In the past, the priest or pastor was an important intermediary between the uneducated masses and the Word of God. Before the printing press and open access to education, the role of the priest as the keeper and interpreter of the Scriptures was highly necessary.
Now, we can all read the Bible for ourselves, in multiple versions, and the internet gives us access to all the tools we may need for deep study of God’s Word; from concordances and commentaries through to blogs and youtube clips. Yet the pastor continues to act as “the middle man” between God’s people and God’s Word. Most people in the church don’t go home and look at God’s Word at all, as they are conditioned to be spoon-fed on Sunday mornings by listening to another person’s interpretation and experience of the Word of God.
When we listen passively to one person telling their own single perspective of the Word of God, it is less powerful than if we were invited to directly engage with the Word for ourselves, examine it, get our teeth into it, explore it and share our learning and understanding with each other.
Direct access is far more powerful than restricted access. Instead of spending your time studying God’s Word and then telling me about it, teach me how to study it directly. Let me interact with God’s Word. Touch it. Feel it. Explore it. Apply it. Let me get my teeth into it and taste it, and find out how wonderful and relevant it is to my life.
One of the best tools I’ve seen for helping people access God’s Word is called “Simply the Story.” Read more about how it can be used here. I would highly recommend learning more about it, and even take the training if you get the chance. It could totally transform the way you approach teaching the Scriptures in your church and beyond it.
When you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. When you teach him how to fish, you feed him for his whole life. When you preach a sermon about God’ Word, you feed God’s people just a little bit. When you empower them to dig deep into God’s Word by themselves and with each other, you help them grow towards spiritual maturity.