You are studying the Bible on your own, right? Good.
Here is an exercise for you that are spiritual and have some experience in personal Bible study.
Make a list of the 50 most important things someone should learn from the Bible.
Make sure you prioritize. The list should include only the most important things (not necessarily the most fun, popular, or personal favorite). You may have to list more than 50 to find the most important.
Imagine you are making the list for someone who is a Biblical blank slate and you have the task of teaching them. Pretend, they only know what you tell them.
Get a paper and start writing, the first dozen or so will come easy.
Another dozen will come when you think about the things you have taken for granted. Consider important people, events, virtues, godly attributes, instructions, Christian fundamentals, etc.
The rest may take some thinking, but you know them, because you have been learning from the Bible right? Surely, you’ve learned 50 things, and can discern if they are the most important in the Bible.
The list will not be novel or revolutionary. Christians have been creating lists like this for centuries.
Once you are done, you have a list of Bible study topics you can teach once a week for a year to your family, friends, or in your new grace assembly.
Go back through your list, and write 3-5 things about each item that make it important. If it is truly important, this should be easy.
Now, you have lessons for up to five years in your group. By that point you will have added more to the list, or can go back and repeat some old lessons for new people.
While there is a time to cover the less important material, the majority of the teaching in the church should be on the most important things.
Your response toward controversial, popular, and confusing doctrines should always be: “where does this fit in or affect the items on the list of most important doctrines.” If it does not, then your attention is better spent elsewhere.
We need more people teaching the most important things. This will ground more people in the basics of the Bible, prevent heresies, and produce stronger saints.
This practice is what missionaries, elders, pastors, and teachers
do should do.
You should already know what is on my list through the content on my website. If you can’t find something on the site, then it could be it is not on the list. I would love to see your list.
If you are struggling making the list, perhaps you need to do more personal Bible study, or consider our 2013 Ambassdors Seminar for some quick ideas:
For His glory,
Justin “start at the top” Johnson