One of the core values of First Baptist Church states, “We value communicating God’s Word to both believers and non-believers in creative and relevant ways believing God’s truth is the key to transformed lives that reflect the greatness of Christ.” To be creative means to be resourceful, innovative and imaginative. When it comes to teaching God’s Word, the most creative person I know is Jesus Christ and He used a variety of ways to teach truth. Following are some of the creative ways Jesus taught truth.
- Jesus used object lessons. He used water in a well to teach about living water (John 4:1-26), a crippled man to teach about the forgiveness of sins, and boy’s lunch to teach about God’s provision and power.
- Jesus answered questions. A rich young ruler asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17)? The disciples asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1)? Jesus used peoples’ questions to move them from where they were to where they needed to be in order to help them grow spiritually.
- Jesus asked questions. As recorded in the Gospels, Jesus asked more than 100 questions for the purpose of provoking people to think and seek the truth. One question Jesus asked was, “Who do you say that I am?”
- Jesus used lecture. Jesus’ most famous lecture/sermon was the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).
- Jesus challenged tradition. One time the Pharisees were upset about a religious ritual the disciples were breaking when it came to washing hands and Jesus said to them, “And why do you break God’s commandment because of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’” He used this opportunity to show them they were more concerned about their religious rules, rituals, and traditions than loving God and loving others.
- Jesus used parables. Parables are stories that illustrate a spiritual truth. The parable of the sower demonstrates that not all will receive the Word of God (Matt. 13:1). The parable of the priceless pearl teaches about the value of God’s kingdom (Matt. 13:45). The parable of the lost sheep illustrates the value of one lost person to God (Matt. 18:10).
- Jesus used dramatic lessons. When Jesus saw how the temple was being used for dishonest gain He overturned the tables and chairs to grab their attention and teach a lesson about the proper use of the temple (Matt. 21:12ff). In order to demonstrate that He was the resurrection and the life Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead four days after he was buried (John 11:17ff).
- Jesus used the teachable moment. Jesus taught about worship with the woman at the well, about faith with the disciples on a boat in the midst of a storm, and about forgiveness with the woman caught in adultery.
- Jesus used contrast. Jesus would often take what the people knew and contrast it with deeper truth. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus would say, “You have heard that it was said…. But I tell you….” With this form of teaching He addressed murder, adultery, divorce, telling the truth, going the second mile, and loving your enemies.
- Jesus used symbols. When I say “symbols” I am referring to something like the Lord’s Supper that symbolizes the crucifixion and death of Jesus for our sins. Jesus gave us the symbol of the Lord’s Supper to help us remember what He did for us. Another symbol Jesus gave us was baptism. This is a visual image of what happens when we become a follower of Jesus. We die to self and we rise to walk in newness of life cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It can also represent the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- Jesus used field trips. One time Jesus took seventy-two of His followers and sent them out two by two on a mission trip/field trip to do ministry. His disciples came back telling what had happened. Jesus used this opportunity to teach about ministry, eternal life, and their authority over the supernatural.
Every church and Bible teacher (regardless of the age you teach) should follow Jesus’ example and use creativity and a variety of ways to teach God’s truth.