If you teach a Bible class or give talks at church in any capacity, don’t shy away from passages you don’t understand. Instead, turn the class into a discussion and get input from the members. This does a few things:
- It shows you are not an infallible interpreter of the Bible. There’s a lot you don’t know, and it should give many in the church who also have questions feel less alone. Admitting that we don’t have all the answers opens the door for the extremely important (and biblical) quality of unity in diversity.
- You might learn something. Who knows if someone in the church has taken time to study that particular verse or topic. Maybe they have ideas that you’ve never considered that will make the passage click for the first time.
- Discussion based classes appeal to more hands on learners. Some learn though listening, others through visuals, and those who learn through participation benefit from the opportunity to discuss and and ask questions.
Sometimes Bible class teachers are afraid to cover passages that they don’t have good explanations for. This leaves certain books of the Bible, such as Revelation, out of the discussion on Sunday mornings. Congregations may go through books of the New Testament several times before considering a study through Revelation.
The same goes for the Old Testament. How many classes on Ruth, the Psalms, or the first few chapters of Daniel have you attended compared to one from maybe Ezekiel or Leviticus?
When someone who leads a class goes to one of these texts freely admitting that they don’t have all the answers, it humanizes them. Besides the points above, struggling through a passage together can create lifelong bonds.
Instead of running from questions and doubts people have about the Bible, we should run towards them together. Not having all the answers doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you human.