What’s In A Name?

 

You might be interested in knowing why I named this ministry “Great Bible Teachers.” Here is how that happened.

Chad Hall is a good friend and a masterful coach. As I was struggling with this nudge of doing “something” to strengthen the teaching ministry of the Church, Chad invited me to come to his house to talk it through. As he guided me with thought-provoking questions, I gained more clarity.

“If you could have your greatest dream fulfilled, what would it be?” he asked. After a moment for reflection, I said, “I want class members to leave the room, saying, ‘that was a great lesson.’ I want them to share what they learned and how their ideas have been challenged eagerly with their spouse on the way home. Ultimately, I want the teaching to make a difference, to make the class members more like Christ.”

Chad continued, “How would what you provide make that happen?” I responded, “My materials – the books on how to teach, the interviews, the curriculum, the video training series – would help the novice teacher become a good teacher and the veteran teacher become a great teacher.”

Chad said, “You have used the word ‘great’ several times. It seems to be important to you.” I replied, “Yes, I am concerned that Bible study is having less influence and part of the reason for that is poor teaching. It might be poor for a variety of reasons – poor research, poor delivery, a lack of integrity, a lack of love – but I want it to be great. Great research, great teaching methods, by a great Christian who demonstrates great love. I want to train persons to be great Bible teachers.”

“So what if you called it that?” Chad asked.

“Great Bible Teachers? Hummmm…”

To be a great Bible teacher is an aspiration. This ministry is not a club for the best of the best. It is a place where we all can learn from others who strive to be faithful in their following of Jesus and excellent in their presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

Two years later, today, I am sitting in my study preparing a lesson on Matthew 28, where Jesus commissions his followers, “as you go, teach…”

As I read through the commentaries, one pointed back to Jesus’ teaching about teachers in his Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Then I came across this little gem: “In reference to teachers, greatness makes a play on the literal meaning of ‘Rabbi,’ viz. ‘my great one.’”

I did not know the literal meaning of Rabbi, only the functional meaning: Teacher. So, this was an affirming word today.

As you go, being a Bible teacher, be a great one

 

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{The commentary quote is from: Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 82.)

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