2. Teach with a specific goal in mind.
Following the characteristics of how “the Teacher” prepared to instruct others, the author of Ecclesiastes comments on the goal for which “the Teacher” taught others. Ecclesiastes 12:11a states, “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails.” A “goad” was an implement that prodded an animal in a desired direction. A “goad” was used to direct an ox while plowing. “The Teacher’s” instruction is likened to a goad. It is intended to lead his audience to a certain place. According to 12:13 that place is genuine worship of the one true God and following his commands wholeheartedly. Continue reading
Maybe you’ve encountered the teacher kept you in the dark about where they were headed. I’ve heard of preachers who thought it a virtue to keep their congregations guessing about the point of their sermons. But is this really helpful? Wouldn’t it be better to tell the audience (whether students or a congregation) what your main point is and then show them?
The writer of Ecclesiastes closes his book with a brief outline of how “the Teacher” systematically went about instructing those placed under his care. I believe these verses may rightly be applied to a teacher/preacher of the Bible today. This is by no means exhaustive of what the Bible has to say about teaching others, but Ecclesiastes 12:9–11 does provide at least three principles that can (and should) guide every teacher/preacher of Scripture.
Were there any examples of the kind of relationship that might be identified with NT discipleship in the OT?[i] According to Rengstorf the answer must certainly be no. He notes that the relationship between Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, the prophets and their attendants, and Jeremiah and Baruch were not teacher-disciple relationships as is sometimes thought. Rather, Joshua, Elisha, Baruch, and others who followed the prophets were “servants” of those with whom they had a relationship.[ii] In the end, Rengstorf reasons that the teacher-disciple relationship was absent in the OT because there was only one who was to be revered and whose word was to be followed, the Lord himself. Continue reading
“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” While many of us can probably recite the words to this familiar little tune, I suspect fewer of us can with the same confidence recall where we first heard it. That is usually the case with any song you may have learned as a small child. You cannot begin to remember the circumstances under which you first learned the words to a song, but you can recall it with little effort, even to this day. That is part of the power of music. Continue reading