Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"Able To Teach"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

The qualifications for teaching are few and simple, as Paul told Timothy, "The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). Faithfulness and ability are all that's needed to impart the word of God to others. While much can be said about faithfulness, the purpose of this study is to focus on techniques which will better enable effective teaching.

Those who are "able to teach" position themselves effectively. While it is readily affirmed that the power is in the message rather than the messenger (1 Corinthians 2:1-5), it remains equally true that the messenger is necessary to propagate the message (Romans 10:14). This being so, the teacher must position himself so as to best project his message.

During the reconstruction of Jerusalem, the people gathered together to restore proper worship. While assembled, Ezra read to them from the law of God. "So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose... And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people" (Nehemiah 8:4-5).

In order to effectively communicate to his audience, Ezra spoke from a wooden platform situated above them. Modern teachers do well to stand on a platform, utilize a public address system, or simply choose a prominent seat in the room from which to teach their students.

Those who are "able to teach" maintain eye contact. When Paul was set before the chief priests and all their council by Claudias Lysias, we are informed that he began his speech by "looking earnestly at the council" (Acts 23:1). This act would serve to effectively gain the attention of his audience. Modern teachers can likewise keep the attention of their students by maintaining visual contact with them, instead of staring down at notes or at a clock on the wall.

Those who are "able to teach" use hand gestures. Peter and Paul were known to capture the attention of their audiences by the use of hand gestures (Acts 12:17; 13:16; 21:40; 26:1). Most often, they employed this technique to silence a crowd before speaking, but it is also appropriate for gestures to accompany speech in order to more forcefully convey a point. God told Ezekiel the priest, "Pound your fists and stomp your feet, and say, 'Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel!'" (Ezekiel 6:11). This is an example of what is often called "Hellfire and brimstone preaching". Not every sermon needs to be characterized in this way, but fist pounding and foot stomping have their place in the repertoire of bold preaching (Acts 4:29).

Those who are "able to teach" use visual aids. When the prophet Agabus visited Paul and his entourage in Caesarea, "he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, 'Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt...''" (Acts 21:11). Not every prophecy of Agabus was punctuated by such striking visuals (Acts 11:27-28), but this one, having been so illustriously presented, was sure to be remembered. Similarly, not every lesson today must be accompanied by power point displays or other such illustrations, but their occasional use can help leave a lasting impression.

Those who are "able to teach" speak in analogy. Comparisons should be made to verbally illustrate spiritual truths. Paul compares Christians to soldiers, athletes, farmers, and even dishes (2 Timothy 2:3-6, 20-21). James compares control of the tongue to steering horses and ships, forest fires, the taming of wild animals, springs of water, fig trees and grapevines (James 3:3-12). Jude compares certain sinful men to stains, clouds, trees, waves, and stars (Jude 12-13). It is both wise and effective to promote the truths of the scriptures by comparing them to established realities of everyday life.

Teaching need not be complicated; in fact, it should be plain (Habakkuk 2:2). The foregoing methods should always be used to help clarify, not distract from, the simplicity of God's revealed truth.

Infant Mortality

Oscar C. Miles

At the beginning of the 20th century, one infant in ten died before his or her first birthday. Today that rate has fallen to one in 150. But what if we measured infant mortality in terms of deaths per conceptions rather than in deaths per live births? Since Roe vs. Wade in 1972, millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered. Today, one in four pregnancies ends in abortion. Thus, our true infant mortality rate is over 25%. Certainly there were abortions in 1900, but no one thinks there were nearly as many as today. So, at a time when we could have healthy babies with long life expectancies, we are choosing to kill them instead!

Download the PDF Back to the archives...
Having problems with this page? Please report it to the webservant.