How to Prepare a Lesson

So your small group leader or Sunday school teacher asked if you would fill in teaching next week. What on earth are you going to talk about? It sounds simple, but when you sit down with a Bible and a pen it's hard to get anything out.

Let's assume you already have a text picked out; now what? Here is an easy process you may find helpful:

  1. CIT. The CIT is the “central idea of the text”. Every paragraph in the Bible has a reason for being there, and the author has at least one reason for writing that paragraph. Don't modernize it or take it out of context. Ask yourself, “What did the original author want me to get out of this?” In order to find the CIT, read the text over and over looking for key words and emphasis.
  2. Outline. Think of your lesson as a body. The brain is the important part (the CIT), and next you need a skeleton. The most common way Bible teachers write an outline is to randomly think of “three cool things that stood out to me”. Please don't do this; let you outline flow out of the thought pattern of the text. 
  3. Material. You might have a sturdy, biblical skeleton now, but he's a very boring one. You'll have to add some meat (questions for people to consider, other passages in the Bible, application points); that will give him life. Now add some fat to his lanky body (illustrations, metaphors, examples from culture, well-placed jokes); this makes him interesting. If it's a small group setting, think up some discussion questions.

Consult commentaries as you go. There are several free resources online. Otherwise your church may have a library or your pastor could lend you something off his shelf.