Persuading the Student
I. How a lesson is presented will impact how it is received.
A. Paul made himself a slave to men’s expectations - I Corinthians 9:19-23
1. People have expectations what religious people are like. It is often best not to violate those beliefs while teaching the truth.
a. Expectations of dress
b. Expectations of behavior
c. Expectations of interest (yawning during a Bible study is not a good idea).
2. Be aware of your student’s religious beliefs
a. A Jehovah Witness celebrates no holidays, including birthdays. To mention doing so would mark you as a non-religious pagan in their eyes.
b. Jews have dietary and time restrictions.
c. Mormons have dietary restrictions - don’t serve coffee or caffeinated drinks
B. Politeness - Colossians 4:6
1. Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness - Proverbs 16:21
2. Wisdom seen in graciousness - Ecclesiastes 10:12
3. Ephesians 4:29 - Speech that gives grace to the listener
C. Show enthusiasm
1. Because of nervousness, we present our study as if we dread the Bible.
II. There are different degrees of attentiveness
A. Flitting, momentary interest, like that of a child
B. Active participation
C. Absorption where everything else is ignored
D. There has to be some attention for a lesson to be passed on to the student, but at the same time a teacher can’t force or make a student attend to a lesson - Proverbs 4:1, 20; 5:1
1. The teacher has to convince the student that the lesson is worth learning.
2. How did Jesus gain the interest of the woman at the well in John 4?
E. One method is to encourage students to solve a problem, putting the lesson into practice
1. Example: A lesson on the geography of Palestine
a. It could be taught giving information on its location, climate, geographical features, etc.
b. Or you ask students to make an imaginary journey across Palestine in the time of Christ and tell you how they would travel, how they would dress, what they would see, and how long it would take.
F. Any one method of teaching should not be used exclusively.
1. Variety brings interest
2. But also different methods lend themselves better to getting a particular lesson across
3. How many types of presentations did Jesus use?
G. What works with one group does not work with all groups
1. What interests a child of six is different than a child of sixteen, which is still different from an adult
2. If you are going to teach the Creation to the following groups, what might you focus on to keep interest?
c. Junior High
d. High School
e. Young Adults
f. Older Adults
III. Knowledge of a topic impresses the student - Proverbs 16:23
A. I once was told to prepare ten times more material than I plan to present.
1. The reason is that learning leads to other questions. The ability to answer questions well shows your interest and knowledge.
2. Not all questions can be answered, but you should run through expected questions.
a. If you were studying instrumental music with someone, what kind of questions would you expect?
B. Give the student the opportunity to display his knowledge
1. Jesus sometimes asked obvious questions - Luke 20:20-26
2. It gets the student involved in the learning and not mere listeners
3. It also lets you gauge where the student is at and how much he comprehends
C. A good teacher gets his students to anticipate the lesson. - Matthew 19:16-26
1. When you can’t guess where a person is going, the lesson becomes confusing.
2. Even when you add a surprise twist to keep a student’s interest, the surprise comes because the student thought he knew where you were going.
a. Nothing stops learning as a person who believes he knows it all.
b. Every once in a while it is good to demonstrate to a student that there is more to learn
3. Discovery and anticipation keeps a student’s interest
D. Good teaching starts with what a student knows and then builds on that knowledge.
1. Let the known explain the unknown.
IV. Persuading involves more than getting someone to listen
A. You are also aiming for acceptance.
B. Truth is more readily accepted and retained if it is self-discovered.
1. This means getting the student to think
C. Jesus often asked questions to get people to see the point themselves. - Matthew 22:41-46
1. It shows that deep down they knew the answer
2. Even a question that they cannot answer is useful to get the student thinking and to introduce a willingness to learn.
D. By questioning you are:
1. Discovering what the student already knows.
a. If you start with a question to learn about the student’s knowledge and the question stumps the student, then try a more simple question.
b. Keep backing up until you know what the student knows and does not know.
2. By answering questions, the teacher is using the student’s mind to learn new truths.