One of the concepts we promote at Teach One Reach One is teaching the Bible to children and teens in ways that help them to understand the importance of it in their lives. While most of you probably feel comfortable doing that with the New Testament, you may be one of many who struggle with the Old Testament. You may even view it as a collection of stories to teach kids so they know how time passed from the beginning to Jesus – and not much more.
Recently, a minister I know suggested I get a copy of the book, How to Teach and Preach the Old Testament for All Its Worth by Christopher J.H. Wright. I rarely, if ever, recommend you purchase a book until I have thoroughly read it myself. This book has so much helpful information though, I am breaking my rule – that’s how badly I want you to read this book!
The reason I haven’t finished the book is because there really is so much useful information, I am reading more slowly than I normally do to make sure I am absorbing it all. Wright uses the book to give a master class for beginners (and the more experienced) on understanding and teaching the Old Testament to others.
He spends a fair amount of time in the beginning helping the reader appreciate more thoroughly why we still have the Old Testament – in spite of the fact Jesus fulfilled the Law. His style is an easy read, yet he doesn’t gloss over anything. Even though many of his ideas on the subject weren’t entirely new to me, he presented them in such a way that I wasn’t bored.
The majority of the book is spent reviewing some of the basic principles of story telling (a quick refresher for those who have participated in our story telling workshop) and then going into detail about the best ways to teach the various other categories of writings in the Old Testament – the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms and Wisdom Literature.
Wright gives readers questions to ask themselves as they prepare their lessons, but also general thought questions to help them process what he is sharing. Under each point he makes about teaching the various types of writing found in the Old Testament, he gives several examples from scripture to illustrate what he is suggesting you do when you teach from that type of passage. It helps take what could be abstract ideas about teaching down to the more practical, concrete level.
I won’t promise you this will be a quick read – I anticipate it taking me awhile to read and process everything. It is easy to understand and won’t leave you with one of those headaches academics can cause by using the largest words they can find in their Thesaurus! I think taking the time to read and process this book will make you a much stronger Bible teacher – no matter what ages you teach. Not only will it help you present important information, but also he does a great job in helping the reader understand and communicate God’s overall Plan.
So if you are like me and continually wanting to grow and learn as a teacher, I would say this is one of those books you want to have in your personal library – or at least borrow and read. I think you will find it adds a new depth to your Old Testament lessons – even for the youngest of children.
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