Great teachers learn from great teachers.

Paul Gilbert is a great guitar player, but he’s just as good at teaching. Watch this impromptu show promoting an amplifier. Gilbert is just supposed to be promoting the amplifier behind him, but can’t help using the opportunity to teach his audience a thing or two. As you watch ask yourself what makes him a great teacher.

I noticed seven principles as I watched Gilbert teach that would help me teach the Bible better:

He shows them something he has learned recently (“I gotta show you this scale I learned”) This love of learning, and not just teaching, brings freshness to the class. To be fresh when teaching a curriculum that you have been teaching for years try to learn something new about the text and share it with your students.

He connects new knowledge to common knowledge (“Do you guys know…?”) When teaching something new try starting with something everyone knows and show how what is new relates to what is old.

He lets his audience see his passion for his craft (“Cool… I love rock… it blew my mind”)  This is something students need to see. A Bible teacher should show his or her passion for the word of God. Passion is infectious so pass it on!

He leaves room for improvisation (“I got lucky”)  Planning is good, but it can stifle spontaneity. Try leaving room in a class to try things out. It might not work, but students love experiments and probably wont mind at all.

He teaches for change (“Let me show you something that will change your life”) Teaching for change is what teaching the Bible is all about. The Bible changes lives, but you have to teach for change. What is it about this week’s class that will bring about change in students’ lives? What kind of change is being hoped for?

He shows not only what he has learned, but how he learned it (“It took six weeks”) He shows the process for how he learned something. Showing how one learns from the Bible is similar. Try making a point and showing how you got there, what the process was for learning.

He sets challenges for himself  (“Let me see if I can…”) He does this in front of students. For Bible teaching this might mean attempting to explain something complex. Let students see you stretch yourself and they will probably follow you.

Try watching teachers of other disciplines on youtube and make a note of what makes their teaching great. See if there are any transferable principles to use this Sunday.