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Bible teacher or biblical teacher?

I have been studying the Bible for over thirty years. I've taught the Bible to others for over twenty. I've read books by authors who are marketed as Bible teachers. There is a difference between someone is a teacher with a bibical mindset and someone who is there to help the student open the Word of God and learn from it. The two are not synonymous.

I can write a post on this blog about an issue from a biblical point of view; say one on parenting or vocation. I would refer to the Bible, but that's not the same thing as taking a passage of Scripture and teaching it. The latter means picking it apart, staying in context, focusing on the individual phrases, taking into consideration the background, the setting, and if it's a narrative, the characters, plot, and resolution. I think a good Bible teacher will show the student how to study and learn from the Bible. There is a lot we can learn about what the Bible teaches simply by reading a book written from a biblical point of view, but to know the Bible deeply requires really opening it up. It's work. 

In preparation for my Synoptic Gospels class this week, I've been reading from three different places: Mark 1:16-8:6; Matthew 3-10; and Luke 3-9:50. I've read each of those sections four times now. The last time through, I did some comparison between how the authors presented various accounts. I read carefully. And I'm not done. Because the sections are relatively large, I really could not stop to focus on one specific spot. Bible study means getting into the Bible. 

Books about the Bible won't do that for you. Reading a biblical perspective on an issue is good and such books help us to wrestle through our own ideas on issues. But unless it's a book about a specific doctrine or a commentary, a book on a topic is going to open up the author's interpretation of the biblical material more than the Bible itself. If I am looking for a book that will help me understand the Bible more, I need to look for authors who have clearly been in the Bible; a lot.

This whole area of how we read, interpret, and teach the Bible is one I'm very interested in. If there was ever going to be an area of dedicated research that I would pursue, that would be it.

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