The Privilege of Teaching

No matter how many times a new quarter begins, and no matter how many times I have taught a slate of classes, the fresh anticipation of walking a new group of students through the depth of a biblical text or explaining the nuances of a skill most people take for granted brings both excitement and concern. For those who love studying God’s Word, the opportunity to grow, presented by the examination of any inspired portion of scripture, is invigorating (1 Pet. 2:2). Even a familiar text provides an open door to deeper understanding. However, tension remains. The immense responsibility of teaching God’s Word to students taking detailed notes and asking pointed questions to clarify meaning carries a weight that I feel every time I enter the classroom (2 Tim. 2:2). It might prove easier to have a passive classroom filled with students who never question their teachers, but it would certainly not be spiritually healthy–not for the teacher, not for the students, and certainly not for those who will come to rely on those students (1 Tim. 4:16). Likewise, the challenge of explaining the finer points of exegesis to a class while in the process of trying to explain an entire series of controversial passages does not lead to calm nights and easy sleep, no matter how much preparation preceded the instruction.  

Passing on previous conclusions simply as a matter of tradition might sound safe, but most students realize it lacks depth and proves inadequate in the midst of controversy or cross-examination. That is why we strive to teach students the background, the rationale, the evidence, the structure, and the linguistics that underly and contribute to the meaning rather than doling out simple and easy doctrine on the cheap. Brethren, the “why” matters. The truth of God’s word deserves the best explanation and the greatest support that we can possibly muster so that students leave filled with faith in Christ rather than confidence in their instructors’ opinions (Matt. 15:8-9). This we cannot take for granted. Rather, it must remain a point of emphasis embedded deeply within the culture of the program. And that, indeed, is our goal at Brown Trail.

Our entire philosophy is rooted in training preachers for what they will need years after graduation rather than in simply preparing men with a ready-made set of sermons for the moment. We work to equip our graduates to exegete the text thoroughly by fortifying them with a variety of skills and approaches to make Bible study a joy for them, to make them less reliant on commentaries, and to make them less susceptible to the latest doctrinal fads (Neh. 8:8). Grounding men in the word of God while simultaneously developing their character remains the core of a program designed to prepare men to work full-time in the kingdom (2 Tim. 2:25).

Doctrinal soundness, dedicated fervor, evangelistic zeal, diligent study, and ministerial heart are not the products of a simple survey of the Bible but the results of intense effort from both the student and faculty to hone skills and desires into a model fashioned after our Savior (1 Cor. 11:1). These aspirations lie at the heart of our philosophy, the center of every course required, and every aspect of our program. And this is why my heart soars when I have the opportunity to visit graduates and see them immersed in the work, preaching the word, and reaching the lost. It is what makes the opportunity to teach at Brown Trail such a privilege.

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