I stumbled across an interesting study by Paul Warby. He took the time to comb through books in the New Testament looking for examples of different types of teaching. Is the church following the example we find in Scripture when it comes to teaching one another?
Here is what Paul Warby found:
He did the same with the book of Acts:
"I took Jesus' ministry prior to his arrest and crucifixion (Mark 1-Mark 14:42) and identified 63 teaching events.
7 are unclear as to being either interactive or non-interactive (these are generally sweeping statements, e.g. "Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of God" Mark 1:14)
10 are non-interactive. Here we have taken the text as it stands although interaction is sometimes implied (e.g. the calling of disciples found in 1:17-20; 2:14). I also noticed that some non-interactive accounts like the telling of parables required interaction later in the story for the disciples to understand the message (e.g. Mark 4:26-33 of. vs34).
37 teaching events were initiated by others.
31 teaching events had verbal dialogue. These may be the same teaching events as those initiated by others (e.g. the story of the paralytic Mark 2:1-12) but in this category we are looking for recorded verbal dialogue in the text of Mark.
25 teaching events were also action events. These are healings, miracles and the like where teaching is associated with physical experiences (e.g. Mark 1:39; 1:40-44; 3:1-5 etc.)"
33 have dialogue
28 are unclear as to interaction
14 are initiated by persons other than the main speakers, e.g. an opening question.
11 are action events
5 have non-interactive monologues
The example we see in Scripture is one where teaching occurs in many different ways and locations. Most of it was also unscheduled. There is no record of Jesus or the early church sending out bulletins or flyers informing the people what topics would be taught at specific gatherings. The gatherings were informal, mostly unscheduled, and the conversations mostly interactive.
Consider some non-spiritual types of teaching.
How would you teach a child to ride a bike? Would you schedule a time and place. Prepare a lesson. Have the child sit and listen as you present a lecture on how to ride a bike?
No. The lessons are mostly unscheduled, require interactive teaching, active demonstrations, active assistance, and require followup instructions on safety for years to come.
What types of teaching work best in a classroom setting today? Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of teaching activities, and recognize that the lecture format produces some of the poorest results. The more of the following the better: Questions, debates, field trips, role play, project work, hands on activities and practice practice practice.
So, how should the church teach one another as we read in Colossians 3:16?
Should we value certain less interactive methods higher than other informal interactive methods?
- video lead studies?
- prepared Bible studies?
- book studies?
What do you think? Are we following the book on this one?