Finding new ways to make your Bible study come alive for learners can be difficult. We tend to use the same teaching approaches over and over again. Shera Melick, retired professor of educational leadership, used to say that the only wrong teaching technique is the one that you use all the time. Perhaps she was right. Variety sparks learners to new thoughts.

One tool that I use sparingly with both adult and teenage learners is photography. I don’t use it often, but when I do I’m surprised how powerful something like a photograph can be. So, how can you use photography as a Bible teaching tool? Let me give you a few of the ideas I have used. Perhaps they will stimulate even better ideas for you.

Take a Picture of . . .

I used this learning strategy with teenage learners. Most people have a cell phone when they come to Bible study. I put the learners in pairs and asked them to take the first 10 minutes of class to create on the camera on their cell phone a picture of God. They laughed, but, when they saw I was serious, they got to work. Most of the pictures would probably be more appropriately described as evidence of God . . . a child’s smile, a tree growing out of solid rock, a perfectly formed cloud. But these pictures made a great discussion starter as we jumped into a passage about how God has revealed himself. You could tell learners to take a picture of love, wealth, doubt, joy, compassion, or a lot of other things. (I would avoid something too simplistic, like, “Take a picture of your little brother or sister.”) But pictures that get learners thinking about how to display an idea can be rich.

Which Picture Best Describes . . .

I actually use this strategy in class when we are talking about philosophical positions for Christian education. We talk about three ideas, and then I ask them which of three photographs best represents each idea. For this, I use some pictures from master photographers, but I am not sure that is essential. I don’t print these, but just show them on the screen. Consider using this idea when you talk about a biblical truth into which you want students to dig deeper. For example: “Which of these photographs best illustrates for you what the Apostle Paul said about grace in this passage? Why?” The discussion should give texture to your teaching, and help them to put it in their own words. This makes for better learning and better recall.

Find a Picture that . . .

I have seen this learning strategy used in two or three different settings. First, the teacher spreads out a lot of printed pictures. (It works if you just use pictures you can print from your ink jet printer, though you will need a new cartridge after this.) Black and white, color, or a mixture of both will work. Pictures should be of great variety: people expressing a variety of emotions, animals, people in various groupings, structures, statues, even pastoral scenes of fields or mountains. Give learners a direction like, “Find a picture that describes your spiritual life right now.” Allow five minutes or so for learners to find a picture, then about one or two minutes per learner for them to share why they chose the picture they did.

This could be a great discussion starter, but it might also be a personal reflection activity. Suppose you used it at the end of a lesson addressing the need to be still and listen to God. Students select an image that reflects where they are now, and perhaps a second that describes where they want to be spiritually. This could be a great moment of commitment.

People seem to connect well with pictures. It makes sense that we would use them in our study of Scripture. Activities like these can help learners connect with ideas, connect with each other, and connect with God.


Read More

Personal Timeline Lessons of Ministry Leaders

Kristen Ferguson
Director of Online Education | Associate Professor of Educational Leadership
Dr. Kristen Ferguson serves as the Director of Online Education and associate professor of educational leadership at Gateway Seminary. Her doctoral research at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary investigated evangelical faculty perceptions on online theological education. Her continued research focuses on online course design, blended learning, and online teaching best practices.

The Plain Meaning

Dr. Iorg discusses the simplicity of Bible interrpetation. We cannot let our disobedient hearts guide our interpretation.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

Listen

Study Isaiah
October 3, 2022

Uplifted Hand Oracles and Isaiah’s Commission – Isaiah 5b-6 & 9-10a

This week on Study Isaiah, Paul Wegner and host Tyler Sanders continue hopping around the palistrophe in Isaiah 5-12. First, they cover the uplifted hand oracles and then Isaiah’s commission.
Lead On Podcast
October 2, 2022

Overcoming Destructive Habits

Dr. Iorg explains how destructive habits can be formed by looking for significance and security in places other than Christ.

Watch

Spirituality of Jonathan Edwards | JEC at Gateway Seminary

Dr. Chris Chun hosted a digital symposium with Dr. Michael Haykin and Dr. Robert Caldwell to discuss Edwards’ spirituality, devotional life and theological impact in American Christianity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Faculty Dialogues: Dispensationalism or Not

In this episode of Faculty Dialogues, Dr. David Rathel and Dr. Paul Wegner held a live discussion on their views on dispensationalism.

David Rathel
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Dr. Rathel is the associate professor of Chrisitian Theology at Gateway Seminary. Prior to Gateway, Dr. Rathel supplied pastoral care to churches in the United States and Scotland, served as an Adjunct Professor of Theology and Philosophy for the Baptist College of Florida, and provided teaching assistance for the University of St Andrews.

Get updates on new content!