SUNDAY SCHOOL - Suggestions For the Teacher


Dr. Edward Watke, Jr.


The success or the failure of a class hour, and any lesson in particular, depends much upon the teacher's use of time and the ability to adapt, prepare and present that lesson.

A teacher's expertise in these areas could be likened to a good cook's ability to use a recipe, 1) to adapt it to the ingredients on hand, if necessary; 2) to prepare it creatively, and then 3) to serve it tastefully. This includes preparing the utensils, properly mixing the ingredients together, then baking or cooking it, keeping a watchful eye during the whole process.

Lets consider the many aspects which make up preparing a lesson using someone else's materials (or even your own prepared materials). This also takes ability and requires the application of certain criteria for success.

I. You must have a GOOD INTRODUCTION !

1. Not an overdone introduction! (Not too long, too inclusive, or too exciting.)

2. It needs to capture attention, be supportive of the entire lesson, relate to the whole, and be briefly given.

3. It needs to lead into the main emphasis -- or into the body of the lesson or portion of Scripture you are teaching.

4. There should be a smooth transition from the introduction into the main body of the lesson.

5. An introduction is an attention-getter; be careful it is not so exciting or dramatic that it steals from the main body of teaching and is the only thing the class remembers. (If they can't get it out of their minds it may be the only thing they will remember.)

II. You must have a good AIM for the lesson!

1. --An aim that is consistent with the Word of God and the lesson materials you are teaching

2. --An aim that is life related, with applications in keeping with the theme of the lesson and the needs of the pupils

3. --An aim that you will emphasize throughout In other words, every main point of the lesson should lead to or reinforce the aim.

III. You need to KNOW HOW TO USE MATERIALS other than your own or a supplied quarterly!

1. First read, reread, and reread again (up to 12 times) the Scripture text or chapter or scattered verses that the writer of the lesson is using, teaching, or highlighting. Read them in their context!

2. Think through what these verses or portions are saying. Possibly study with a good commentary and/or a Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. (A Naves Topical Bible or some other study aid will help you.)

3. Study the quarterly or material supplied -- HOW? By reading that material again, and again, and again. Possibly it would help to read one part at a time and meditate on it until you have absorbed it. Think it through, close your eyes and visualize that part of the lesson. Try to think as the person who wrote the materials in the first place was thinking.


Isn't that what we do in good conversations with people? Do we not listen, and meditate on what they are saying and not ignore it while just thinking about what we want to say? Or are we a good conversationalist??
Put yourself in the place of the person who wrote the materials, absorb and understand his aim, and how he are going where he is going to reach that aim. Perhaps you would do it differently, but learn to adjust yourself to the writer's perspective.
Much of the growing you will personally experience comes out of being able to use and teach the materials written by others. This is also what a preacher does. He is like a bee that goes from flower to flower to select, pick up and take the nectar back to the hive, and prepare it and place it in the honey comb he builds.

4. Based upon the needs of the students, the aim of the writer, and purpose of the series, one should then decide how much time you will give to each point of the outline and how you will treat each main point.

5. Consider what you will leave out, what you may be led to add, and what is most important since most materials are written to give you an abundance from which you are to choose. Then watch your time, and pace yourself to teach all the lesson, not just some part of it.

If you have thirty-five minutes with an introduction, three points in the body of the lesson, and a conclusion to share, you pace yourself accordingly. If you have thirty minutes, five points, plus beginning and ending (which you always have) then you decide that you have about 4 to 5 minutes per point at the most. Or if you minimize one point and expand another, you budget your time accordingly.

6. Become a teacher who can adapt so you will not be prone to apologize, excuse yourself, be upset, complain, etc., about the lesson or the time that you have . You can learn how to use materials and apply all the foregoing aspects. You will need to pace yourself according to the time you have, the aim of the lesson, the needs of students and the impact you are seeking to make.

7. Then you may want to prepare your own method for teaching. Perhaps you would want to use 4 x 6 cards containing the introduction, the outline or body of the lesson, the closing, the applications, and questions that you
are planning to use to bring discussion, provoke thought and build participation. (It is good if you can set aside the teacher's manual or the materials you use as your text, and prepare a condensation for your actual teaching time.)

IV. You MUST CAPITALIZE on the questions prepared and the ideas given by the one who prepared or wrote the materials.

1. Assign questions and/or Scripture portions for the next week.

2. Have them written out, if that is necessary, and give them out to various students for their study and preparation during the week.

3. If materials are to be handed out for the next Sunday's study, capitalize on that for the students' good. Point out things for them to consider, or to study to arouse interest, encourage preparation and participation.

