Why?: How and why might you teach a lesson using only
discussion as your method?
What?: There are a number of reasons you might choose
discussion as the format for a Bible lesson. The personality of the
class, as a whole, may favor discussion. You may want to have a
community of believers rely on the Holy Spirit, who indwells them,
to teach them more directly. You may want to exploit the learning
preferences of every learner in the class using the principles on
which The Effective Four questions are based. Those
Effective Four are Why? What? So What? So What Now?. If
you're using discussion, you need to plan a series of questions
that will help your learners engage with the Bible in order to
provide direction for the lesson. For example, when teaching 1 John
chapter 1, verses 1-4, I draw them in by having them answer a
question: "What problems can keep us from having joy as a church
body?" After a couple of answers, I point them to the text that
provides the answer. Here I share my teaching point: Real joy comes
from real fellowship with the real Jesus. My affective aim is that
The learner will desire real joy as a member of Christ's body.
As I transition from the Why? to the What?, I
explain how differences in essential doctrines divide today just
like doctrine divided the early church that wrestled over the truth
that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man.
Then, I walk them through the text asking questions that show them
how I came to my teaching point. I spend as much time as necessary
for them to see the truth I saw in my study. But, I typically have
a time marked on my notes so that we don't run out of time before
getting to the final questions—So What? and So What
Now?. In asking these transformative questions, I allow them
to provide the answers so that they're more likely to commit to
being transformed by the truth of the passage. I sometimes have
some sort of accountability built in, but sometimes I allow them to
suggest ways they would be accountable. Throughout the entire
lesson, I am steering them towards the truth of the passage and the
application of that truth for their lives.
So What?: In the classroom, discussion sometimes looks
like the teacher didn't have to do much to prepare the lesson. That
is as far from the truth as you can get IF the lesson is intended
to transform the learners. As the teacher preparing, you never know
what answers you will get to the questions you ask so you have to
be prepared for the most likely and be willing to say "I don't
know, but I'll get back to you" for the ones you didn't anticipate.
You can never be sure how the discussion will unfold. And, you have
to keep their transformation in mind as you sometimes force them to
move on so that The Effective Four questions—Why?
What? So What? So What Now? are answered. Being able to
control the discussion takes a lot more preparation than a
So What Now?: Knowing that the Holy Spirit is the
primary teacher, will you commit to allowing Him to use you to
teach using a discussion format for some of your teaching? It seems
risky not knowing the rabbit trails you may discuss, but trusting
Him, will you commit to leading discussions with excellence?
About the Podcast
In these short episodes, Dr. Danny shares biblically-based insights on teaching the Bible. Published weekly, you can get a boost before teaching each week.