Hermeneutics 2. Study and teach checklist for preparation and communicating God’s word

Tod Kennedy. Most recent edit on Dec 2017.

In brief, the teacher must always keep in the forefront of his thinking that his job is to transfer what he has learned from the Bible to the listener so the listener can also understand the Bible and act upon what he has learned.

The purpose of a teaching ministry or for that matter any public communication is to inform the audience and to move them to act upon what they heard. Inform the audience about what? For Bible teachers, to inform the audience of what the Bible says and means. This means that the teacher must have studied the biblical text, thought about what the text says, present proofs where helpful or needed, and organize the results in a way that clearly accomplishes his purpose. Good so far, but now he needs to communicate or explain the results of his work to an audience. This is often easier said than done. There are different styles, but the style that fits the teacher and the audience is good as long as the purpose of the lesson, class, speech, or whatever is kept in mind and accomplished.

I. Content or Substance of study—the content is most important.

  1. Summary of how I ought to study
    1. What does the text say? Observation. Look closely at the context and text for words, relationships of words, ideas and relationships of ideas, contrasts, comparisons, subjects, nouns, verbs, predicates, clauses, prepositional phrases and record the observations.
    2. Why did the author write this?
    3. What does the text mean? Interpretation. The interpreter places himself in the author’s head, and using the results of research, observation, and comparing Scripture with Scripture seeks to understand the author’s intended meaning.
    4. What should I and my audience do in response to the text? Application:
    5. Make a summary of the passage.
    6. Note the doctrines referred to and teach as needed.

The Exegetical Process—What does the author say and mean? ask questions and find answers

  • History: The facts of history or historical background pertinent to the Bible section under study.
  • Context: the relationship to the paragraph, chapter, book, argument of the book, other Bible books, to the Bible as a whole, and to God’s plan for creation. This includes a preliminary outline.
  • Text: The determination of the wording of the manuscript that best reflects the original.
  • Grammar and Syntax: The forms and uses of the language(s) at the time the Bible section under study was written (subject, verb, object, phrases, clauses, etc). This includes style, literary form, and poetry. Diagramming helps.
  • Lexical: The development, use, and meaning of the words. This includes figures of speech by which the author expresses himself in a special way. Important figures of speech include Simile, a comparison using like or as (Psalm 1:3 and 42:1). Metaphor says something is something else to imply a resemblance (Psalm 23:1; John 10:7, 11). Symbols are words that teach by representation (John 1.29).
  • Analysis and Synthesis: The investigation, explanation, and combination of the elements and parts of the whole. This will include an outline. This is the place in the process where everything is brought together.
  • Summary: A concise recapitulation of the Bible section under study. This includes a brief point by point, verse by verse, paragraph by paragraph summary
  • Doctrines and Applications: Develop the categories and principles of doctrine related to the Bible section under study. Be sure to make applications of the doctrines studied and include the applications in the study.

II. The Communication process

This emphasizes the way I communicate the results of my study. This is delivery, public speaking, teaching the lesson. Good content must be communicated well or I will miss reaching the target.

  1. Include in my teaching, when helpful for understanding, learning, and support.
  2. Explanation of the context
  3. Important historical background
  4. Text variation if I think it will help the people better appreciate and understand the Scripture
  5. Important words
  6. Cross reference my study to other Scripture that gives details about the verse or verses that I are studying.
  7. A summary of the Scripture
  8. Important grammatical constructions and relationships
  9. Doctrines taught in the Scripture or doctrines mentioned in the Scripture
  10. Develop the doctrine or doctrines that are central to this Scripture. To do this I will bring in what other Scripture says about this doctrine.
  11. And of course, teach the so what?—applications based upon the correct interpretation of the Scripture.
  12. Summary guidelines
  13. Teach the Bible text.
  14. Stay on Topic.
  15. Organize and watch your Time.
  16. So what?
  17. Communication guidelines to follow while speaking
    1. Be expressive
    2. Be flexible
    3. Be humble, not arrogant
    4. Be natural
    5. Depend on God to teach through you
    6. Do not be intimidated by audience
    7. Encourage the audience
    8. Humor helps
    9. Lead the audience through the text
    10. So What? Answer this question
    11. Speak clearly
    12. Stay on points you are making
    13. Stay on subject matter
    14. Stay on time
    15. Watch audience and eye contact with people throughout the audience

III. Style of teaching or public speaking

This may vary with the individual and with the specific assignment. Whatever style is used for a certain study or message should enhance the communication of the content of the Bible passage or topic being taught. Content must reach the audience, and in such a way that the content affects the audience for God’s good.

IV. Resources. Below are a few to begin with.

  1. Bibles: New American Standard Bible. After that what ever is your choice.
  2. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. Strong, James.
  3. English Dictionary.
  4. The Interlinear NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English. Alfred Marshall. Zondervan
  5. The NKJV Greek English Interlinear New Testament. Majority Text. Thomas Nelson
  6. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament Brown, Francis, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs.
  7. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  8. \Unger’s Bible Handbook
  9. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Unger, Merrill Frederick, R. K. Harrison, Howard Frederic Vos, Cyril J. Barber and Merrill Frederick Unger. Rev. and updated ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1988.
  10. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Youngblood, Ronald F., F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison and Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995.
  11. New Bible Dictionary. Wood, D. R. W. InterVarsity Press, 1996, c1982, c1962.
  12. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger and William White. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1996.
  13. Others to be noted later.