How to Pick a Passage to Study and Teach

How to Pick a Passage to Study and Teach

You now have an adequate grasp on the Old and New Testaments.  You feel reasonably confident that you know the books, divisions and major themes of the books of the Bible.  You have a willing spirit to study and teach God’s Word.  And now an opportunity has been given to you to teach or speak a few minutes on a biblical passage.  What biblical passage should you pick?  Where should you start in your quest to teach the Bible.  It can be an overwhelming decision but consider a few recommendations on how to pick a biblical passage to study and ultimately teach.

Pick a passage out of your current devotional reading.  As one who aspires to teach God’s Word, I highly recommend that you be reading God’s Word regularly for your own growth, encouragement and blessing.  Have you read something that has piqued your interest?  While reading have you thought, “I wish I knew more about_____________ in this passage.”  Here’s a great place to start.

Pick a passage based on your comfort level.  I wouldn’t recommend the apocalyptic literature of Ezekiel or Revelation for someone just beginning to study the Bible.  The multitude of Old Testament quotes in Hebrews might prove to be exhausting.  The “woes” of the prophets may be too overwhelming.  The Psalms, Proverbs and Gospels virtually interpret themselves.  Begin slow and easy.

Pick a passage related to an upcoming Christian holiday.  The National Day of Prayer is a great time to teach one of the many prayers recorded in the Bible or passages that instruct us how to pray.  Christmas is a time to remind people that Jesus really is the reason for the season and to speak on the incarnation.  If you have been asked to bring a devotion to a sports team consider one of the passages in the New Testament that describe the Christian life as running or boxing. 

Pick a passage based on what God is doing in your life at the moment.  I consider this teaching or preaching from “the overflow.”  Is God teaching you to trust Him?  Select a text in Hebrews 11 about faith in God.  Is God reminding you to walk in the Spirit?  Consider the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.  Are you struggling to forgive someone?  Teach on forgiveness.  Have you been reminded again of the suffering of Christ on your behalf?  Jump into Isaiah 53.

Pick a passage based on prayer.  Are you praying about what you should teach?  If you are and God does not appear to be leading you anywhere do not despair.  Remember that all 66 books of the Bible are equally inspired.  But ask God what passage you should study in preparation to teach.  He knows the needs of your audience more than you do. 

Pick the opening chapter or paragraph of a Bible book you may want to eventually study as a whole.  This is my standard practice for preaching and teaching.  I normally preach through Bible books beginning with the first verse of the first chapter and preach expositionally to the end.  I am in the Gospel of Luke on Sunday evenings at my church and have been for about two years.  If you want to do this, I would highly recommend a short book, maybe even a book of the Bible with one chapter like Obadiah, 2 John, 3 John or Jude; or study a short Psalm in its entirety. 

Pick a passage on a doctrine you want to learn more about.  Christian doctrine and theology have often been made out to be dry or boring.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Christian belief leads to Christian behavior.  Understanding the doctrine of the sovereignty of God leads to peace in the life of the Christian.  What doctrine do you want to know more about?  Study John 1:1-4 to learn about the incarnation of Christ.  Turn to Genesis 12:1-3 to learn about God’s covenant with Abraham.  Jesus’ resurrection is the focus of 1 Corinthians 15.  Interested in prophecy and last things?  Study 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to learn more about the rapture of the church.

Do not get bogged down by something as simple as picking a biblical passage to study.  It is really easy.  These are just a few ways you can decide which passage to select.  All passages are equally inspired by God through His Holy Spirit.  Just pick one and jump in!

The Glory of God changes everything


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