Jesus the Master Teacher
John Telgren

We usually refer to Jesus as the master teacher. Even today, some two thousand years later, his teaching is still compelling and memorable, even to people who are not believers.

What is it about Jesus that made him such a good teacher? His genuine heart is definitely an indispensable factor. The fact that he modeled what his wanted his disciples to learn and do is definitely an important part of his teaching.

Another important component of his teaching was his flexibility of method. Instead of being enslaved to one method, he used every method available to him. The following list of considerations Jesus had in his selection of teaching methods originated with Charles Nichols.

The Teaching Methods of Christ

  1. Jesus selected his methods based on the ability of the student. This is seen in his teaching of Nicodemus (John 3) and the Samaritan woman (John 4)
  2. Jesus selected His methods based on the attitude of the student. The methods used with the religious different from those he used with his disciples
  3. Jesus selected his methods based on the size of the class. Compare the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) with the discourse with centurion (Matt 8:5-13).
  4. Jesus selected his methods based on the location of his teaching. The teaching at the Pool of Bethesda (Jn 5:1-47) was handled differently from the teaching in Phoenicia (Mk 7:24-30).
  5. Jesus selected his methods based on the content he was trying to communicate. The methods he used in his discourses at the start of his ministry differed from those in discourses at the end of it
  6. Jesus selected his methods based on the purposes of his teaching. Compare the methods of John 5 (the feeding of the 5,000 and the lesson at sea) with John 6 (the discourse on the bread of life).
  7. Jesus used a variety of methods in his teaching, however, his variety was purposeful. It could be said of him that as a teacher, he was not only a tactician with methods, but a strategist with objectives.
  8. Jesus never let method overshadow the purpose of the content of the lesson. Methods to him were a means to the end, not an end.
  9. Jesus based his methods on the practical, mundane lives of his students. The discourse by the sea (Matt 13:1-35) and the discourses about riches (Mt 19:15-20) demonstrate this concept.
  10. Jesus used the methods of his day to their fullest potential. It could be said of him that he taught with authority (Matt 7:29).
Anyone who teaches should take note and learn from the master teacher. Like Jesus, the Christian educator should make full use of the methods available. Like Jesus, the Christian educator should use a variety of methods depending on the learner, purposes, and situation. The Christian educator should let the lesson drive the method rather than vice-versa.

There are a variety of resources, which include instruction in learning styles, educational theory, technology, lesson plans, experiential learning guides, etc. The wise teacher will take advantage of all the resources available for maximum impact.