When it comes to the Word of God, many members of the church act like starling chicks! They simply sit in the ‘nest’ waiting for the teacher to bring the ‘worm’ each Sunday or through the Daily Bible reading note. Either through ignorance or laziness the assumption is made that only the teacher can understand the Bible so there is no point in anyone else trying to read the Bible by themselves.
The reformers rejoiced in the gift to the church of the pastor / teacher. They determined that everyone should be taught the Word and everything should be done according to the word of God. However they also purposed that everyone should have access to and be able to read the word of God for themselves too. Our danger today is that in encouraging total dependence on the teacher, we are effectively creating ‘a priesthood of the preacher’!
The work of a teacher is not simply to tell them ‘what’ but to show them ‘how’ too. Observation in teaching is important but limited if not reinforced by guided learning. Watching a talented practioner of sport or music will produce little progress till it is followed by a personal lesson and practice! In a similar way listening to someone teaching from the Bible needs to be complemented by method and guided practice if the hearers are going to be enabled to imitate what the teacher has done. ‘Hearing the Word’ has been devised to help teacher meet that need.
In the realm of art or sport there are basic principles that enable good practice. These are the same for and need to be adhered to by the expert or the beginner. (The role of a teacher or coach at any level is to highlight these and ensure they are put into practice.) The same is true of reading the Bible. ‘Hearing the Word’ identifies main principles in bible reading that are as applicable to the minister in their study as the enquirer on the fringe of the church. It is therefore suitable for the whole church as instruction for those new to Bible reading or as a reminder of good practice for the ‘hardened’ bible student!
‘Hearing the Word’, The Introduction’ is a way of introducing these principles to the wider church membership.
The aim - to enable ALL who read the Bible to “handle the word of Truth correctly” (2Timothy 2:15).