I have been teaching Sunday School since I was 19. I started teaching a class for Grades 7-9 boys. I learned so much from preparing and teaching those boys. I learned much about myself, teenagers, God, and the Bible.
Over these last twenty years, I have been in many adult classes as an attender. I have had a variety of experiences. Some were great, some where good, and some were poor. Next time, I will share what makes a poor experience for me. But this time I want to focus on the results of covering too few or too many verses.
TOO FEW VERSES. There are many dangers that come related to covering too few verses. Consider the following:
- The verse(s) is taken out of the context of the larger passage (others that follow start here).
- The verse(s) is not understood.
- The point (truth) of the verse or passage is missed.
- This may be evidence of poor time management during class (other activities took up too much time).
- This may be evidence of poor teacher preparation.
- This may be evidence of poor class management (allowing too much time for chasing rabbits).
- Without the Bible being opened, the power for God to change lives through Bible study was lost.
TOO MANY VERSES. Similarly, there are dangers from trying to cover too many verses. Consider the following:
- There is too much time spent covering background, words, and culture (some of this is important for understanding, but too much usually limits application).
- Multiple points (truths) are covered weakening the likelihood that any will be remembered, applied, or obeyed.
- In the rush to cover so many verses, understanding does not happen (fire-hydrant syndrome).
- Learning style preferences are ignored in favor of lecture in order to cover more verses.
- Learner involvement is minimized resulting in lower understanding, ownership, and application of the truth.
How many verses are the right number? That completely depends on the group, the amount of time you have, and the passage itself. Do your best to prepare well. Part of that preparation is determining how much can be covered in the time you have with your class. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
For more ideas about teaching, check out these posts:
- Transformational Sunday School Does More Than Lecture, Part 1
- Benchmarks for Excellence in Sunday School Teaching, Part 1
- Teaching Adjustments Which Encourage Obedience, Part 2
- Sunday School Teaching for Results
- Do We Really Want Our Sunday School Teaching to Bear Fruit?
- Wisely Choosing Sunday School Teaching Methods, Part 2
- Using the Bible in Adult Sunday School
- Improve Yourself, Improve Your Teaching