7 Questions to Help You Teach the Bible Better

preaching Feb 24, 2023

When you stand up to preach, you want to handle the word well. You want to teach the Bible as well as you possibly can so that people walk away understanding God’s word and knowing what He is calling them to.

By using these 7 questions, you’ll never be stuck staring at your computer screen wondering what to type.

If you want your people to deeply understand the text when you’re preaching, don’t miss these questions. By using them in your preparation process, you’ll teach the Bible better than ever when you preach.

If you’re using the Sticky Sermon Structure, this is for the Truth section.

7 Questions to Help You Teach the Bible Better

1. What pre-requisites do they need to have in order to understand this?

Never assume people know the background information you’re referring to. Never assume people know the Bible. 

In every passage, there will likely be some things you need to cover so that you can bring everyone up to speed. 

This will especially help you when you’re teaching the Bible in your sermon while non-Christians are in the room. 

You’re referring to the apostle Paul. Who is Paul? Why is he significant? To answer that question, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it but do spend some time on it.

You’re preaching in the book of Exodus but you’re beyond the beginning. What do people need to know if they’re a first-time guest? Why are they wandering in the desert?

2. What background information would help them understand this?

Here we’re considering context. In order to teach well, you need to place the passage within its historical, cultural, and textual context.

Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman. Why is that significant? How did Jewish people look at Samaritans in that day? That background information will help your people understand the tensions in the text and give them insight on how they should follow Jesus in treating other people in their own lives.

What kind of culture were the Ephesian Christians following Christ in? That’s significant because their culture was sensual and sinful. So when you’re teaching what Paul says, that matters because it helps people see what God is calling them to in the midst of a culture similar to that (their own).

3. How can I connect this to something they’re already familiar with?

Jesus did this all the time. The kingdom of God is like… He connected spiritual realities with physical realities. He made comparisons. I’m the vine, you’re the branches.

He put pictures in people’s minds so they could better understand what he was teaching them. Be like Jesus.

What does this question lead you to? Good sermon illustrations.

Maybe you’re preaching on Matthew 5:21-22 when Jesus says:

21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire.

Okay, so Jesus’ point is that even when you’re angry with your brother or sister, you’re going to be judged—which the implication is, you’re sinning right there even if you don’t murder them.

You could compare this reality with an iceberg. What is on the surface is murder but under the surface? Where did that murder come from? Anger. Hatred. And where is that? Under the surface. Okay, so where does the sin begin? Under the surface. In your heart. 

4. What can I contrast this with?

People not only learn through comparison but also through contrast. What is this Scripture saying? Answer that and you’re doing well. But how can you make it say that with even more emphasis? By showing what it’s not saying.

Maybe you’re preaching on a passage that is calling people to surrender to King Jesus. He is King. Okay, got that. 

But how do we often treat God? Well, we can see it in the way we pray…

God, here’s my to-do list for you…

Like a personal assistant.

So here’s what you could say: Many of you have been treating God like you’re the boss and He’s your assistant. You’ve got plans, you’ve got stuff to do and you’ve been operating as if you can just add a little Jesus to your life. Well, how’s that working out for you? Here’s the truth. A lot of us think we need an assistant when what we really need is a king. Jesus is the King of the Universe. Surrender to Him.

5. What kind of implications does this have on other areas of life? 

You know what my problem always was in math class? I could rarely ever see the real-world application of what I was learning. So? It didn’t stick. Why? Because I didn’t care because I didn’t understand the implications.

So when you’re preaching on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for example, what kind of implications does this have on your other areas of life (outside of people’s choice of religion and their segmented spiritual life)?

It literally impacts every area of their life, right?

You’re never alone. Even when you and your best friend are struggling. 

You’ve always got a counselor. Even when you’re faced with everyday decisions.

He’s going to transform you into the image of Jesus. This will change your relationships with your coworkers if you let it.

We could go on and on, right? Help people see the implications on the areas of their lives that you may not be primarily highlighting from the text and in the sermon.

6. Is there a visual that will help them understand this?

This takes some extra time, no doubt. But it can be fun and it can enhance what you’re teaching from the text.

I’ve drawn diagrams on my iPad and put those on the screen (I’m not an artist) before.

This week, I’m going to use a meme to do two things: 

  1. Communicate the point of the text that when you practice generosity to be seen by people, your generosity won’t result in the kind of life-change it could if you do it for God’s glory and people’s good. Yes, you’re being generous, but the result is far different.
  2. To provide some comic relief.

 It seems like the same… you’re being generous. But it doesn’t result in the same thing.

You’ve got the 4-wheeler loaded and strapped down. But something’s wrong, friend. It’s not going to give you the same result as if you’d do this right. If you practice generosity to be seen by people, you’re doing it all wrong.

You could also bring in an object lesson.

I don’t do this all the time but sometimes the text makes it too easy.

Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? - Matthew 7:3

What kind of visual could you give to help them understand the text?

7. Why is it important that they understand this?

What’s at stake in this text? Why is it so radically important that they follow what the word of God is saying here?

Help people see what is at stake. 

And as you do this, you’re able to point them to possible futures. If you do this, here’s what life could look like. If you don’t, here’s what life could look like.

You get to decide. Will you follow the Lord on this or not?

Ask these questions and then answer them.

When you’re preparing your next message, write these questions down and then start answering them. The answers will give you the path you need to teach the Scriptures well every time you preach God’s word.

Grow in Your Preaching

If you want to be faithful to the text, prepare efficiently, and craft your sermon memorably, I’ve got just the thing to help. It’s called the 10-step guide to writing a sticky sermon and it’s yours for free. Just click here to grab your copy.

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