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Back to School…

I’ve been remiss on my blogging for the recent few months. I believe I have an excuse you’ll find acceptable, however… I’ve been offering the Adult Sunday School at our church.

Late last summer our Pastor asked the congregation to remain behind after Service if we were interested in learning more about volunteering with Sunday School. My wife gave me “the look” which I immediately understood to manifest itself in our attendance at this meeting. Oddly, my bride mentioned that she wanted to become involved on a deeper level. I was prepared to do the same. I’ve never taught a class in a formal setting, and certainly not anything Biblical. We attended the meeting. I, stupidly, hung back until the end, only to find that all the ‘easy’ classes like the K-4 slots were taken by eager and enthusiastic people who’d raised their hands quickly when the offer was given. …So, when the music stops and there is only one chair left to plop down on, that’s the chair you get.

Now, I must be straight with you. I was prepared to teach in some capacity. I wasn’t sure I was qualified to offer an Adult class, but I was willing to try. A leader, who coincidentally is no longer with the church, once remarked to me, “It’s really easy. All you do is read from a book and ask the questions in the manual.” Frankly, that didn’t sound like my brand of instruction. I didn’t have a great deal of respect for that line of thought either. With the help of the Pastor, a lesson series from RBP was selected. “Jesus. Three Portraits, One Story” is the lesson series. It is pretty darned good, but the fact is, I just can’t do it the way it’s laid out.

Our church is heavy on exposition. I love it for so many reasons, I couldn’t list them all. I’ve become, quite literally, addicted to expository preaching. I want to learn the context behind each bit of scripture. The only thing that satisfies my desire for biblical depth is the study and plenty of commentary by folks like John MacArthur. What I have come to terms with, honestly, is the notion that I can’t zip through the lessons at the pace the bible study suggests. I’m always reading more and offering context and information to better illustrate to my brothers and sisters what was going on with each of the aspects of Scripture we touch. I’ve added a little Latin in there, primarily because the ‘classic’ works from people who have interesting things to consider wrote them in Latin. St. Augustine in particular. I’ve also adopted the “Precis Technique” for better uptake and comprehension of what I’m studying.

This Sunday I offered a lesson on the precis (pré·cis) {/prāˈsē,ˈprāsē/} pronounced “pray – see” technique for the entire class. In case you may not have a working knowledge of this learning tool, it really is quite simple. However, it does require strict rules, especially when applied to Scripture. A precis is nothing more than a summarization of the vital and specific parts of the content you’re reading. Because I set my precis components up in the fashion I do, I’m using many parts of the brain. I read, speak aloud, write, and listen audibly when I can. If I can engage four parts of the brain, rather than one or two, my uptake and retention rise. …And why are we reading Scripture, if not to retain it accurately and use it in our lives for guidance? Are we not commanded to offer it to others?

I’ve attached the documents I used in our class for you to open and consider. I sent the Precis Technique for Christians out midweek so folks could absorb what the class would entail, and I chose Daniel 5 as the subject so they could read up on it. I also loaded up the NASB version of Daniel 5 with some highlighted portions I wanted to include in the instruction. What I didn’t do was build out an actual precis. I chose to do that in real-time with my class as a group. My buddy Darci was kind enough to do the typing on a laptop as we projected what she was putting together onto a screen for all to see. Our finished product is the Daniel 5 (NASB) Precis (Summarization) for your consideration.

Open these docs up, view them, print them if you wish. The point is simple. If you use learning tools like these to read through Scripture, glean the critical portions, restate them yourself, and keep things short, you’ll retain the information. I will offer you one serious caution, though… NEVER, paraphrase or add in your own words. There might be some slight room for that in other circles, but NEVER in the case of Scripture. This the Word of God we’re talking about. If I inadvertently import things into these stories that aren’t present in the Bible, I’m guilty of offering false doctrine, and we cannot risk that. Always remember that rule.

My hope is this technique benefits you and yours. I promise you there are nearly no college-level courses you can’t pass if you master this learning aid. If you can read, summarize, and record information in this fashion, you’ll pass your classes. Especially when the professors trick you and ask you the questions differently than the ways in which they offered the subject in class. Why? Because you’ll know the material. That’s what God asks of us, and this will help us.

Be salt and light my friends.

3 thoughts on “Back to School…

  1. Though I watch as you progress and strengthen in your faith, your an inspiration to me.

    Proud to call you friend and brother.

  2. Though I watch as you progress and strengthen in your faith, your an inspiration to me.

    Proud to call you friend and brother.

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