Go Deeper in Bible Teaching with Commentaries
The day will come in almost every Sunday school class: Either the teacher or a member will feel the need to "go deeper" in Bible study. While most Sunday school participants will be happy with the lessons as they are, occasionally a discussion on a text will leave some wanting more.
This should be an encouraging sign for a teacher. It means believers are engaging with Bible study, growing in their understanding of God and His Word, and desiring a richer study experience. And yet, many teachers find the idea of deeper lesson content intimidating. The typical Sunday school leader isn't a seminary graduate and may think he or she isn't qualified to lead learners down a more complex lesson path.
Going deeper in Bible teaching doesn't have to be a daunting task. There are a wealth of study aids at a wide price range - even free resources - that can help any teacher deepen and broaden a class discussion. Depending on your need and skill level, you can find help on a lesson, an entire study quarter, or even ongoing resources that will provide years of value.
Bible commentaries have helped Sunday school teachers, pastors, and seminarians alike for centuries. And these resources aren't just stuffy volumes written for advanced academics. You can find commentaries written at every learning level and for virtually any occasion. Take a look at the commentary options LifeWay provides Sunday school teachers to learn which one is right for you.
One of our best offerings in any product category is Biblical Illustrator, a quarterly publication featuring in-depth articles keyed to our adult Sunday school lesson passages. Each issue contains articles on archaeology, history, and theology written at an accessible level. The BI Plus CD-ROM also offers archived articles from previous issues and resources for teachers using MasterWork.
If you teach adults using Explore the Bible or Bible Studies for Life, you already have additional commentaries built into your quarterly lesson plans. Of course, there's the leader's commentary written for every weekly lesson in your Leader Guide. But also, The Explore the Bible Adult Commentary as an additional resource provides verse-by-verse explanations of every lesson passage. For Bible Studies for Life teachers, there's the Advanced Bible Study Commentary for those who use the HCSB, and the Herschel Hobbs Commentary for KJV teachers. All three of these resources are now available as digital-download products, as well.
Suppose you or your church have some budget money to spend on a permanent study-aid library. LifeWay offers three commentary lines that span the range of price and depth.
Shepherd's Notes are paperback volumes that provide concise summaries of key Bible passages. These are excellent resources you can afford to provide every Sunday school teacher - even substitutes.
The Holman Old Testament and Holman New Testament Commentaries are hardback volumes suitable for group teachers and pastors alike. Offering more biblical insight than Shepherd's Notes, they also feature lesson plans for each Scripture passage. You'll can use these commentaries to teach any class, anytime.
The New American Commentary series has become one of the most trusted and valued academic commentary series among pastors and Bible scholars. The experienced Sunday school teacher should consider this option to engage Scripture at a deep level. Note that the NAC is still a work in progress - several volumes have yet to be published.
Finally, as an everyday online resource filled with considerable study tools, MyStudyBible.com provides the features of the HCSB Study Bible and the Life Essentials Study Bible, with articles, videos, and personalized notes you can save and retrieve anytime.
Don't be afraid to go deeper in your Bible study and teaching. With all the resources available to you each week, there are more than enough opportunities for you to grow as a Sunday school leader. Your learners will benefit greatly from your efforts, and so will you.