Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and Missions. Hello and welcome to episode 38 of Missions on Point. Thanks for being with us today. This is the 13th in a series of 13 Keys to Effectiveness as a Missionary. Today's topic is the priority of teaching the Word, teaching the Bible. It is Biblicism. We have touched on the Bible in a couple of different keys to effectiveness as a missionary already. One has to do with just general Bible knowledge, understanding the flow of the story of the Bible and the story of redemption through all the ages from Creation to Revelation. This particular topic deals with the priority of teaching the Bible that is the missionary teaching the Word not just popular or man-centered series, certainly not a better life versus a holy life, but teaching the Word on a regular basis in a consistent and systematic fashion, helping the learners, the disciples know what the Bible says about this.

What does the Bible teach about these things? This is the essence of the content of the teaching of the missionary over all the time that they're there. It's interesting to think that even though we assume that the content of the Bible is the primary content of the teaching and the message of missionaries out on the field, unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Missionaries are lured by trends on the mission field. They're curious about what is the latest, greatest thing in teaching and producing results faster.

Sometimes there's pressure from their own mission agency, possibly even their own home church to teach a certain thing or teach a certain way or use certain kinds of materials that are extra biblical or not clearly biblical or not in the line of logical thought of biblical teaching from the Word. One of the simple stepping stones to understanding why this is so important is the realization that foreign cultures, particularly if they've been separated from a Judeo-Christian heritage of knowledge and information from the Bible, have wrong ideas about God, and the only way we can authoritatively and clearly learn about God is from the book that He gave us.

God inspired the book to tell people about who He is and how He works and what His laws are and how we can have a relationship with Him. It is the content of the Bible that should be the majority content of the missionary's teaching. There must be a certain sense of Biblicism that is a commitment to teaching God's Word as of first priority in the message of what we teach. That's why so many missionaries nowadays from this observation have learned that sometimes we have to start teaching the Bible from the very beginning to have people understand that our God is the Creator God from the earliest chapters of Genesis. And that He has dealt with men in such and such a way to draw them into fellowship and relationship with Him. For those that are repenting of their sins and trusting in God as their God and Savior. The missionary should have the reputation as being a person of the book, a person of the Word, a person who not only reads and studies and meditates on the Word for his own spiritual life, but models and teaches others to do so also.

Whenever there is a question about almost anything of a spiritual nature, the missionary's first resource should be the Bible. That's where we go. That's where people find the answers. We've dealt with this previously in the Bible as being the final authority for those kinds of questions, but the Bible is designed in such a way that reading, studying, applying, meditating on, memorizing, understanding the Word becomes the basis on which believers grow spiritually and develop ministry which you do want them to do. Because in an indigenous ministry, you want people to be able to minister the word to each other and ultimately to the church which is being formed and founded around that ministry. So when the missionary has this hardwired in to His priority and His personal culture, it becomes part of the culture and ministry of that local church. That local church has the look and the savor of a church that loves the Word, spends time in the Word is always studying and learning more about the Word so that they can know more about their savior and their God and walk according to the ways that He wants them to walk.

I think it's important to say that the missionary needs to actually teach a comprehensive view of the word, whether that is an overview or a survey of the flow of the message of the whole Bible, or it's delving deeper into more expository kind of teaching on whole books of the Bible. The point is not to proof text things with particular problems or issues. In other words, not just select things that may be taken out of context from several verses scattered here and there. It's true, you can build a systematic view taking verses that support the biblical perspective across a wide range of topics, including theology. But the whole council of God means taking the Bible in its context, interpreted rightly, and applying that to the whole situation that is being addressed.

So just for example, it's pretty easy to think of the Bible as having an introduction in the first 11 chapters of Genesis from Creation to Abraham, explaining how the human race was created and developed in the earliest generations, including the story of Noah. At Abraham, it reaches a high point of God selecting a particular people for His reasons through whom He would then bless all the nations of the earth in the Abrahamic covenant. And so from Genesis 12 through to basically Revelation is the unfolding and unpacking of God's promise to Abraham being fulfilled in particular ways to the very pinnacle of the Bible story in the person and work and cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Then the Book of Revelation is the capstone showing how all of those themes of promises and God's character come into play in the very end times, in the summation of everything for the glory of God.

It's interesting that the young adult missions conference called Cross or Cross for the Nations a couple of years ago took that theme and showed how it is developed all across scripture from Genesis to Revelation, which is to say that the Bible has this entire glory of God trajectory for all the nations and to all the nations woven throughout it. The Bible is a missionary book. What does this mean practically in the life and ministry of a missionary on the field? Well, very simply, the Bible should easily come to the lips and conversation of a missionary in almost whatever context he's in.

A lengthy discussion or conversation with someone over coffee should almost certainly include some reference to the Bible. I'm not saying that he has to quote it exactly word for word and give the scripture reference, but the gist of the message of scripture should be a common reference point for the missionary, even in informal discussions. Certainly every meeting related to the church plant that is Bible studies or evangelism meetings or connections and conversations related to helping people understand who Christ is and come to believe in Him, all of that should be infused with a lot of Bible content. The growing local church should have the reputation for always having some Bible reading, Bible references, Bible talk, Bible message, Bible sermon in connection with its meetings. That's why we get together. It's one of the things that makes us different from any other kind of social club or social meeting.

It's my opinion that this even has an impact on the popular concept of orality. For instance, orality says that many people have their body of knowledge delivered through oral means, and they're just not readers. Either they're not literate as readers or perhaps they don't have a written language in their dialect yet, or simply that they have never had studies, academic training, schooling to be able to read, and it's not a high value in their culture. However, I believe that in order to be sincere Christians, one has to have a steady diet of the Word of God, and for those who are leaders, it almost certainly means that they must be readers. While they can discuss through oral means the scriptures, they can come in contact with the scriptures through oral means in order to really see and dig down deep in order to understand and repeat and teach the Bible, they need to be readers.

Church leaders really need to be readers and they need to read the Word of God. So this key to effectiveness, which is the priority of teaching the Bible has some implications about literacy, has some implications about the practice of reading and teaching God's Word in every service connected with the church. It has implications for how new believers are taught to honor and to use the word of God on a regular basis. Now, the Bible can be accessible in many different ways, both as audio like in orality as we've spoken of before. It can be on a smartphone, on a tablet, on a computer, somehow through the internet. It can be on files that people look at. It can be printed on paper with very little extraneous notes about chapters and verses or what the source of the book is. But the book itself must be the content of the Bible, just to remind ourselves, the Bible is one of those things that is living and active.

It is the thing that God promises to use. It is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict people of sin and of righteousness. It is one of those key elements that God uses to bring salvation to people. It is the Word of God and nothing less than the Word of God. It is also prayer. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is also the proclamation of the gospel using the word of God as its basis. So those things are absolutely essential in evangelism and church planting. The ongoing priority of teaching the Word of God is what makes the local church strong and then able ultimately to be indigenous, self-supporting, self-cleaning, self-propagating because they have a handle on the Word of God because the missionary communicated that effectively as a priority. Before I wrap up this episode, I must encourage you to listen to the next one.

I'm going to wrap up the whole series, but there's a couple of key thoughts that will explain the whole pathway of the series and another perspective on evaluation of missionary candidates, which I haven't even shared in the previous weeks. So please, please, please listen in next week to Missions on Point for the wrap up of this series on keys to effectiveness as a missionary. Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I trust that you'll find more help and resources on the website, Please preferably consider supporting this ministry. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.

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