4. Prepare questions ahead of time before you use them in the class. If questions are given in the text, then think them through ahead of time. Consider what they emphasize, how you will ask them and when. If you change them a bit, be sure and plan that ahead of time also. WRITE THE QUESTIONS OUT!

5. When you use questions in the class teaching time, write some of them out on slips and hand them out, or assign them prior to the class time (or even the week ahead).

6. Consider ahead of time how you will lead discussion. If you don't plan for this you probably won't have class participation, or you may have problems controlling and guiding the discussion.

V. You must Bring the APPLICATION at the end of the lesson hour.

1. Assign time in your preparation and in your mind in order to have a good climax or ending. Pace your teaching time. Do not skip, neglect, or steal from this important time. Only rarely should a lesson close with no challenge or particular application.

2. The application should be in keeping with the aim, the purpose the author had in writing the lesson in the first place, and in keeping with the particular needs or problems the students face.

Note: If you were short of time, or you did not pace yourself, then learn from your own mistakes; change, do something about it; don't just excuse yourself. DO NOT SHORT-CHANGE THE STUDENTS. Someone pays a price -- either the teacher pays a price in order to prepare well or the student suffers in being short-changed by the teacher's failures.

It is wise to study through the above materials again and again until the process becomes a part of you. Memorizing and fulfilling a process will help you to become a good teacher who can successfully use materials at hand or that are given to you for presentation.



Dr. Edward Watke, Jr.

- 1997 -


There are basics which always come into play in any Sunday School or Bible Class lesson that is taught. If a teacher will do the things necessary in the preparation and understand the basic that are needed it will reduce the stress, help the teaching to become more thorough, and simplify the efforts involved.


1. A King James Bible, for we use it exclusively in our teaching situations.

2. Your Sunday School quarterly, or manual as the case may be. You should not teach directly from the manual or quarterly, but from the Bible and the outline given or which you have prepared.

3. The Teaching Training materials which you have received over the months in the workers' meeting. (They are available and will be taught again.)

The following will be provided gradually as we are able to process
them for this purpose. . . that is very time consuming.

You ought to study and restudy these lessons which have
been given such as:

* A Teacher Must Gain and Earn Attention. (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 1)
* Magnifying the Teacher's Task. (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 2)
* The Use of the Voice. (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 3)
* Preparation of the Lesson. (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 4)
* The Major Methods of Teaching. (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 5)
* Lesson Preparation (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 6)
* Story Telling (Idea Notebook, Lesson # 7
* How To Lead a Guided Discovery Learning Bible Study. (It is imperative that every adult teacher thorough saturate themselves with these concepts.)
* Preparing Questions for Guided Discovery Learning. (This is part of the above and must be studied thoroughly, also.)
* You Teach a Lesson by Following a Plan. (How to develop and use a lesson plan as your guide in teaching.)
* How To Successfully Teach Lesson Materials. (Materials to help you understanding how to teach from quarterlies and manuals others write.)
* More Helps on How to Teach a Lesson. (This material before you.)

A series of lessons involving Christ's teaching.
* A Look at Christ -- The Master Teacher
* Christ's Approach to People's Problems.
* Christ's Use of Motivation.
* Christ's Use of the Points of Contact.
* Christ's Masterful Use of Questions.
* Christ's Use of Variety in the Teaching Process.
* Christ's Aims and Answers in the Teaching Process.

4. Other helps such as: A concordance, Bible Dictionary, Bible Handbook, good Biblical Commentary, and another good translation for study for your own benefit.

5. A small blackboard if possible, or large piece of blank paper (like newsprint sheets) should be available with chalk and/or markers. These things should be large enough in the adult classes to be seen by a small class.

II. You Must Recognize That You Have About 30- 35 Minutes for Teaching Weekly.


We want to look at some basic steps for outlining any particular portion of the Word of God. Ability in this will help the teacher immensely as he prepares for teaching. It also can be an aid to parents as they teach the Word of God in the home.

Steps to understanding and outlining the Word of God.

1. Read the Scripture text and context until you see the whole and its parts. (Read it 10 to 12 times.)

2. Find the setting of the passage and its relationship to the context. Usually in the setting you will find the need or the need is implied.

3. Write down all the ideas out the passage in your own words, phrase by phrase. Do not write down interpretations, but just what the text says -- every idea in its sequence.

4. Find the primary idea (s), or theme, and key verse - if there is one in the passage.

5. Find subordinate ideas, or foreign ideas, as related to the primary ones.

6. Outline all of the material.

7. Make a teaching outline.

8. Strengthen the teaching outline with other related Scripture passages.

9. Fill in the outlines with illustrations-- work on the beginning, body of lesson, and the closing, and applications.

(Illustrations are usually Biblical, personal, current events, historical, etc.)

Work through the above points as you study.

Copyright 2000, Revival In The Home Ministries #