Posted by: Terry | June 18, 2011

Pondering to teach

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.(Psa 107:43 NIV)

Heed and ponder – attend to and consider – observe and understand – “laid up in the mind” and pondered for understanding. The wise one remembers the loving deeds of the Lord for in pondering on them the present is seen in proper perspective.

As teachers we are charged with reminding believers (Paul’s advice to Timothy)  of all that God has done. The result is changed lives. (2 Peter 1)

Yet this verse gives instruction for the study and preparation to teach. To communicate as we should there is a process of attending, heeding, observing our topic or text. Really learning it for ourselves both in understanding the concept but in living it in our lives.

Then comes a time of pondering. This is when the material moves from the head to the heart. If we are to touch the hearts of those we teach then it must be from the heart that we speak. Head without heart is cold and lifeless, head and heart move people to faith and changed lives.

  1. Read the passage over and over. One professor said read it over and over until you get the flow of it in your mind, then begin your study. Dr. Mitchell claimed that he read a passage 50 times, out-loud before he taught it. Personally, I know I am getting close when I can go through the passage in my mind, not necessarily word for word but idea-by-idea.
  2. Keep a notebook as you read. I write down thoughts, concepts, ideas questions as I read. The passage begins to speak as I write and in the writing they are remembered.
  3. Read and study the details and the questions that come from the reading. Look up geography, cultural terms. Study key words, use e-sword or Laridian software for help. Read commentaries. Adding always to the notes. Key points will begin to stand out, an outline, a picture, applications.
  4. Frequently ponder in your mind. Go through the passage over and over in your mind, pausing to think of the ideas and information you have gathered.

The result of this kind of preparation is that the message becomes internalized, not written on paper. A message that comes from the heart, with support from the brain has credibility, relevance, and passion – three requirements of all good teaching. This process is hard to do if you try to prepare all in one day, or evening.

Have a few cups of tea with the passage and God. Talk to him about it, after all it is his message, this I find is the best pondering of all.

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