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Teacher Training : Lesson 4


· Teacher Training Blog

The “Teacher Training” blog is designed to enhance the Bible teaching skills at our church. Each blog is designed to pull in material on 5 subjects:

  1. The character of a teacher
  2. The prayer life of a teacher
  3. The Bible knowledge of a teacher
  4. The study skills (hermeneutics) of a teacher
  5. The presentation skills of a teacher

This lesson is focusing on subject #4. In our last study, we started an examination of the first two of 17 hermeneutical principles. The study will look at two more (2) principles.

May God bless your preparation to teach!

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Pastor Mike


The study skills (hermeneutics) of a teacher

This March 2023 we held a Teacher Training Day at CFC. We went over key principles of hermeneutics. As stated in lesson #3, over the next several months, I am going to define and illustrate the 17 principles. Yet, know the 17th principle deals with Figures of Speech where we have 18 different figures. This will be a very profitable study.

We begin with these two principles:

1A. Principles of Hermeneutics:


3B. Clarity of Scripture

This is the principle that the Bible is written to be understood. Lexham Survey of Theology says this about the Clarity of Scripture principle:

Scripture is sufficiently clear to leave people no excuse for disobedience to their present duties.

In one sense nothing is ever revealed unless it is revealed clearly. Unclarities mask content and deter communication. But revelation is a form of communication; it cannot exist when unclarities defeat its purpose. But God’s revelation is always successful. It accomplishes his purpose, so it must have enough clarity to reach God’s intended audience. Special revelation, therefore, surely has as much clarity (sometimes called “perspicuity”) as Paul attributes to general revelation in Romans 1:18–21.

But we all know that it is not always easy to understand the Bible. Not only is its content often twisted by unbelief, but there is much in Scripture that many believers cannot understand. As an obvious example, most three-year-old children, however much their genuine childlike faith, will not be able to distinguish the various offerings in Leviticus. So we will need to make some distinctions to determine more precisely how Scripture is clear. [1]

Hence, when studying the Bible, know that we can strive to understand it because God’s intent is to be clear. But yes, sometimes getting to that clarity takes more effort in some passages.

Yet, when I hear someone say for example, “You cannot understand Revelation, that is why I do not read it or teach it.” Then that person is violating this principle. Yes, studying can take effort, but this principle is what keeps us in our seats while we study!


4B. Progressive Revelation

This is the principle where God is giving additional information of His plan for humanity over time.

Here is a great explanation from the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics:

The principle of progressive revelation means that God does not reveal everything at once, nor does he always lay down the same conditions for every period. Later revelations will have things in them that go against earlier ones. Hence the Old Testament revealed only hints of the Trinity taught in the New Testament (for example, Matt. 3:16–17; 28:18–20). The New Testament declares explicitly what was only implicit in the Old Testament (see TRINITY).

God can change anything that does not involve a contradiction or that does not go against his unchangeable nature (Mal. 3:6; 2 Tim. 2:13; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). God can change nonmoral things without any apparent or stated reason (see ESSENTIALISM, DIVINE). The change of the command for humans from being herbivorous to omnivorous (Gen. 1:29–30; 9:2–3) is one example; changes in the ceremonial laws are another. They are different commands for different times which God had different reasons for enacting, even if not fully known to us (Deut. 29:29).

Sometimes God commands change because of the changing conditions of humanity. Such is the case with permission for divorce “for any cause” in the Old Testament, and a strong prohibition in the New Testament (Matt. 19:3). Jesus said the original law “was because of the hardness of your hearts” (19:8). God sometimes overlooks certain things because of times of ignorance (Acts 17:30), but later does not. A major reason for change is that God has an unfolding plan. This plan has stages in which some things are necessary and stages where something else is necessary. [2] 

Hence, when interpreting a text, the teacher must understand where in history the passage under examination lies.

Here is a further explanation:

In view of the principle of progressive revelation, the later revelations (meaing what comes later in the Bible) are not contradictory, but complementary. They do not make mistakes, but reveal more truth. Later revelations do not negate the former; they simply replace them. Since they were not given for all, but only for a specified time, they do not conflict when they change. No two opposing commands are for the same people at the same time.

An example of progressive revelation can be seen in every family with growing children. When they are very small, the parent allows children to eat with their fingers. Later, the parents insist on the use of a spoon. Finally, as the child progresses, the parent commands use of a fork. These commands are temporary, progressive, and appropriate to the situation. [3] 

This is an important principle to understand and use especially when teaching OT Bible stories to children and adults! For a teacher must discern what is no longer applicable and what is a timeless truth for example.

[1] John Frame, "The Bible's Clarity," in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018)
[2] Norman L. Geisler, "Progressive Revelation," Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 608
[3] Norman L. Geisler, "Progressive Revelation," Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 609