Teaching the Bible to Adults and Youth, by Dick Murray, Abingdon Press, 1993

The late Dick Murray, who was professor of Christian education at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, summarized 25 tips about teaching the Bible in a congregation:

  1. The Bible is the book of the church, and it belongs to every Christian.  The God of the Bible is our God, and we look through every page of the Bible for God. 
  2. All members and participants of the church are called on to study and learn the Bible because it is the primary written witness to the love of God we know in Jesus Christ. 
  3. We teach the Bible with both our minds and our hearts, seeking for mental and emotional insights. 
  4. Such teaching results in learning more about the Bible, as well as leading us to become involved with the biblical stories and characters themselves. 
  5. All methods and procedures commonly used in education, such as storytelling, lectures, discussion, and so on, have a function to perform in teaching the Bible when used in balance with other methods.
  6. Depth Bible study helps us move from objective understanding of the text, to subjective involvement with the Scripture ourselves.
  7. Theological Bible study helps us ask the key theological questions about God, ourselves, and the relationship between God and God's creatures.
  8. Shared Praxis Bible study pushes us as teachers to examine carefully the reasons for and implications of our actions for and the intersection between the biblical story and vision, and our stories.
  9. Dialogue and Encounter Bible study forces us to ask hard, critical, analytical questions, as well as opening our eyes and feelings to the call of God within its words.
  10. Sensory-Transforming Bible study invites us to use all our senses – hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting – to work our way into the inner dynamic of biblical stories, and to imagine ourselves as part of the interaction and demand of the narrative.
  11. Spectrum Bible study helps us realize how differently Christian understand a particular text, and leads us to examine their reasoning for their position.
  12. In Paraphrasing and Reverse Paraphrasing, the teacher leads the participants to put the biblical text in their own words, and to look at some of the negative roots of the Bible’s most positive statements.
  13. In memorizing key portions of the Bible, Christian students find themselves with an enlarged Bible of their own in their heads, rather than on their shelves.
  14. Using the knowledge and dynamic of biblical scholars on audio and video can enhance our teaching when such recordings are “kept in their place.”
  15. Youth can and want both to know more about the Bible and to become involved with the Bible when they are led into the text creatively and lovingly.
  16. Video and biblical films can make the narrative of the Bible vivid and memorable, but classes should be “debriefed” on the tendency of these resources to interpret the Bible too literally.
  17. Using a variety of dramatic ways to involve our pupils in the biblical text can help “the entire person”—intellectually and emotionally —participate in the biblical drama.
  18. The good Bible teacher selects from and brings together the various approaches available for interesting and exciting lessons.
  19. Pastors enhance their sermons by organizing the congregation into study groups to study the biblical text before it is preached. 
  20. Some brave preachers enlist a serious, purposeful group of laypersons to share in the biblical preparation of their sermons.
  21. Other pastors organize groups to discuss the biblical text after they have preached on that passage, to deepen the participants’ understanding.
  22. Pastors involve many persons in some Bible study in worship services, while also providing in-depth Bible study for a few who want to work quite hard in a pastor’s Bible class.
  23. Interested pastors use one of the available systematic prepackaged Bible studies (such as Covenant) that are available, or they develop their own curriculum of this type, enlisting sizable numbers from the congregation.
  24. Pastors and Christian educators teach Sunday school teachers and others how to use concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and atlases, as well as how to improve their teaching of the Bible in their lessons.
  25. Pastors and Christian educators teach Bible classes themselves for the sake of their own spiritual life.