Today was the first day so far that I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit everything into our 4-hour class. In fact, what I taught today was a scaled-back version of an entire semester of teaching that I did at Calvary Albuquerque’s School of Ministry.
We began with a brief intro to the topics of hermeneutics and homiletics (studying and teaching God’s Word). Nehemiah 8 reminded us of the joy of these topics. Ezra the scribe got up and began reading from the Law, then “they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8) The result was amazing: “all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law…and all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:9, 12)
There is great joy in communicating the relevance of God’s Word because there’s great joy in people’s hearts when they get it. Hermeneutics and homiletics are not designed to help us bring relevance to God’s Word – it’s already relevant! Our job is simply to lead others into a greater understanding of its relevance for their daily lives…and there is so much joy in our hearts when we get it!
As we dove into hermeneutics (studying God’s Word), we covered the 3 basic hermeneutical principles: observation, interpretation, application. We talked about each phase and what it looks like to observe what is being said in the text at first glance. The observation stage is easy to skip over because you want to go straight to application, but it’s key. In fact, as I illustrated with the video below, you can go into a text thinking it means one thing but missing something huge…
The interpretation is done with reputable Biblical sources and teachers, with the goal of arriving at solid Biblical, Godly application. The application is the whole point, but you can’t skip straight to it!
Some great resources for learning more about hermeneutics are Rightly Divided and Basic Bible Interpretation, both by Roy Zuck. Some of the content of my hermeneutics teaching came from those books (among others).
During the second half of class, we tackled homiletics (teaching the Bible). Man I love that topic. Since the class is diverse, and not full of just pastors, I used the outline in Howard Hendricks’ book, Teaching to Change Lives, to teach from. It was so much fun. We talked about being real and raw as you teach, but also stirring up and developing the teaching gift that God has given you.
Most of what we talked about was relevant to everyone in there from personal Bible study to teaching in front of a church, small group, or discipleship.
The most exciting part is what I’m watching God do in the hearts of the students. There’s a group that will begin meeting next Monday and Friday, simply to pray for direction, confirmation, and an anointing of the Spirit for ministry. I’ve been telling them throughout the week that I hope to be part of what God uses to not only equip, but empower and encourage them further in their walks with Christ and service for Christ. Thank God, I’m watching Him do that every day!
I better go now. My family is on the beach near Aliso Viejo, awaiting a reunion with me. Tomorrow and Saturday is Disney! Mickey, here I come!