Friday, December 21, 2007

A Class on the Gospel of John

Last year I was asked to teach the Wednesday-night auditorium class. We spent six months getting acquainted with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. During the last quarter of this year, one of our elders has been teaching the class, a survey of the Minor Prophets.

When he asked me to teach during the first quarter of 2008, we agreed that a New Testament book would give some balance. I decided on the Gospel of John. We'll start in a couple of weeks.

I have to confess that I have a thousand ideas but no settled agenda for the class. Naturally, I want John's intent to be satisfied; that the signs of Jesus would lead us to belief, which leads to life (20:30-31). Just saying that, though, sounds a little trite. On average, the people in the class are in their seventies. Most of them have been Christians longer than I've been alive. I understand that John can work as more than an evangelistic tract, that people who've heard the gospel always need to hear it again, etc. But how should that go? What are some good ways for a teacher to draw people into familiar material and help them to hear it afresh?

Anyway, I can teach the Gospel of John as I've taught it before. There's no lack of resources. But I want to improve my presentation and the experience of the class. Any suggestions? I know that some of you (Matt) have taken up this challenge, and I especially want to hear from you. What have been your experiences? What really worked?


john alan turner said...

What if "believe" in the verse cited doesn't mean "begin believing" but means "continue believing"? After all, the original audience had been believing for quite a while, and they were about to lose the one remaining eye-witness.

Maybe John's Gospel was written from a more pastoral perspective than we think.

Frank Bellizzi said...

John, I think you're right. It seems like all four Gospels are as much for the believing community as they are for outsiders, probably more.

john alan turner said...

So, what would have been the reasons John's original readers would have had to stop believing?

Find the parallels between their situation and the folks in your class, and teach through that lens.

julie said...

Hey Frank, how are you? I have been enjoying all the amazing pictures of the wedding in Idaho. I love the picture of you and Jeanette hugging. So sweet. Let us know how you are doing.

preacherman said...

I hope you enjoy teaching John.
I have enjoyed John alot and have many materials from verious authors that have been a great blessing such as Gary Holloway, Lynn Anderson, and on the last part of John Jeff Walling. I love it that he did so many more mircles that we cannot write them down...Wow. Have fun. I also hope you have a blessed Christmas and Happy New year brother.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry

Frank Bellizzi said...

Hi Julie. Until you wrote, I hadn't seen all of those great photos. I hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a great '08.

Preacherman, thanks for the well wishes. As you know, the best thing I have going for me is the quality of the subject and the text. That's one of great things about preaching/teaching the Bible. You don't have to worry about the quality of the content. Here's to a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Matt said...

I know you already have plenty of John resources but let me throw one more out there that I think is great for teaching a church class on John. N.T. Wright's 2 volumes - John for everyone are really really worth it.

I will write more when I get a chance. God bless and Merry Christmas!