Teaching Methods Of Christ -- By: Larry D. Pettegrew

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 15:2 (Summer 1972)
Article: Teaching Methods Of Christ
Author: Larry D. Pettegrew


Teaching Methods Of Christ

Second of two parts

Larry D. Pettegrew

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Owatonna, Minnesota

Of the Seven Laws of Teaching proposed by John Milton Gregory, the last two have needed no extensive treatment, that Christ expected His pupils to reproduce His teachings in everyday life, and that Christ thoroughly reviewed His lessons to His followers. Two laws have been extensively examined, that the teacher must know that which he would teach, and that the learner must attend with interest the material to be learned. Of the seven, three remain.

Christ’s Use Of Language In His Teaching

Gregory states the third principle of teaching as follows: “The language used in teaching must be common to teacher and learner.” That is, both the teacher and the learner must understand the words used, and they both must understand the words in the same way if the language is to be the vehicle of thought. As in the other principles, Jesus Christ’s teaching is a great example of this law of pedagogy.

It has become apparent by now, no doubt, that the principles of teaching are interrelated and dependent upon each other. The fact that Christ was an interesting teacher, for example, was greatly dependent on His use of language. Contrariwise, the fact that Jesus’ language was so effective depended to a great deal on His ability to secure the attention of His hearers. Thus, some of the characteristics of Christ’s language, such as simplicity, have already been discussed; and other aspects of His language, such

as His use of parables, will be taken up later. But it is the purpose now to show how Christ’s language made Him an effective teacher, and specifically, how His words and figures of speech were understood by His students.

Christ’s Use Of Contrasts And Forceful Words

Christ’s use of contrasts. One of the things that made Christ’s language so effective as He taught was His use of contrasts. Herman H. Home says: “Placing opposites over against each other reveals differences between members of a single group, exhibits the dissimilar qualities in the things compared, emphasizes their analagonism, has a pictorial quality and so appeals to the imagination and is likewise an aid to attention and memory.”

Many examples of Christ’s use of the contrast fill the pages of the Gospel narratives as the following examples show: (1) Lesson on the fulfilling of the Law—Contrast: “Ye have heard that it hath been said unto you… but I say unto you.” (2) Lesson on sincerity in religion—Contrast: The hypocrites and Jesus’ disciples. (3) ...

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