Training Students From within the Pillar and Ground of the Truth
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him, 1st John 2:27.
Keep in mind that the same Apostle who wrote that you have no need that any man teach you, needed to teach people that very precept. The bible was never designed to be an obscure puzzle needing years of study in ancient languages and the insights of learned men. The duty of a bible teacher is to guide a student in his studies and to exhort him to further study.
I often liken my role as a teacher of the bible to the role of a lineman in a football game. I am not running the ball. I am blocking for the one that is. I am opening holes for my students. I am creating clear running lanes. There are many things that will stop a student of the bible from ever really learning. Ironically, the nonsense and half truths taught in bible colleges is one of them.
Early in my study of the bible, I was given three main tasks. It took me about one year to complete them. I wan't married at the time, and I was on unemployment for a few months of that. Obviously, I had more time than many have. Completing those tasks did not put me on a pinnacle. It merely gave me a platform from which I could study for the rest of my life. I encourage my students to complete those three tasks.
1. Knowing that the Apostle Paul was given the task of teaching the Gentiles, study Paul. I'm not talking about some weirdo hyper-diaper isolating of Paul from the rest of scripture. I'm talking about letting him take you by the hand and guide you through the scriptures.
Start in the Book of Romans. The first word is "Paul". Look up Paul in every place wherein he in mentioned. Form your own opinion of him based on the word of God. The next phrase is "a servant". What did a servant mean to a pharisee in 45 AD? Search it out. Go through the law, the histories and the gospels to understand the concept. When you have finished that, ask yourself the question, why did he say "of Jesus Christ"? Why didn't he say, Christ Jesus, or the Christ, or Jesus, or the Lord Jesus? Look up that tandem of words every place in the bible. It is only used 5 times in the gospels.
You may not come up with an answer, but give it some thought. It may take years for God to show you, but he can't give you answers if you haven't had the question. Slowly, go through each phrase or concept as Paul speaks of them. Use a concordance or bible software. Let Paul carry you throughout that bible. Don't stop until you have gone from Romans through Hebrews. Stay with each term or concept until your conscience knows that you have given it your best. No one quotes the Old Testament more than Paul, and you will find that he makes constant reference to it. Just because your center line references miss the reference, doesn't mean that it is not there.
2. Draw your own tabernacle using only those things found in a King James Bible. I am no artist. At best I make stick figures but, I can make 10 cubits to be 10 inches on paper. I can crudely mark the spots where each piece of the tabernacle can be found. I can draw crude altars to scale. When I was done, I had an outline of the tabernacle drawn on paper and I had each of its several parts marked in their approximate places. Other people might laugh at it but it worked for me.
I found a couple things just too hard to get exactly. Some are still vague to me, others I understood later. Those vagaries did not hinder me. When I did find answers latter, having fully formulated the questions helped me a lot.
Next, learn the first five sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus. Using your own crude drawing of the tabernacle, can you point to the places where each offering was to take place? Who kills the animal? Who flays it? Who collects the blood? Who gets to keep what? When does that change? When and why does the sacrifice change? Eventually, you will want to do that for every offering in the Books of Moses.
When Peter said, And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers, Acts 3:17; what did that require the elders of Israel to do? When Jesus Christ told lepers who had been healed to show themsleves to the priest, what was the priest required to do? (Hint: Leviticus 14). How does the peace offering differ from the sin offering? What is a trespass? You will find that the Apostle Paul never uses the terms, blood, offering or sacrifice without having a specific one in mind.
3. Make a list of every occurrence of the word "spirit" in your bible. Make columns for each title. Keep the spirit of God separate from the Spirit of God. Have a notebook in which every time the bible uses a title of spirit whether with an upper or a lower case "s", you have it in your reference book. You will make discoveries. For example, the term "Spirit of the Lord" never shows up in your bible until the Book of Judges. When the term is used, Israel is in bondage because of sin. A judge has the Spirit of the Lord come upon him. He delivers Israel. Paul explains that when he says; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2nd Corinthians 3:17. There is a reason for each title that God uses.
When such a student has completed those three tasks, he will have an outline of the bible from which to study for the rest of his life. The pastor's job is to exhort him to study. The pastor must be ever vigilant and he must watch for the zillions of little snares that will sidetrack his students. The pastor must protect the student from the great swellings of pride that the student will inevitably face when he begins to learn truths that he has never heard spoken. A pastor must be there to reprove, rebuke and exhort his students as they live their daily lives and still seek to know their bibles.
Such students learn their master's voice in the hallowed words of a King James Bible. When someone seeks to persuade such a student that his bible has errors, he might as well tell a mathematician that the Pythagorean Theory is wrong. When someone tells such a student that he must attend a bible college, or study dead ancient languages to ever grasp the bible, he might as well tell an old coal miner with coal dust etched into the cracks of his skin that their is no coal underground.
Such a student, if called to preach or to teach, will always have fresh bread for his hearers. His teaching and preaching will be alive with truth and will always keep the attention of his listeners. The job of the Local church in training students to learn their bibles is to guide its people into study, and to protect them from themselves, the naysayers and the devil while they learn. Preach doctrine. The reason that most pastors only preach typology and spiritualization of stories is that the lost and carnal can follow along.
I often tell new people who begin attending that if they will faithfully trust their bibles and keep coming, in 4 or 5 years, they will know their bibles better than a PhD out of a bible college. Most of them pass that mark in their first year or two, but then that is a pretty low standard.