Read my classmate post. Think and write your thoughts and feelings about his post. (1 page)
The Triad of Life
It is no surprise that people are different. We have different motivations, ways of thinking, and ways of learning. We express different priorities and possess distinct desires. It only makes sense that people learn and approach the Bible and Christianity in different ways as well. As any teacher can appreciate, these differences are both beneficial and problematic. They are beneficial because a church functions like a body. Each part has a role, and no two parts are identical. This way, the collective whole becomes much greater than the sum total of the individual parts. However, these differences can be problematic for teaching. Teachers are responsible for reaching each student with God’s word in a way that stimulates growth. Growth, because of these differences, will not be defined in the same way by everyone. Recognizing these differences, Yount (2008) brought attention to the triad of life (p. 188). This triad consists of thinking, feeling, and doing. Each element must be understood in order to provide the best possible education for our members.
Learning and the Triad of Life
Yount (2008) defined each of these elements as a psychological sphere (p. 188). The basic idea is that people tend to major in one of these categories while being weaker in the others. For example, the sphere of thinking represents the rational and cognitive sphere of life (Yount, 2008, p. 188). Concepts within this sphere include knowing, problem solving, evaluating, and other similar practices. Some students expect a Bible class to be predominantly about thinking issues. This may entail thoroughly unfolding the big picture of the Bible, understanding ties across books covering similar topics, and dissecting individual words to fully grasp the author’s intention. The main idea is growing in knowledge and fully understanding the Bible. This type of person may be somewhat frustrated when other students relate personal experiences to the text that take away from further in-depth study because that is not how this this type of student expects class to be structured.
Conversely, some students desire more of a feeling type class. These students view success as drawing closer to one another through sharing of personal experiences within the class setting. They probably lack interest in nuances of certain words and long treks through minor details. Growth will be understood more in terms of connection than information. Finally, some students will be what Yount (2008) refers to as doers. “Learners who emphasize the behavioral over rational or emotional elements are doers” (Yount, 2008, p. 194). These students are interested in the application of the material. They believe Bible study should be more than just an intellectual pursuit. Predominantly, these view success as learning how to change actions.
The Solution is Christlikeness
How do we structure a Bible class to meet the needs of each of these students? How do we plan a curriculum that addresses each of these needs? Thankfully, God provides an answer. As noted by Yount (2008), the solution is found in the teaching and example of Jesus. The goal of all things Christianity is Christlikeness (Romans 8.29). Yount (2008) illustrated the three spheres of the triad of life with three interlocking circles. These circles each overlap and, in the middle of this diagram, is an overlap of all three. Jesus represents the center or overlap of each sphere. His life and teaching demonstrate a balance of thinking, feeling, and doing. He taught facts about the Father and the kingdom of God. He brought people together through closeness and intimacy by creating a family. He made it clear that following him entails conformity to the expectations of God. This includes concepts such as service and sacrifice. Knowledge alone, while necessary, will not suffice. A changed life is what God desires. But that life must be guided by principles and expectations in harmony with God’s kingdom.
So, how do we replicate this at a church? I have wrestled with this question for about ten years. While the perfect application still eludes me, I have learned one concept that has moved me in the right direction. That concept is balance. As a young minister and teacher, I was heavily slanted toward the knowing triad of life. I personally wanted to dig deep into the scriptures and structured my teaching in a similar fashion. Unfortunately, I later realized that not everyone wanted the same. I began to achieve more balance as I matured. I designed classes that focused more on each of these concepts. I did a better job of creating classes that had a clear, “What do I do with this,” portion of the class. I have improved on my ability to create a class that invites discussion and moved further away from lecture style lessons. Also, I have done a better job at incorporating different methods of teaching which lean toward the other spheres. For example, small group settings are great for creating the closeness and relationships that some desire.
I trust the following words from our text. “In the end, when we honor Jesus as Teacher and Lord, when we teach others as He teaches us, when we love others as He loves us, we will influence them towards Christlikeness” (Yount, 2008, p. 212). This class has been a great opportunity for me to focus more on these concepts and I appreciate our textbooks and the thoughts from every student.
Yount, R. (2008). The goal of Christian education: Christlikeness. In W. R. Yount (Ed.), The teaching ministry of the church (2nd ed.) (pp. 185-213). Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.
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