Everyone–whether regular church-attender or casually visitor or interested spectator–will be exposed to “Bible teaching.” Sometimes, we default to being merely passive listeners. But that is not the best approach.
In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul underscored a different approach: Be diligent to apply yourself to the study of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15). If that approach is healthier, how might we embrace that call when we are hearing or watching Bible teaching?
Anticipate encountering Jesus.(See Luke 24: 13–35.) Jesus thought it essential to root what He shared with His disciples (even after the resurrection) in Scripture—the right foundation for all teaching. So, anticipate encountering Jesus, but do so by giving attention to Scripture.
Privilege Scripture over experience.(See 2 Peter 1:16–21 and Acts 2:14–42.) Even if the experiences one has with Jesus are life changing, the basis for teaching must be the Scriptures, not the experiences. So, see personal experience for what it can add, but privilege what Scripture actually says.
Learn from others, but learn for yourself.(See Acts 17:11.) Even if the apostle Paul was filling in and teaching in your church or small group, you should take responsibility to search the Scriptures for yourself. So, be willing to learn from others, but be diligent in your own personal study.
Anchor in what the Bible actually says.(See Acts 20:28–30 and 1 Timothy 1:6–7.) Although we should esteem those who open the Word for us, Bible teachers are not infallible. So, the only word you should take in an absolute sense is the word that is anchored in what the Bible actually says.
Do not be critical, but think critically.
Do not be arrogant, but be personally responsible.
Do not be merely a spectator to the ministry of the Word, but be an attentive and purposeful learner.