Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

What to Do When You Disagree With the Bible Class Teacher

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Bible class should be the place where people act most Christlike, but this isn’t always the case. Heated discussions can take place right in the middle of a Bible study. People say things they shouldn’t say. Comments that should be made privately are made publicly. If you have ever witnessed an incident like this, then you know it is uncomfortable. You can feel the tension in the room. Everyone’s attention is taken off of God and his word and people are now focused on the disagreement taking place before them.

Many of these moments are avoidable if we would simply follow some basic principles. Here is what to do if you disagree with something said in Bible class.

Ask for clarification – We don’t always hear what we think we heard. Many disagreements in church and life could be easily settled if we simply asked for clarification. Rather than make a comment based on an assumption, repeat back to the teacher what you think they said and ask if you heard correctly. If you still disagree, ask the teacher to explain his position. Seek clarification before you comment.

Give them the benefit of the doubt – Every teacher is human. We all make mistakes. We don’t always communicate our messages as we intended to communicate them. It is sad when fellow Christians are eagerly waiting to pounce on any mistake. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient and kind. Love gives others the benefit of the doubt.

Go home and study – A misspoken word or differing interpretation does not always need to be corrected right away. The teacher has likely given much thought to what he or she had to say and you should do the same. If you find yourself disagreeing with a position a teacher takes or their interpretation of a passage, then go home and study it and pray about it. You will be better equipped to discuss it afterwards and you may save yourself from looking foolish in Bible class.

Set up a one on one meeting – Rather than distract from the focus of the class, go to the teacher and set up a meeting for a later date. Meet for breakfast, lunch, or a cup of coffee. Your conversation with the teacher will go much better if you address your concerns outside of class. If you cannot make time in your life to meet with the teacher outside of a church setting, then you have no business commenting in class.

Remember the visitors and new Christians – When you comment in class, you are doing so in front of others. Consider who is there. Are there visitors in the room? Are there new Christians present? Will your comment encourage them? Will it help them to know Christ or strengthen their relationship with Christ? Teachers are responsible for what they say in front of others, but so are the people in the pews.

Respect and appreciate those who have offered to teach – Teaching is not easy. Churches have a difficult time finding teachers. The person who is teaching may have worked a 40-hour work week, mowed the yard, helped their sick parents, took their kids to baseball practice, and stayed up late to study for class only to have someone challenge them on something they said. It is no wonder why churches have a hard time finding teachers. Be considerate of those who teach. Encourage them. Take them out to dinner. If you show you love them, then they are going to be more than willing to talk about any concern you might have.

Practice the discipline of silence – Not everything that pops into a person’s head needs to be said in a Bible class. Remember the setting. Ask yourself these questions: Is my comment edifying? Is it encouraging? Will it add to the class or take away from it? Do others need to hear it? It could be what you want to say, doesn’t need to be said at all.

Treat others as you would like to be treated – We all know the golden rule, but we don’t always follow it. Before you comment, consider the words of Jesus and treat others as you would like to be treated.

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