Hook, Book, Look and Took remain excellent handles for structuring, developing, delivering and evaluating a Bible lesson! These four simple words were first introduced to me during my seminary days through a required reading book by Lawrence Richards, entitled Creative Bible Teaching. (Lawrence O. Richards, Creative Bible Teaching, Moody Press, 1976.) First, “grab” the learner’s attention! Every lesson needs a Hook!
CRITICAL TIMING. The first few moments of a Bible lesson are critical to the outcome of that lesson. Regardless of whether the learner has been in your class for years or whether this is their very first session with you, you must prepare each attendee to receive the content, the truth of the scripture passage. Be honest, you have sit through a class session or a sermon and realized you were not engaged; your mind was elsewhere! You failed to focus on the text or the topic. Life-change as a result of confronting Holy Scripture was highly unlikely!
BEGIN. Consider the master teacher’s parables (stories and illustrations) He presented throughout the gospels to bring the students to class. First, Jesus “grabbed” the learner’s attention. The apostle Paul often says to his reader, “Listen up” by beginning a topic with a very pointed question. Yet, at times, I drop in on a Bible teaching session that begins with the words, “Turn in your Bibles to today’s passage and let’s begin reading.” Often, I am not anticipating a life-changing encounter as I begin to read and at best I skim the text rather that read for comprehension.
FOCUS. If the learner is prepared to genuinely “hear” the Word of God, teaching begins immediately! If the first few moments of the lesson do not “grab” his or her mind, and perhaps even the heart, then the attendee sits through another session thinking about yesterday’s challenges or tomorrow’s to-do list and never relates those things to today’s text. A good Hook will bring the learner to class, mentally; and prepare him or her to “grapple” with a relevant and life-changing passage of scripture. Book, Look and Took must be approached with enough emotion, or excitement, or anticipation that your class members will personalize the passage and begin to “engage” with the group as they consider how the passage should change lives.
BRIDGE. I hesitate to simply use the word introduction. Sometimes it is called “creating interest.” Awaken, arouse or provoke are better ways to define a Hook used to launch a great study. The Hook, usually a brief three to five minutes, does need to be a bridge that immediately connects the learner with life issues and points them toward today’s lesson.
LIFE. Good Hooks come from life. As I mentioned, Jesus used stories. He also used questions, object lessons or referred to a current event. Read the passage early in the week and as you consider the “big idea” found in the lesson text, look for the Hook to “bring the learner” to class. You can do it! “Grab” the learner’s attention, prepare for him to hear the text and engage him so that he can apply the truth to his own life!
Gary Bearce serves as the Sunday School Specialist for the Alaska Baptist Convention.