Daily Archives: January 6, 2009

Ineffective teaching no longer excusable

Examples of the use of visuals in teaching are abundant in Scripture. Think of these.

God used visuals.

  • The rainbow (Genesis 9:12-18).
  • The stars He showed to Abraham (Genesis 15:5).
  • The burning bush through which he spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:3-4).

Ezekiel has been called the dramatic prophet because of his use of so many object lessons.

  • He made a sketch of Jerusalem on a brick to teach about the siege against Jerusalem by the Babylonians (Ezekiel 4:1-3).

Jesus used visuals in His teaching. There are too many illustrate to cite all of them. Think about these.

  • A little child (Matthew 18:3-6)
  • The birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:26-28).
  • A Roman coin (Matthew 22:15ff.).

Repeatedly on this page, and elsewhere, I have said that every church needs to have good maps and photographs available for use by the teachers. Specifically, I have recommended the Pictorial Library by Todd Bolen. On the Biblical Studies Info site, under Scholarly, I keep a list of excellent sources where one may find photographs suitable for use in teaching the Bible. Many of them are free of charge. Scroll down to Photos.

Today I want to call attention to maps for use in teaching. There are several good sites listed under Maps at the Biblical Studies Info page. David Barrett has made his Bible Mapper available free of charge. This marvelous program allows one to make his own maps. There is a learning curve, but the results are remarkable. The resultant map shows exactly what the teacher wants to emphasize in class.

The folks over at Biblos.com have posted many Bible Study Tools including visuals and a marvelous Bible Atlas. You get to it directly at BibleAtlas.org.  Hundreds of maps have been made using Bible Mapper, but they are specific to certain places. Let me illustrate.

Recently I wrote here about an event at Abel-Beth-Maacah. If I were teaching on this subject I could use this map from BibleAtlas.org.

Map of Abel-beth-maacah. Courtesy of Biblos.com.

Map of Abel-beth-maacah. Courtesy of Biblos.com.

The original map is 1000 x 1000 (click on the map to see the original). It can be inserted into a PowerPoint presentation without any further work. There is plenty of space for the teacher to include some calls outs with additional information.

It is true that once you have inserted a map like this into your presentation it will take some additional study for you to be able to use it effectively. But your lesson will be much more interesting and you will more easily make your point.

Take advantage of these marvelous teaching aids. We extend our hearty thanks to the folks at BibleAtlas.org and all the others who labor and invite us to share in their labors. David Padfield frequently reminds us of the teaching of Jesus.

Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8 NAS)