‘You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.’ Titus 2:1 (NIV)
Lessons from Sunday school are not always the ones taught to the students in the class. Quite often, the teachers also derive great benefits from the lessons they teach. Consider this. If we have been permitted to teach Sunday school by our church leadership, then we obviously have communicated the authenticity of our Bible knowledge, and the ability to teach it. So if we have been able to accomplish this, then we must understand what we are teaching. And we may think we do, but do we always?
There are many times, I have found, that I have studied, made notes, and then prayed over the lessons I have prepared. I am generally familiar with the subject matter for the lessons, and I do not seem to have any issues in delivering the same to my class. But what amazes me is the times when I come away from the lesson, once it is taught, with new knowledge I did not possess prior to teaching it. Not just that…I have gained a new understanding and insight that I can apply to my life. I walked into my classroom with the head knowledge…I walked out with the heart knowledge, and with an understanding I had previously lacked.
I do my best to be very careful, astute, aware, to teach sound doctrine. God’s Word is very specific in most cases of what He has laid out, and of how we are to respond to it. There are no gray areas, no places left up to discussion, when it comes to the true doctrine of God’s ways, and His expectations. He sets the standard, and we are to follow it. When He says a situation is to be handled this way or that way, then we best be doing it in just that way. If we are to be effective teachers of God’s Word, then we must understand this truth. When God sets forth a declaration, we cannot alter it. Some things may be fodder for discussion, but something requiring a specific reaction to a specific command allows no discussion, not regarding the validity of it. It is definitely doctrine.
Teachers and all Bible readers often try to explain things that cannot be explained in God’s Word. We do not always understand every single thing. The Bible is God’s Living Word. And as such, the things we are to know will be revealed to us in due time. God will enlighten us when the time is right. We would do well to admit that to ourselves, and to those we teach, when we are not able to explain every single thing we read in the Bible. Teaching something as though it is does not make it sound doctrine. Only God can do that. It is His business, not ours.
We can be content in reading and studying God’s Word simply because that is what it is. We don’t have to enlarge it, or change it, or try to force understanding of it. We must only study it, and share it, but not add any new meanings to it that might change it. When we do that, we are not teaching sound doctrine. But when that moment comes that we receive the insight, the meaning of a verse or passage we have read over and over again, the knowledge gained can literally move us to another level in our grasp of the Word.
Jesus taught only truth. He taught the things of God that people needed to hear, to know, to understand. His teaching was sound doctrine. He is Our Hope, and when we rely on Him to lead us and guide us to the understanding we need to live our lives as we should, then we will recognize truth when it is before us. The lessons from Sunday school will be life lessons, that will strengthen the hope we have in our Lord.
‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’ 2 Timothy:15 (NIV)