Today, a fellow teacher shared some of what she was gleaning from her personal Bible study. She had been reading, was challenged, and decided to share. Her email was thoughtful and encouraging. As she closed, she wrote this:
“Love how God can give new insights and conviction through a passage that I’ve read many times. Very thankful for His patience with me…He has to remind me of some things over and over!”
Her experience here should be normative for all Christians. And it can be quite helpful for teachers in particular. Here is her point reworded: God teaches us through his Word. Often, He isn’t giving us something new, but a new perspective or better grasp on something we already know. God reminds us. God convicts us. God deepens our understanding. And this happens through the Word.
God demonstrates regular, consistent, incremental, patient care for our growth. And, as teachers, that should be our posture and practice toward our students. God reminds me. God is patient with me. God slowly deepens and develops my understanding. Therefore, I must do this for my students. Peter wanted this for the people under his care as well:
“I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things (2 Pet 1:12-15, emphasis mine).
We must do this work of reminding by bringing them the Word. I know that God uses his words to shape me. And I know that they are his means to shape them. Am I comfortable letting God be muted in my classroom? Am I willing to allow my coursework to only engage with a gagged God? (Of course, God is able to speak for Himself. We have no power over his abilities. But we know that He has chosen to speak to us through the Bible. Therefore, if we want to hear God speak, we must open his Word.)
Paul said it like this in Romans 10:14-15: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?”
How can your students believe? Hear the Word. How can they hear? You tell them. This is true for your students who are believers and non-believers. They need to hear. They need to be reminded. They need to be patiently encouraged. They need the Word to be in your mind and heart. They need it to be on your lips. They need it to be in your coursework. They need it to be in your classroom. They need it.
How do I know? Because I know we need it too.
So what is your next step? Read. Read the Bible yourself. Fill your mind and heart with the Word. Then, it will overflow. You will start reminding others. A colleague did it for me today. And I am praying that we will all do it for our students as well.