Christian Education

The Biblical Difference Between Preaching and Teaching

The Greek New Testament uses many different words to describe distinct methods of communicating. There are thirteen hundred and twenty-nine references in the Greek New Testament using forms of the word lego, which is to say or speak. Two hundred and ninety-six times the word laleo is used, denoting saying orspeaking. One hundred and nine times parakaleo is used to reference exhorting, urging, or encouraging. Ninety-seven times didasko or teach is employed. Sixty-one times we find kerusso, which is typically translated as preach or proclaim.

Fifty-four times euangellizo appears, sometimes translated as preach, but referencing specifically the telling of good news. Eighteen times katangello is utilized (all in Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, and Colossians) to denote speaking out or intently proclaiming. Seventeen times elencho denotes rebuking or correcting. Thirteen times dialegomai is used to describe of a process of engagement and participating in dialogue. Ten times reference is made, with the word apologeomai, to making a defense. Ten times suzeteo is used to reference arguing or disputing. Nine times parresiazomai is used for speaking boldly. Three times diangello communicates a speaking through or giving notice. There are other communication words used in the Greek NT, but these verb roots (and their represented forms) make up the vast majority.

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Improving Adult Sunday School classes

From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2015. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

My purpose in the first article was to call churches back to the priority of adult Sunday School classes because I believe they can do everything small groups can do and more and can provide the best format for discipleship. In short, adult Sunday School has the greater potential for benefit to a church. In this second article I offer some suggestions for how we adult teachers can improve our adult classes so they reach their full potential.

1. Commit to using printed curriculum that covers the Bible systematically.​

One of the advantages of adult Sunday School classes over small groups is they can cover all the Bible systematically. This kind of coverage will not happen if adult teachers are allowed to choose their own studies. Systematic coverage can only happen when teachers follow a printed curriculum that covers the entire Bible. And if a church has more than one adult class, this kind of coverage can only happen when all the adult teachers in a church follow the printed curriculum.1 For adult classes to reach their full potential, printed curriculum that covers the Bible systematically is essential.

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In Defense of the Adult Sunday School

From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2015. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

The venerable adult Sunday School class has not been doing well recently. Most churches still have one or more adult Sunday School classes (though some churches have already abandoned them), but a new adult ministry seems to be getting the priority these days—small groups.

I believe that one reason for the popularity of small groups is that in many cases we have not done adult Sunday School well. Adult Sunday Schools in many churches have become stale and lifeless, so we have looked for a new ministry. Small groups seem like the answer to the problems of adult Sunday School classes.

How Do They Differ?

Most of us are familiar with adult Sunday School classes. Churches have had them for decades. Smaller churches may have only one class while larger churches have multiple classes. Churches that have more than one adult class may group the adults by ages (my preference) or allow adults to attend any class they want. Many churches today call the adult classes Adult Bible Fellowships (ABFs).

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An Overview of Sunday School Publishers

From Faith Pulpit, Fall 2013. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article I overview twelve of the major curriculum publishers, especially Baptist publishers, that Faith Pulpit readers might be aware of, have questions about, or consider choosing for their church ministries. The websites linked to each publishing house are the basis for this overview. Visit these websites to find the scope and sequence of each curriculum.

Answers Bible Curriculum

Answers Bible Curriculum (ABC) is produced by Answers in Genesis (AiG) of Petersburg, Kentucky. AiG introduced this curriculum to churches in the summer of 2012. It is an interdenominational, uniform curriculum on a three-year cycle of lessons. ABC has a special apologetic focus on equipping students to defend the truth of Scripture, especially the book of Genesis. The AiG doctrinal statement is strong on creation issues (including marriage) and holds to a Biblical position on God, the Scripture, Jesus Christ, and salvation. It does not deal with such matters as church polity or eschatology. The publisher leaves those areas up to the church using the materials. AiG also produces VBS materials and other creation-related resources for use in churches, schools, and homes.

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