply to the problems they face. The message must minister to their special needs. When you relate the truths of God’s Word to everyday life it is called
"application". You "apply" what you learn to real life situations.
Such situations vary from culture to culture and differ depending on the audience . This is
why you must know your pupils in order to apply the Word to their lives. You will learn
more about this in later lessons entitled "Analyzing The Audience" and "Lesson
Jesus used visual aids to illustrate His teaching. A "visual" aid is an object, symbol, or
action which illustrates what is being taught. For example, when Jesus wanted to teach the childlike attitude necessary to receive Him and enter the Kingdom …
…He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them,
Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but Him that sent me.
When Jesus explained the meaning of His death He used the symbols of bread and wine (Mark 1 4 :2 2 -2 5 ). When Jesus wanted to teach a lesson regarding humble service He
washed the disciples feet (John 13:1-17). Jesus used visual aids such as flowers (Matthew 5: 28) and birds (Matthew 5:26) to illustrate what He wanted to teach.
Chapter Seven in this manual, "Teaching Aids", suggests visual aids you can purchase or make, depending on your culture, finances, and availability of materials. But even if you have no money or access to such aids, you can use objects from your own environment to illustrate your teaching . Jesus had no money for equipment or material to create visual aids . He used simple objects from the environment.
THE PRINCIPLE OF GRADUAL LEARNING
Jesus realized His students could only learn so much at one time . Because of this, He adjusted His teaching to a level they could properly understand:
And with many such parables spake He the Word unto them, as they were able to hear it. (Mark 4:33)
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (John 16:12)
Each group of students and each individual learns at a different rate. The ability of
students to learn is affected by many different things. You will learn more about this in Chapter Eight, "Analyzing The Audience."
GROUPING OF STUDENTS
Jesus adapted His teaching to various groups of students.
Jesus used the lecture method when He taught large crowds. He did not allow for
interruptions or invite a response until the end of the lesson. This is best for large
groups. Preaching usually always follows this pattern. See Matthew 5-7 for an example.
Most often in small groups Jesus allowed audience participation. For examples see Mark 8:1 0-1 2; 1 4-2 1; 2 7-3 0.
Jesus used a conversational method with individuals. He talked with them and asked and answered questions . The method was much like a normal conversation between two people. For examples see John 3 and 4 .