The book is divided into five sections: (1) "Studying the Bible," (2) "Focusing the Message," (3) "Structuring the Lesson," (4) "Teaching the Class," and (5) "Evaluating the Results." The question that is posed is, "How is it that a book (the Bible), given by God to transform, seems so unproductive when taught in the very churches where it is most honored and best known?"(29). It is that particular inquiry that drives the authors to find an answer. Their findings showed the lack of an effective teaching method. Through this book, the authors hope to educate ministry leaders and teachers the "hook, book, look, and took" technique of Bible teaching. The foundation of any Bible teaching starts with a clear understanding of who God is (that He is the Creator) (28) and how He speaks (that God used people to write the Bible) (38). The Bible provides the human race with God's plan for salvation and reconciliation.
Richards and Bredfeldt discusses various ways to read and understand the Bible. For example, they suggest that while reading the Bible, one should ask probing questions like "Are there any repeated words or phrases?" (79). When teaching the Bible, it is imperative that the age of students is factored into the lesson. The authors point out that the task for teaching adults is different than teaching preschoolers. For instance, adults desire a challenge and an emotional supportive learning environment (245), while preschoolers learn best in an active, participatory play setting (296). The inclusion of the "summary of developmental characteristics" and "spiritual developmental tasks" for students from preschool to adulthood is helpful, but the student's needs assessment seems too complicated for the average Sunday school teacher to complete (106). The section entitled, "Questions for Discussion and Further Study" facilitates the application of the information read (333).
This very practical and encouraging book helps anyone desiring to teach the Bible become a creative Bible teacher. It is very easy to read but filled with great advice to help you in your journey to become not just a Bible teacher but one who teaches so students' lives are changed.The focus on lesson preparation is on teaching Bible passages. One needs to adapt the principles to plan a topical lesson.This edition is superior to the older one in that it uses very up-to-date and modern examples. I would recommend it to any person who wants to grow in the area of their teaching skills.